Day 100! I’m not sure how many of you are aware of this social media challenge, and I’ve no idea how successful it’s been, but I decided to take it up for two reasons. One, I liked the thought of a challenge apparently 71% of people failed to complete due to lack of time, or possibly lack of things to be happy about? Two, I liked the whole positive vibe of it. It may have helped that I took the challenge up when I was in a particularly happy place personally, (pregnant with my fourth child and full of the joys, longing to share, that sort of thing) but it also got me thinking. About a year before I had not been so happy. In fact I think its fair to say, and I’m sure my facebook statuses of the time would concur, that I had got myself trapped in a cycle of moaning. I even ended up annoying myself with my own negativity.
So what changed? Life events, or just my attitude? I think, in reflection a bit of both. Things improved financially for us, so that is always one less thing to stress about, and obviously the pregnancy was a huge factor in the smile on my face. But before this challenge came up, I was able to wake myself up a bit, and remind myself of how damn lucky I am. The thing about the challenge is it makes you look for things to be happy about. What a positive approach to have! So on greyer days, I would post about the baby wild rabbits I had spotted in the hedgerows while out walking, or the spread of dead nettles in my garden which were doing a great job encouraging the bees. On days when I felt like moaning I was forced to search for what had made me smile, and suddenly the stuff that annoyed me seemed less and less important.
So looking back at a 100 days of happiness, I can see a clear pattern emerge. Without a doubt I am an extremely fortunate person with a hell of a lot to feel happy about. My posts are either about my kids, my pets, my garden, my writing, music, or the environment around me. It actually got hard to choose which thing to post about each day. A lot were simple things, simple pleasures, like my duck enjoying a freshly filled bath, or my dog resting his head on my baby bump, or one of my kids leaving me little notes outside my bedroom door, or my son smiling broadly as he harvested his first pea pod. Little things. Free things. Happy things.
So on day 100, I find myself thinking about the whole thing. I just feel lucky. I think i knew I was before, but now I feel it even more and it is making me smile a lot. I feel like I am surrounded by good things; from the seven year old who insists on making his own breakfast every school morning now that the baby is here, to the cool joys of a shady lane filled with birdsong to walk the dogs down . The ponies in the field behind, and the sunsets that set the landscape ablaze, the wall of green that surrounds my garden and fills the views from my windows, to the sound of the river shushing by us in the middle of the night. The satisfaction of my fingers flying over the keys while i thump out a brand new story, the absolute joy of reading a good review, the making of new friends, the holding on to old ones, the genuine sweet and unprompted kindness of so many people i know. Happy, healthy, funny, questioning children with lots of crazy hair. Two dogs racing across the common, their back feet overtaking their front, their ears flat against their skulls, eyes filled with pure joy when they return. Music, all the time, everywhere, in the car, in the kitchen, in the lounge, outside in the garden. Singing and dancing and being silly and getting lost in the memories that certain songs kick off. Emotions heightened by chords, tones and arrangements, feelings swollen by lyrics that get it just right. Excitement for the future…a baby boy growing and changing before our eyes…good times ahead.
Even today I would have struggled to decide what happy thing to post about, hence me deciding to write a blog entry instead. There was the five hour block of sleep the baby allowed me last night, and also the gorgeous big smile he gave me at silly o’clock this morning. There was the happiness in all the kids faces when they discovered the shop on the way to school sells loom bands! In a basket, right near the till! There was the gift of an awesome Stone Roses t-shirt for the baby from a lovely, kind hearted friend, and another gift of the hungry caterpillar book and toy from my friends at book club. Such kindness. Then there was watching highlights from Glastonbury while I fed the baby, and just grinning at all those people in the crowds, all those people so so happy because of music and togetherness, and it’s so genuine and real and it’s the beautiful potential in all of us to be nice and get along and find joy and hold it tight, and having days like that, times like that. Because that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. Having the time of your life. As much as you can. Whenever you can. For whatever reasons you find.
So i end my 100 happy days as happy as I started. I’ve got a lot. I hold it all dear and I won’t let it go. You never know when things might change, you never know when luck might take a different turn, so you have to keep smiling while you can. We haven’t got a lot in terms of money, or material things, but interestingly it was never those kind of things that made me happy anyway. It was all the free things, all the things that were already there, and I just needed to remember that, and I just need to never forget it again!