[100] These 100 Happy Days

The Challenge:

To document, in words or pictures, that which made you happy. Every day. For 100 consecutive days. With the hashtag #100happydays via whatever social media makes you… happy.

The Result:

Beginning on January 7, I made a #100happydays blog post every day for 100 days – culminating in this, the 100th post! Or so I thought… until I went back to look at the list of these posts and saw that I missed two days: March 8 and March 30. In #100happydays parlance, that would be Day 061 and Day 083.

Hmm. Wow. Bummer. AAARRRGGGHHH!  I tried to be so diligent in this task. There were days when I was racing the clock to midnight to get that post in on deadline! (Only very recently did I learn that WordPress lets us backdate posts. But I never wanted to resort to that.) There may be a part of me that wants to go back and fill in those gaps, like touching up holidays on a newly painted wall. But I let go of that nonsense before I got to the end of the last sentence. Were this a quiz, a test or a final exam the 98% grade would make me… happy.

It was still nagging at me, though, so I had a glance at the calendar for those two gaps. March 8 held no clue. March 30, though, was the Sunday of the weekend Eileen was visiting from Boston. I remembered that we spent the afternoon lounging by the pool on the roof of her hotel… and before that we had brunch at The Bossy Wife & Co… HEY! I know I did a post that day because I included a photo of the Bossy Wife logo on their coffee mugs. A quick search found the missing blog post – which I hadn’t tagged “100happydays” so it didn’t show up in that search. March 8? Yup. Also missing the tag.

Well, well. I am so much better than I gave myself credit for! I know… I shouldn’t have ended that sentence with a preposition. That is just the sort of sloppy grammar up with which I will not put! Sue me. I scored 100% on the #100happydays assignment. What do I win?

There was a prize: adhering to the #100happydays regime taught me something valuable. It taught me to train my eye, my mind, my heart, my soul to look for the happiness in each day. It’s there. And not only to look back on the day to recall some happiness… but to anticipate it. To expect it. To watch out for it. Doesn’t have to be a Great Big Pile O’ Happy. And, of course, it usually isn’t. But you know that bullshit about “the little things”? Yeah, so, turns out… kinda true.

happypersonThree and a half months of daily fine tuning my antennae for something happy has made me think a little differently about what makes me happy. And what role does happiness play in our lives. Especially the small bits of joy that really are always right there in front of us. Like stones on the beach. You can walk right over them, focusing instead on the surf or the gulls or a dog romping or a kite…

But what happens when you start scanning the sand for just the right rock? You find it. But you keep looking, don’t you? And then you find another. And another. And maybe you hold on to only one just-the-right rock at a time. Or maybe you slip one or two into your pocket. And they sit on top of your dresser or in a drawer in the kitchen. Or they gather in a giant vase on the living room floor. (The one next to the even bigger vase full of wine corks.) Why? Because they simply remind you that the beach exists, even when you’re not on it.

So it is with the happy. It can’t make the unhappy things in life go away. I knew that. But I may have discovered that the reverse is also true. It’s not a zero-sum game. We can still find some good stuff, even in the midst of the biggest shit storm. It’s still there.

We just have to remind ourselves to look for it. And that’s what #100happydays taught me to do. Look for it. Acknowledge it. Appreciate it. Own it. So, it’s been a great little exercise. Even – especially – for this unapologetic cynic.

And now, back to the shit storm! But I’ll post some happy here and there. People seem to like that.

Go figure.

Day 100 #100happydays

 


The End (so far)

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11 comments

  1. Congrats on finishing the 100 Happy Days thing, Steve! You’re the only other person I’m following who’s doing it, and that has led me to enjoy reading so many of your insightful, funny and entertaining posts. I’m on Day 84, and to be honest I can’t freaking wait for it to be over, my smile of happiness started cracking I think around Day 60 or so, and I’m barely holding it together. Just kidding, but yeah like you I don’t think I’ll be doing any of this challenges again, as fun and surprisingly enlightening it can be sometimes (revealing things I didn’t realise about what makes me happy), not anytime soon anyway. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You did it! And along the way you made a lot of other people happy just in reading your words of appreciation for the often overlooked joys of life. Good job, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. (1) Why ‘go figure’ ? – it’s simple logic.
    (2) You are now officially allowed to end sentences with prepositions. As a qualified editor, I know this for a fact.
    (3) I suppose there’s a great deal of good in forcing yourself to look for something happy; but I can’t ever see myself getting to like that whole ‘challenge’ thing.It just isn’t natural, to me. If I can’t blog about what I want to, I’m not … content, I guess. And I also find it fairly wearing to know that among those I follow, every day is going to bring me a post on [X] topic.
    I believe that’s the reason for my dislike, to be honest, Steve – the joy of discovery is gone when I know what people are going to write about.
    So sue me ! [grin]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. After my tears had dried… M-R, you are a tough crowd! A one-woman bullshit-free zone. I like that. I took on the 100-days-of-happy challenge when I was a newly minted blogger wondering if I would run out of things to blog about. (A silly concern. Had I not met myself?!) But also because something about it resonated with me. The world threatens to spin off its axis and everyone seems to be stomping their feet and blowing their horns. In so many ways, our species has become nasty and brutish. Isn’t that how we began?

      So a daily focus on “the happy” seemed not the worst idea ever.

      I don’t imagine I’ll be binding myself to many, if any, more of these post-a-day challenges. Predictability is as tiring to the writer as it is to the reader – though, truth be told, I never knew what sort of happiness any given day would hold. And there are many days I wouldn’t have found it if I hadn’t gone looking.

      Now, let me get back to work, attempting to satisfy your rapacious appetite for the joy of discovery! :p

      Like

      1. I am a total pain in the arse, it’s true. But I am greatly excited when I come across like minds, and I make ludicrous demands of them not to reduce their standards in any way. I’m perfectly sure your posts on happiness were not in any way repetitive, Steve, because you are as intolerant of mediocrity as am I.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. So I read, and so did a lot of others, and your project was worthwhile…for a lot of us. Now go write a book proposal – you have the book written. Seriously.

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Steve, You just did your own CBT – that’s Cogitive Behavioral Therapy, in medical-lingo…you trained yourself, in a sense, to be happy by shifting your perspective…and you pulled a whole lot of us along for the ride!!! Thanks for letting me be a benificiary of the group therapy. That, and you, my friend, make me happy! Xxoo

    Liked by 1 person

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