I was sitting in a bar across from Columbia University one night a few years ago, talking to my brother about The Smile Project. In the course of our conversation, we began brainstorming what would become known as “The Bubble Site.”
The idea was simple: an online database for every “Happiness is” I have ever posted on behalf of The Smile Project. A truly interactive space for people to search by day number, by date of the year, or by keywords.
I enlisted a former roommate turned dear friend and sketched out an erratic series of circles and lines, hoping desperately he would be able to make sense of this slightly vague and sweetly ambitious idea.
When he finally sent me the website URL about a year ago, I was sitting in my home away from home in Washington state. I gathered my adoptive family into the room and we watched as the “Happiness is bubbles” bounced around the screen.
It was truly my joy personified.
I waited a year, through troubleshooting, sustainability plans, and small edits and touch ups to release The Bubble Site on November 9th, 2019, the eighth anniversary of the first ever “Happiness is” post.
Here’s a little more about how it works:
Go to the website. There are ten bubbles flying around the screen. Click on them. Check them out. Then refresh. You have ten new bubbles. Ten new joys.
Let’s dig a little deeper. See that search bar at the top? You can type in any term. Dogs. Halloween. Snow. College. Bubbles with your keyword or key phrase will pop up. You can also type in numbers. Is 1823 your favorite number? You can see what Happiness was on Day 1823.
Now, you see that little calendar next to the search bar? Click on that. That’ll convert the keyword search bar into a month and day drop down. Change it to your birthday. Your anniversary. Today. You can see every Happiness is from every February 15th if you want!
When you click on a bubble, you can “favorite” it by clicking the star in the top left corner of the box. All your favorites can be seen by clicking the star in the top right corner of the web page. Even if you x-out of the browser, as long as you log in from the same computer, your favorites will be there.
Each bubble also has a one or more "tags" at the bottom. You can click on different categories to read more about a particular "theme" of Happiness is.
To say I love this website would be an understatement. Eight years of documented daily joy live at this URL. Recording my “Happiness is” moments every day since I was seventeen has radically transformed my life. Put shortly: it means a lot to me.
I hope you take some time to explore the website. Bookmark it for your rainy days. Share it with a friend. We could all use a little light.