I recently stumbled across a blog by a student at Union College. Since my son is a sophomore at Union, I naturally follow Union on every social media outlet that I can, so I didn't really stumble across this blog by chance. This student was discussing her participation in a challenge called 100 Happy Days. The idea of the challenge is this: take one photo each day of something that made you happy that day, post it either to a social media site (Facebook, Twitter Instagram), using the hashtag #100happydays, or, if you want more privacy, send a private email to the folks running the challenge. At the end of your 100 days, you are sent a book of all your photos, of all the things that made you happy.
I find myself facing a huge life challenge right now. Much of my time is consumed with thinking about this, dealing with this, and pondering "why me?" much more than anyone should do. So the idea of focusing on the small things in life, the often-missed tiny moments, that pass without us taking any notice of them, intrigued me. What makes me happy? My husband and children, most definitely. The amazing friends that I have, showing themselves to be ever more so amazing (like that was even possible) in their support during this rough patch that I'm going thru. My parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, rallying around me, there for me at every turn. These things definitely make me happy. But they are big, blustery, obvious, happy-making moments. So, what else?
The #100HappyDays movement began with a young man in Switzerland, Dmitry Golubnichy, who challenged himself to stop and think about the things that made him happy. He says, "I believe that being happy is a choice and everyone can be happy just by appreciating little things in life one has instead of engaging in the constant chase for ever rising internal & external expectations, which leaves no time for being happy." He started to chronicle his happy moments in photos, and soon found that his iPhone was out of memory from all the "happy" he was photographing. On December 30th he decided to share his challenge with the world, and #100HappyDays was born.
I've been participating in the challenge since March 6th. It's heightened my awareness of the every day small things that make me smile. It's also a great distraction from my current crisis; it pulls me out of the gloom-and-doom, and forces me to take notice of all the things in my life that are really terrific. Seeing Emma Thompson in "Sweeney Todd" (ok, so maybe that one's not so "every day"), having a cup of tea and some biscuits, a cosmo made by my hubby, breakfast with my dad ... yes, these things always made me feel good, but I never really gave them much thought. It always seems that life is more about "big picture" kinds of things. The small moments pass so easily and quickly. Being aware of taking photos throughout the day has begun to make me take pleasure in these things, even if just for a moment. It's a chance to step back, and to see that so many of the tiny moments are those that bring a great brightness to my life. Of course, the photos don't have to reflect only life's small moments, big ones work, too! No doubt my family will eventually find themselves (much to their chagrin) hashtagged on my Facebook page.
So, what makes you happy? You don't need to be going through any kind of difficulty in your life in order to participate. Daily life itself presents us with trials and tribulations all the time. Join the challenge, click here: http://100happydays.com/. See what makes you happy.