Exactly one year ago, on 4 January 2017, I was sitting on a bus on my way into the city centre to a pub where friends of hours were celebrating their wedding, which had taken place earlier that day in a small ceremony. I had to convince myself to get dressed up and make the effort, but I knew I owed it to my friend to participate in her big day. I managed to put on make up and dress up and even remembered to leave the hard-used and abused mommy work/baby bag in favour of a nice, stylish new handbag I got as a New Year’s gift from Kat, my American sister-in-law. I was in a little bit of a slump. November had been difficult with Hawkeye’s grommit surgery. December was simply exhausting. And I just knew that I needed to do something to help myself cheer up.
So it was there, on that bus ride, while looking down at my hands were folded on top of my new, black leather handbag on my lap, that I decided on a whim to try the #100happydays Instagram challenge.
I had no. idea. what I was getting myself into, that I had begun a journey that would not only span the next 100 days, but continue on uninterrupted daily for a whole year and blossom from just a couple of sentences of text underneath a photo to the occasionally short story and essay and culminating with the creation of an entire blog.
The first 100 days taught me that consciously doing something or seeking something out every day that makes you happy and which you can express visually could actually be quite challenging, both from a visual arts point of view, to the psychological point of view. The first ten days or so were exiting, but by the twentieth and thirtieth I was frequently struggling for new ideas. The project was invaluable to my mood, however. I became much more conscious about doing even a small thing every day to pamper myself. To give myself that little bit of a break which would allow me to keep going with everything else.
It also taught me that I need to write to clear my head sometimes. While I enjoyed the challenge of finding visual ways to express ideas of happiness, what I really grew to like was writing stories that just seemed to flow from my fingers to the keyboard organically. Away from the stodgy, stuffy, excessively polite and formal language I had become familiar with as a consequence of my work in a law firm, I felt as if my inner voice, long silenced by the adoption of other people’s words, was released, had burst out of me. It became almost cathartic. By the time the 100 days were nearing to an end I knew I had to figure out a way to keep going, and that’s how this blog was born.
Of course that wasn’t just enough. It’s easy to start a blog and then abandon it a few weeks or months later. I needed some way to keep myself accountable. That’s how the #365 day project was born. Looking to continue a pre-set pattern of writing, I decided it couldn’t really be that hard extending my project, right?
Seriously, what was I thinking? This blog has taken over my life, and I have close a few times to skipping a day only to remind myself that this is the slippery slope to complete disregard of my own personal goals and targets. So I forced myself to write something. Every day. And lo and behold, #265 days later here we are.
So what’s next?
Well, I need someway to keep myself accountable so I have decided that I still need a target. So I will post something on my blog at least once a week. I will happily write more often if the muse strikes, but somethings you need to take a break and this will allow me to work on other projects and take days off when I’m exhausted or cranky or simply falling asleep on the couch.
New adventure, here we come.