131 Happy Moments

131 Happy Moments

I started an experiment last year, sparked by one of the articles I read: write down one happy moment from each day. The idea being that in every day there is a good moment, and it’s our perception and focus on particular things over others, that make us happy (or not). Writing down gives you that focus and awareness. On my resolution wave of trying new things, I decided to give it a go – and more or less stuck to the plan.

So, a year later, I pulled out my jar to see what became of my experiment.

sydney jan 2014 iphone 054

I did not account for every day, but I did write something every few days, every month.

131 little pieces of paper, each containing something that made me happy.

Was fascinating to see a physical evidence of my emotions, spread on the floor, like a monthly graph of my happiness levels (or my dedication to the experiment) – some months yielded more than others.

sydney jan 2014 iphone 057

It was interesting to go back in time and revisit all the little and big things that brought me joy. Some I forgot about and smiled in recollection, some were etched in my memory already as highlights of the year. It was a great idea after all.

Beyond the intended (and actually delivered) benefit of reflecting often on positive moments, it turned out to be a great retrospective exercise. I was able to look back, remember what made me happy, learn from it, and take these reflections onboard as I look ahead into 2014.

Lesson one – it’s not just something big. I had all sorts of things on my little pieces of paper – from good times with friends and new haircuts to music concerts and running into Roger Federer; from successes at work and new friendships to becoming a citizen, passing a driving test and going on holidays. But I also had sunshine across the railway tracks that made me smile, and quiet mornings in my apartment when I woke up to summer sunshine; I was uplifted by trying new things, ocean breeze in my face and simply feeling loved. And it even looked like one good thing can indeed lead to another: I found several same-day happy notes – there was apparently so much good stuff I couldn’t fit it all in!

Lesson two – you can make this happy happen. You get what you measure, as we say in planning – so when you change your outlook from deflecting negatives into looking for positives, you find more of those positives. I can see clearly now what brings me joy, and I’ll be more attuned when the next such moment comes around.

I guess this all really distils to one main thing – awareness. Stop and smell the roses, see the forest behind the trees, we are the days of our lives etc. As one of my favourite quotes says:

“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.” Henry Miller.

I’ll be definitely filling in my happy jar again this year.