Reflections on 100 Happy Days

August 19th, 2014, 6pm

I wrote this reflection about my #100happydays experience but never got round to publishing this on Hi! but as the Hi! community formed a big part of my experience, I thought I should publish this, however late it is!

I’ve been a bit stuck in terms of creativity, but this afternoon, I did some papercutting. A birthday and wedding card - and it felt so nice to make something, and be creative, so maybe you just have to keep doing it to unblock something …

I started the 100 Happy Days challenge in Spring (12 March 2014), inspired by @mafl365photos, a twitter friend, keen photographer like myself and fellow balcony gardener - thank you again for introducing me to it!

I started the project as I needed something to kickstart my photoblogging, and my writing again. I first started photoblogging in 2009 with another 100 day challenge, which turned into 365 photos for the next couple of years. And since the new year, I’ve been jotting down all the good things that happen to me, but not very regularly so I thought it was a good exercise in being mindful of happy moments everyday, no matter how ordinary they might seem.

Regent’s Park features a lot in my photos. I’m lucky to work just around the corner so I take every opportunity to go for a lunchtime walk. I should make the most of it as we’re moving office next year and I’ll miss it. I’m not a fair weather fan/visitor though - I continue to walk in the rain, snow but definitely in the sunshine. My favourite spot on a tiny hill, under blossom trees had to feature.

I was able to capture some beautiful blossoms and some unseasonably warm weather in March and topless male sunbathers on Day 2. I’m still in awe of the beautiful and exotic fritillerias. My own fritilleria failed to materialise so I had to make do with dancing around the fritilleria meadow.

I’ve taken up balcony gardening properly this year and it had to feature heavily in my 100 happy days. I love my balcony as it gives me another room to my flat. I’ve enjoyed sitting out on my balcony, enjoying having breakfast on it and watching it bloom.

And I’ve really taken to balcony gardening. I love it. I find it therapeutic and calming, and there is something immensely satisfying about nurturing plants and seeing them grow and blossom. It was therefore appropriate for balcony gardening to feature in day 1.

Some favourite balcony gardening entries: day 20; day 21; day 24; day 33 and day 60.

In the 100 happy days, I been on numerous plane journeys, including me being a nervous flyer after the Malaysia Airlines incident and facing up to my fears. My trips consisted of visiting Asia (a good job since my remit is Asia!): Singapore (twice), Malaysia, Bangkok, and my first visit to Jakarta. However, my travel photos mainly consisted of hotel pools. I did do some work, honestly! I’m not a particularly strong swimmer but I do like hotel pools as they are normally empty and the perfect place to relax after a long and often hot and humid day (day 10 and day 45).

The one thing I miss when travelling is a decent cup of tea. I need to investigate where you can buy those UHT milk sachets and pack some in my suitcase, along with the teabags I normally carry in my case! (day 8, day 13 and day 77).

All of my posts are about my life, but on occasion, I do write specifically about the ordinary things that happen and the effect it has on me. I’m not really comfortable about being too personal, but writing is about exposing yourself so I’m trying to do more of it so that I can comfortably find my own voice (day 57, day 78 and day 79).

Some of my posts have captured the fun things I’ve done, including lots of firsts. And for anyone who knows me will know that I love London and love exploring unusual and interesting London things to do, including: Bell ringing on day 27, day 39, day 64, day 68, Metropolis on day 71 and London Underground themed Days 99 and day 100.

I also started this project as a process to improving my photography skills. I’ve received lots of compliments about having a good eye for taking a photo and telling a story. I’m proud of taking these ones and here’s a selection of my favourite photos : day 43, day 44, day 48, day 49, day 53, day 74, day 88 and day 92.

A very important little chap in my life was bound to be have a few posts dedicated to him. My darling nephew: day 31, day 52 and day 84.

Only connect - My favourite moments were those which involved connections, relationships, the kindness of strangers, family and friends.

Day 5 a wave

Day 16 the kindness of strangers

Day 17 blessed

Day 25

Day 34

Day 35

Day 37

Day 40

Day 61

Day 63

Day 65

Day 96

It’s been a blast! I feel that it has changed my perspective. I’ve always been quite optimistic and positive, so that hasn’t really changed, but on a bad day, I still change the course of the day by thinking about a moment of happiness and being mindful. And on good days, I make sure that I actually tell the people who have impacted my day and had an influence on making me happy. It’s to rejoice in the connections, after all, that’s what life is all about!

Peter, Christine, Maria and Yiling said thanks.

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So-Shan Au

Londoner, bit of writing, takes photos, book geek, works in publishing, loves maps, typography, papercuts, architecture, trees, art, design, photography, gardening... @soshanau

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