Day 30: The Happiness Project

Oscar and Christina

Wiggletron3000, meet my old travelling accomplice


Holy crap, we’ve made it to Day 30 somehow.

Since the past month has essentially been a blur, I will assume I didn’t space out and skip whole days and/or weeks entirely.

A lot has changed in this time, internally if not externally. It has been a curious experiment that threatened to derail a few times into tired complaints, apathy, forced smiles and resignation. I feel better now.

As noted in yesterday’s post, I think this experiment has forced me to really stop and think about what is an honestly happy moment or experience and what is just coping and labelling it happy [insert uncertain rictus smile here]. There has been an awful lot of square peg/round hole integration attempts over the past few months, trying to find joy in fundamentally flawed trajectories. It reminds me now in retrospect of most of my Shanghai years. Trying to fix the fiddly details when it was the big picture that needed to be jettisoned entirely.

Sometimes being honest with yourself can be harder to follow through with than you might think.

Day 30 was heralded in with a visit from someone I’ve known since I was in high school back in the wilds of Canada and who let me camp out on her bedroom floor in Hampstead for a season back in the mid-1990s. She came up from London with a massive wheelie bag stuffed full of baby clothes that her little boy had grown out of.

Thwack now officially has enough clothes to last him until some time around 2016 and has more sartorial options than both of us grown-up types combined. My wardrobe currently consists of stretched out maternity tops, baggy nursing tops (apparently the assumption is that even size medium post-partum women have ginormous bosoms), jeans that don’t fit anymore (in a good way), and a bunch of super groovy mod/retro dresses that I bought off eBay in an optimistic attempt to reclaim my sense of fashion. Of course, they weren’t designed to be nursing-friendly so my own grooviness will have to wait.

The visit was a lovely one, with coffee out in the sunny back garden and lunch in town, with invigorating, inspiring conversation and new ideas sparked and tentative new exciting trajectories plotted. It’s always good to keep revisiting friends from your younger days who have followed similarly weird and geographically haphazard life paths and who are still looking around for possibilities and challenges. It kind of normalizes what can sometimes feel like abnormal impulses- particularly when you spend a lot of time among lovely, kind people who have lived a comparatively settled life.

Now that the 30 days of happiness are done, I think I will continue until the end of the official 100 days (as the original photo-only challenge called for) on Instagram (I’m koangirl there), crossposted to my private Facebook page and Twitter. If something is particularly worth noting and elaborating on, I’ll fill in the details here as well.


The whole Happiness Project collection of posts can be found here.

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About MaryAnne

I live in Hanoi. I used to live in Shanghai (hence this blog’s title) but I left in 2013. I tend to travel. I cook stuff. I read a lot. I try to scare myself silly with regularity. I write about it all. A lot.