You may or may not have heard of this #100HappyDays campaign that’s going around. I first heard of it after noticing that a friend of mine from work had posted two days in a row on Instagram. I wasn’t used to seeing her post all that often, so immediately took note of her increased posting and this mysterious “#100happydays” hashtag that she had tacked onto both pictures. I asked her about it, and she sent me to the website, where I learned about this really simple concept of posting a photo every day for 100 consecutive days of something that makes you happy. Include the hashtag #100happydays, and if you make it through all 100 days, you’ve succeeded at something that over 70% of people fail to complete because of a quoted lack of time. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try it out, and hopefully my friends and followers on Twitter wouldn’t get too annoyed of this daily post.
Fast-forward 43 days: here I am. I’ve managed to post a picture every single day for the past 43 days of one small thing that’s made me happy. I’ve suffered a minor panic attack, and have learned ten important things about myself. Hit the jump to read about it.
Last night, I had a minor panic attack. I had just posted my photo of the day, it was of my mom and me, and went to show her what I had done. After looking at the picture, she read the quote underneath, which read “In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.” She looked at me funny, and said, “endured? Who does that? Maybe people who are depressed.” I quickly wondered if I had made a mistake by including that old quote by Gordon B. Hinckley; was I sending the message out to my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram networks (because yes, I managed to post this one across all three) that I was depressed? For anybody who didn’t know about this project, they then saw me post “#100happydays (43)” afterwards and might be thinking – “wow…Lydia must be struggling. Her 43rd of an attempted 100 happy days. Hope she gets through whatever she’s going through alright.” Panic set in, and I went back onto Instagram to see if I could delete the photo. Lesson to the unaware: you cannot, unless there’s some hidden trick I’m unaware of. So it was out there. A message that might be a red flag to others that I’m depressed. Yikes.
But I thought about it for a bit, and was able to change my opinion. I remembered why I included that quote in the first place, and it all ties back to why I’m doing this silly viral campaign after all. For many, life is just endured. Perhaps that word is a bit harsh, but to me it means that so many people just go through life, taking the days as they come, many times ready or each day to end and to get on with the next. Rarely is time taken to appreciate little things that make you happy, even in the midst of a rough day. Over the past 43 days, I’ve had several that felt like shit, and I was one of those people anxiously awaiting the next day’s arrival. But there were always moments in those days that I had a heightened awareness of something that made me happy, because I knew I needed to post something as part of my own #100happydays challenge. I’ve learned to stop and recognize these little things, for life isn’t just to be endured. It’s to be filled with fun and laughter, and often, to me, that means slowing down for a few minutes and being grateful for little moments of happiness that can often get lost in the bigger picture. Because in today’s world, so many of us are expected to look toward the future (which to me, often looks like a blur, which of course is a cause for anxiety) that we forget to enjoy the exact moment we’re in.
So I took a deep breath and realized it was okay to post that message out to the world. Sure, it’s to be interpreted however people wish, and some may think I’m depressed, or clawing my way toward some imaginary finish line after 100 days of finding happiness, but I know deep down (and maybe am able to explain my findings to anybody who’s gotten this far in reading this) exactly what inspired that message, and it’s been an eye-opening realization over the past 43 days.
So there’s that anecdote, but I figured I’d leave y’all with 10 things I’ve learned about myself over the past 43 days (because I’m already 43 days deep in inviting you all, visually, into my life through social media, so why not keep going, right?):
1. I spend my time exploring a lot more than I give myself credit for. I have the pictures to prove it.
2. I wonder if I’m doing this exploring because of this campaign…which isn’t something to be ashamed of, I suppose.
3. A lot of what makes me happy is food. Yum.
4. I spend a lot of time with my family, which means I’m doing what I moved out here to do.
5. I thought a lot more of these photos would be of or taken from my couch. As it turns out, there are a lot of other little things that make me happy during the work week, though I still recognize that I am very grateful for my couch at the end of a long day.
6. I could probably afford, here and there, to slow down a bit more during the week nights and explore more on the weekend.
7. I might like food even more than I like music. That’s a little scary, but sometimes makes me think I should write about food in addition to music.
8. I am self-conscious. I often tell myself I’m not, but I think that’d be a lie. The story above seems to make that glaringly obvious.
9. I am the proudest aunt in the world.
10. I’ve honestly felt better about myself over the past 43 days. I admit to going through some tough times over the past year or so, but having this there to help remind me to slow down and recognize and appreciate little things that often go overlooked has been eye-opening and mood-lifting. I’m glad I’m doing this.