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A Joy Day Reflection: A Guest Post by Kristen Parry

This is a guest post written by Kristen Parry. Kristen is a firm believer in Happiness and Love as the two prominent pillars of life. She is the program manager for The Smile Project and focuses on the ambassador program.

I’ve always found it interesting how one day can mean so many different things… or how one day can mean something completely different to different people.

For me, Joy Day—November 9—is one of those days with a lot of layers.

On November 9, 2009, my grandma passed away. It was my first real experience with grief and the loss of a close family member. To this day, I vividly remember the pain and emotion I felt, and each year I pause in remembrance of the love she gave and the life she lived.

Fast forward two years.

On November 9, 2011, my high school friend Liz posted a Facebook status that said “Day One: Happiness is.. those perfect car rides where the radio just plays all the right songs.” And she didn’t stop. Day after day, another “Happiness is..” went up, and each November 9, the anniversary of that very first post and the birth of The Smile Project was celebrated.

Eleven years, and more than 4,000 posts later, that tradition continues. And it gives me something to reflect on when November 9 comes around.

I still feel grief, sadness, and loss personally. But I also feel joy, pride, and wait for it… Happiness for all that I’ve seen Liz—my high school turned life-long friend—accomplish through The Smile Project.

So what does all of this mean?

I guess my message is that life is messy. Days are dynamic, just like emotions. But it’s beautiful that they can mix together so you can feel a little bit of joy on a day that might otherwise be sad.


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