On October 1st, 2020 I recorded my first "Happiness is...", kicking off my career as a Smile Project Ambassador for a non-profit that is very dear to me, The Smile Project. As an Ambassador, I record something happy from each day. For example, on October 1st I recorded: "Day One, October First: Happiness is...finally decorating my institution-like walls with vintage postcards of absolute icons".
I remember how easy it was at the beginning. There were obviously days that weren't ideal, but I could always find something lovely from each day with ease. Naturally, as I moved along and tried to avoid repeating Happiness, it sometimes got a little bit harder. But each day is unique, and I have always been a firm believer that there is something good in each day. There are also days where so many fantastic things happen it's hard to pick just one thing to record. I like that feeling.
The past few months of recording my Happiness have not been as easy, or as regular, as the first few months. The past few months have felt like a punch in the gut, so sometimes finding my Happiness each day is a task. It started getting really hard when a friend of mine passed.
It was the first time I got really behind, probably about a week. At first, I was so overwhelmed with sadness and shock nothing happy was on my mind. It started to feel wrong to be happy when one of the happiest people I knew was gone. And it felt inappropriate to talk about Happiness when I and so many others were mourning.
So I got behind.
And that wasn't the last time. Sometimes I get in slumps when I feel like it's easier to just ignore the day rather than find something good in it. I always catch back up. And it always feels so good. Because when I finally decide to sit down and look back on a rough few days in a different light, it changes everything. It's a total perspective shift that starts to set me back up on a path toward regaining my bubbly self again.
Without recording my Happiness from each day, I don't think I'd be feeling so resilient in a time where it seems like everyone is going through it. (Seriously every college student I talk to says they're not OK.)
So the past 200+ days have been a rollercoaster. And I don't even know if my first-day self and my two hundredth-day self would recognize each other. But in over 200 days I have grown and learned that there is something good in each day and it is never wrong to find it. Life isn't easy, but finding the small joys in each day makes it a whole lot easier.
"Day Two-Hundred, April Eighteenth: Happiness is...two hundred days of finding joy, fostering self-growth, and learning that there's always light in darkness."
I don't know where or who I would be without being a Smile Project Ambassador, and I am eternally grateful for the loving and supportive community The Smile Project has given me.
For more information on The Smile Project and the Smile Project Ambassador program, visit their website here.