One hundred days ago, I could be mistaken for a bitter, old woman whose husband and kids all left me.
One hundred days ago, I spent all of my time wallowing in self-pity and praying for something to just happen.
One hundred days ago, I would shake my fist at the sky and ask an unknown entity, “Why me?” But on that day, I walked back inside and saw one of my mother’s quotes on the refrigerator.
It reminded me of a day in my freshman health class. We discussed the importance of being mentally healthy and watched a movie about being happy. (It’s called The Happy Movie and I highly recommend it) Our teacher also brought up the 100 Happy Days challenge. At this point in my life, I was desperate, and so I went on the website and signed up. The rules were simple.
What the hell, right? It was worth a shot.
I was of the mindset that I would magically become happy and content overnight. These next hundred days were going to be the best of my life! EVERYTHING’S COMING UP JACQUELINE! WOOOHOOOO
You see, happiness takes work. Nothing is handed out for free in this world. Nothing just happens. It’s actually a basic law of physics: an object at rest will stay at rest, and an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.
We need an outside force, an impetus, if you will. Thus begins the 100 Happy Days challenge. Every day, without fail, I posted a picture of something that made me happy or excited. In theory, this sounds simple and easy to follow. In practice, it’s very difficult. Not every day is happy. Bad things happen, that is just the nature of the world. People die, we get into fights, people walk out of lives, things break, we break, stress, work, everything piles up and some days you just want to cry.
There’s the lesson.
Bad days happen, but the whole day is rarely ever bad from start to finish. Arguments end, assignments get handed in and graded, bad grades pass, we fix our injuries, we fix our objects, and so on and so forth. Look at it this way: Even if someone dies and you find out as soon as you wake up, after the initial shock passes, you will spend the rest of the day remembering the beauty of this person’s life. The memories of that person can bring you so much joy and celebration. Death is only sad because of the good that came out of that person’s time here on earth.
Which brings me to my next point:
You cannot see the happy without the bad in your life.
(did y’all hear me?)
(let me put it in caps in case you didn’t)
YOU CANNOT SEE THE HAPPY WITHOUT THE BAD IN YOUR LIFE
“Okay Jac, we get it. Not all hundred days were happy. But they all couldn’t have been awful either?”
What an astute observation, reader. You’re correct. There were a lot of average days too. Actually, most days were average. Nothing particularly exciting and nothing particularly bad either. This is where the REAL challenge was. Sometimes, I would have to look really hard for the happy moments, and even when I found them, I wouldn’t have a picture to post. Most days, the happy things I came across were old pictures and reminiscing about vacations with my family, or day trips to the city with my friends, musical theatre with my castmates or even just a book I was reading. I realized happiness lies in the memories and how lucky I am to be alive to have those memories. Right here. Right now. In this moment. There are so many bright, little shimmers of happiness in every day that I was looking right past a hundred days ago. And because of all of those average days, the especially happy ones were even better.
The challenge taught me how to appreciate every moment of every day. That the little things are the most important.
After about two weeks, I started to see a difference in who I was as a person. Things began to happen, because as we learned in this post’s science lesson, my new found appreciation for life and happiness was an impetus. I stopped focusing on all of the negative that infested my life and instead placed my energy into finding each little sliver of happy.
SO that brings us, here.
One hundred days ago, I wanted things to go my way, since they all of a sudden weren’t anymore.
One hundred days ago, I was praying that the life I had weeks before would come back.
One hundred days ago, I was wanting everything I didn’t have.
Today, one hundred days later, I am here, wanting what I already have.
For more information about the challenge or to sign up, visit 100happydays.com
Did you also complete the challenge? Interested in learning more? Tell me about it. Tell me about anything really. I’m so bored. Leave me a note in the comments. Please. I’m desperate.