Most people have heard about the 100 Happy Days project by now – an attempt to take a photo of one thing that makes you happy each day for 100 days. This is my third time participating in the challenge. This time, my goal is to help me with my one-word for 2018: Cultivate, as in to cultivate a life that I love. To cultivate happiness and contentment with my life as-is, even though I struggle with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
So why do this challenge a third time? There are two parts to that:
Part 1: The Challenge
As I said, this is the third time I’ve done this thing. The first time was in 2014, when we were in the process of moving to Boston and my life had fallen apart completely. It became a touchstone in a difficult time. I repeated the challenge the next year, in the days we were preparing to move back to San Antonio amidst personal and family chaos. Both times, the process of taking happy photos for 100 days in a row helped to ground me. I was able to work through very tough times. I posted the photos both on Instagram and on Facebook, and while Instagram doesn’t work in albums, I have a dedicated album both on FB and on my home computer where I can see just those 100 photos as a snapshot of my life. Despite the pain in those months, there’s nostalgia there, and I credit that entirely to the 100 Happy Days Challenge.
Part 2: The Motivation
This time around, I’m not in quite so negative a space. Rather than a lifeline, I want to use this challenge as a tool to appreciate the good in my life. I’d been thinking about doing the challenge for awhile, but I chose my start date for a specific reason. On April 14th, I’d gone 38 days without drinking any alcohol or having any binges. I’ve said before – my reasons for cutting out alcohol weren’t to do with drinking too much, but because drinking tends to make me binge-eat, and that isn’t helping me with weight loss! In the 38 days of no-alcohol-no-binging, I lost just over six pounds, the first real loss I’ve seen in quite some time. My scale was moving steadily downwards. But then on April 15th, I had a couple glasses of wine, and ended up binging for the rest of the day, as I often do. My streak was broken, and my weight bumped up a few pounds as it always does. So I’m starting again. April 16th was Day 1, and I decided to correspond my goal of 100 days alcohol-and-binge-free with 100 days of happy photos. Wish me luck!
If you’d like to follow along, I’m posting once again on Facebook and Instagram.