Tuesday, August 29, 2017

An Easy Way to Find 100 Things That Make You Happy

The Weight of a Word

Sometimes semantics get me. More often than not "gratitude" feels heavy to me. It feels serious. And as much as I know that it is the "little things" that count, it is easy for me to miss them. The wide eyes and smile of pride from my daughter when she does something hard.

So when I spotted this book at the library, I felt curious. It looked playful and fun and light and, well, happy. I mean the word is right there in the title.

A Happy Book

We sat around the kitchen table for our afternoon snack and read it together:

In the grand tradition of “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens” comes an uplifting tribute to 100 everyday things worth celebrating. The list, in rhyming couplets, draws directly from a preschool­er’s world—from slippery floors to dinosaurs, from goldfish to a birthday wish. Amy Schwartz weaves a masterful balance between art and text, with each of the 100 items portrayed as its own well-observed and warmly detailed vignette. While the contents provide readers with a frame of reference for the quantity of “100”—a celebratory milestone in preschools and early elementary grades—the oversized pages envelop young children in the wonderful things surrounding them.

It Seems Like So Many...

...but its not. If you just look around at your life you could probably find one thing that makes you happy. It might be a cup of coffee, a piece of chocolate, a sweetly sleeping baby, a clear night for walking around the block, an empty dishwasher...the possibilities are endless.

Reading "100 Things that Make Me Happy" got us all thinking that we should start writing our happinesses down - one per day. (My daughter even asked about our Thanksgiving tradition of doing something like this.) Plus, it is commonly recommended to write gratitude journals. It is supposed to help you be happy. But I always felt the heft of "gratitude" weighing me down.

Simply reframing the word to "happy" made things infinitely easier for me.

The Perfect Happy Journal

To my delight, I found the perfect happy place to record our ideas: 101 Joys Make a Rainbow


Then I realized that we could write 100 things that make us happy and then read them all on Thanksgiving or Christmas.

But why stop there? Just imagine all the ways you could use "100 Things That Make Me Happy" as inspiration for gifts. Here's just a few ideas to get those creative (and happy) juices flowing:

  • 100 Ways You Make Me Happy (to give to a child, a parent, a teacher, a friend)
  • 100 Day Countdown to Something Big (holiday, birthday, vacation)
  • Baby's First 100 Days

Short and Sweet

One of my favorite things about this project is that it invites my reluctant writer to something feasible. Just like the book is a list of simple things, short phrases, sometimes just a word, his journal can also be short and sweet and to the point.

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