Well, no. Not exactly. Not consistently. Anyone who claims to be is either:
and most definitely deeply annoying.
I’m not a good liar, like a drink but not to excess – usually – and am completely sane (although apparently that’s what all the mad people say). In spite of all this I gave it my best shot.
The idea that happiness lies in the unexpected, small minutiae of life is one that does resonate with a growing number of people. Personally, I’ve been looking for the “magic in the minutiae” for some time now, and this project has helped me weed it out amongst the bad traffic / bad weather / bad TV and general bad days of my (actually, very fortunate) existence.
Devised by a Ukrainian called Dmitry (of course!), it’s a simple experiment involving taking a photo of something that makes you happy every day. You can share your pictures on social media using the hashtag #100happydays (I used Facebook) or send them directly to the organisers if you prefer a little more privacy.
Things like this often annoy me. Having someone’s happy bits brandished in my face on a daily basis is not something I would normally welcome. I decided to do this in spite of the fact that I might annoy a few people. It seems the older I get the less I care about that stuff. And I’m happy to report that I had lots of genuinely good feedback from friends on Facebook who are obviously more generous of spirit than I am.*
To date, there have been 1.5m participants across 220 countries. Interestingly, 71% of those who registered did not complete the 100 days. Personally, this served as something of a gauntlet and fired up my enthusiasm to complete the challenge. And I did. For 99 days.
There was this one day. We all have those days – hopefully rarely – when something happens, some news is received, some misfortune befalls, which brings the shutters down and there is no joy to be seen. I made a conscious decision to let this be and purposefully omit that day from the experiment. Sometimes, it’s just not there.
Mostly, I enjoyed the process. Of course, some days were harder than others: but it was the “difficult” days which I found the most valuable. I would stalk around the house on a shitty Monday night when the weather was terrible and my day had been less than average, looking for some joy to document. It was always there, when I really looked. In abundance, in fact.
Some themes emerged – food, flowers, our dog – my family featured less than I imagined. I think I was looking for relatively unexpected things – my family is a given, most of the time.
The timing of this was fortunate, spaced nicely over the winter months; a time when looking for the good stuff becomes a little more difficult. I stopped to look at autumn leaves instead of worrying about when to rake them up, admired the misty mornings rather than complain about the cold weather and reminded myself how pretty my daughter is (just before I told her to clean her room – some things will never change).
So I’m done now. Apparently I can get my pictures printed out in all kinds of formats, and there is a “pay it forward” scheme which I’ll look into as well. I think I’ll miss it and imagine I’ll automatically mentally “bookmark” things throughout my day to document. Not a bad thing. I think I’ll pick it up again next winter – you have been warned.
*If you take on this challenge and share it with me, I promise not to judge your happy bits.