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100 Days of Joy: Art Journalling my way through a life change

If you've been following my work, you might recall that, in November last year, I embarked on a personal project called 100 Days of Joy, where I would document one moment of joy/delight/gratitude every day in my journals with a quick sketch and a note. The idea was to pause, find that one thing, and record it. I was very inspired by Book of Delights by Ross Gay that I had read recently.

A watercolour illustration of toast with avocado and lettuce
Some delicious breakfast for Day 39

Here's an update on that.

I didn’t make it to 100 days.

Buuuuut I managed to get to 92 days.

Which in itself is fantastic for me, because I came SO far and kept going despite being in the middle of moving countries, packing up and setting up a new home, and starting a new course. I’m not beating myself up over not finishing.

Instead, I’m celebrating the days I managed to show up, even if it was one sentence scribbled hurriedly, instead of drawn.

Art Journalling: An Anchor

I decided to take on this project for myself despite the big move happening in just a couple of months. It's almost as if I decided to do it because so much was changing around me. It would be the one constant thing every day to look forward to when my weeks ahead would be filled with big decisions, packing and selling, and some of the anxiety and stress that comes with all of it. And it definitely did the trick. It made me constantly look out for that one silver lining, no matter how tiring a day had been, or how frustrating.

(Note: I am by no means recommending this as an always-positive, everything-is-always-sunshine-and-rainbows approach to life. Life will life. Things will feel shitty. Rant and moan, and also get help if you can.)

What brought me joy?

The things that brought me joy varied vastly. Looking back, here are some:

A conversation with a loved one. Something pretty I saw - a fallen flower, sunset skies, a teacup holder. Delicious food that I ate. Making art. Making art with my daughter. Learning something new. Food that my mother sent me. A friend singing. Beautiful packaging. Going for a run after a long time. And so on.

Print-style image on a coffee pack showing the brand name in a french press
Delightful print-style image on a coffee pack

Some are big things, many are small things. This whole exercise is just a reminder for me that simply being present to the smallest things in life can add so much meaning.

Towards the last few days - days after I had moved to Singapore and was getting busier with my course and setting up the house, I can see several days where I had just about scrawled one line each day. I remember having days where I would just type out what brought me joy on my phone at night before going to bed, and add it into my book the next day. I was showing up imperfectly, but I showed up, and that matters to me.

Text from my art journal pages
Entries from Days 86 and 87

What I'm taking away from this

Doing 100 days of Joy made me keep an eye out for little things that delighted me each day, through everything that was happening in my life. It made me more observant. Instead of being lost in my thoughts, I was more present. It served as an anchor when a LOT of things were changing around me. Being regular with art journalling, as always helped me keep a record of my life, and more importantly, made me happy.

Finally, the very act of looking out for, and recording these moments itself brought me a lot of joy.

Right now, a lot of things are changing inside of me. And so, I'm ready to do this again.

This time round, I'd love some company on this journey. Details coming soon :)

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