Happiness is.. not making plans. When Day 1900 hit, I was determined to do something big for Day 2000. I was ready to begin planning and I was ready to have something incredible to share on behalf of The Smile Project. But then Day 1900 became Day 1930 which turned into Day 1974 and before I knew it, I was two weeks away from arguably the biggest day The Smile Project has seen to date. I threw together some rough ideas. I had a million different projects running at once. I was putting in 6 hours of work after I had already worked my normal full-time job. But everything felt insurmountable. My timelines didn’t add up. I couldn’t build a house without having a foundation. I toyed with other radical ideas. What if I just stopped completely? What if I said, 2000 is a nice number and I left it at that. That’s still something to be proud of. I found myself grappling with the future of this crazy movement I had dedicated the past five and a half years of my life to when I thought about something else.
This past January, I was dealing with some major problems in my personal life. The kind of things that leave you with blanket uncertainty and with a severe inability to function. This was a time of complete emotional chaos and total distress. And then I decided to do one brave thing. My boss had told me about a Fresh Food Box program through the nonprofit called GrowNYC. You pay a week in advance for a giant bag of local, fresh, in-season produce. That was my brave thing. At a time when I felt I had no solid footing, I knew that I could get vegetables on Thursday. And I knew if I paid on that Thursday, I would come back the next week. It was my heartbeat promise.
Things have drastically shifted since January – and much of that came from myself and the way I was approaching the circumstances that had fallen into my lap. But what remained was the little systems I had put into place for self-care – systems like the vegetable initiative.
I was walking home on a recent Thursday when I realized how happy I was. Moreover, when I realized how lucky I was. And I thought of the friends I had made at the vegetable stand. Some days, they’re just selling vegetables. But some days, they are providing someone with stability and reliability and the promise that no matter what else happens, they will still sell vegetables.
And maybe it really is as simple as that. Maybe I can’t stop posting about joy because for somebody it is that vegetable stand. In the good times, it’s just a fun place to stop and rest for a bit. In the trying times, it’s a backbone for support and guidance. Maybe so much of happiness comes down to accountability. To being there. To staying true to your word. To principles.
Maybe there’s something nice in knowing that the sun will be there when you wake up. Maybe this is my promise to you - Happiness will be there too.
I was thinking, recently, about how I’ll never be able to properly articulate how much those weekly trips to the vegetable stand have meant to me. And it got me to pondering The Smile Project’s upcoming milestone. Maybe I didn’t have to overthink it after all.
What am I good at? Run on sentences and accountability. Thank you for giving me the platform to sputter words in questionable sentences for the past 2000 days. I hope The Smile Project has provided you with comfort in times of despair, laughter in the midst of uncertainty, and joy for every time else.
With everything in me, thank you for being my heartbeat promise.