The First Third
I am now just past one third of the way through The 100 Day Project, a project that I began on a whim thinking it might be fun to do one hundred days of doodles, and even more fun if I sent out what I made each day to someone who might want it. I started the project with doodles because I'd recently been surprised by some really great feedback after sharing the pages of a mini-book I'd made that included my doodles, artwork that's littered the pages of every notebook and piece of scrap paper I've ever owned. I started this project because I felt I needed more out of life, that I had more to give and to grow, and when it's time to begin, it's often best and simplest to start where you are.
So now, thirty-six days in, I am sitting here tonight reading through some of the feedback I've received so far from those who've gotten a doodle, and after a day with a number of falters before successes when it came to doodling, I am realizing the the volume of what I've learned in the span of this short period of time is nothing short of surprising.
Earlier this week in response to a prompt from those leading the project, I recorded a short video completing the sentence they began, and what I said was this: "Since beginning the 100 Day project, the most unexpected insight is that it's actually not about the doodle being good, it's about the doodle being real." I am not saying this in a self-deprecating manner, or implying that I have in any way stopped trying to do my best each day when I create a doodle someone, either as part of this project or for the shop, it's not that at all, but what I've realized is that people are not supporting me and my adventures solely on the artistic merit of my coffee mug, or my dogs, or my people. If I am to listen, to really listen to the feedback I'm receiving and to pay attention to what garners the most by way of replies, it's about the doodles that reach beyond what someone has asked for: family, coffee, books, and nudges a little at why those things matter to them.
And this is where the gift of this project comes in - for thirty-six days I've had the great opportunity to get to know people I might not have met otherwise, to spend time learning about their incredible lives through the images and words they share, and to tell a story for them using the very same things, just through a different lens, and though I've been lucky enough to tell so many incredible stories, the most important one I've seen is my own, reflected back by the way I see theirs. I don't know that anyone will be knocking down my door because of how I nailed that pair of wonky scissors, and that's okay, because I love a lot of other people's very well drawn scissors, but what I can bring to the table are the eyes, mind, heart, and hands of a born observer who always wanted to be a writer who would tell the world's stories, and who is just now realizing that there's more than one way to tell someone's story, and more than one way to tell her own.
Thirty-six days in, I know this to be true: the best thing we can give each other is still honesty, and even better when that honesty is full of the beauty we see in someone else's life, and to be grateful and receptive when someone does the same for us. Right now, I do this through doodles, and though I know that will evolve and change over time, I feel pretty lucky that I get to take such a small act, this process of doodling that nearly all of us do on some level (lines, squiggles, and swirls absolutely count), and make people really happy.
You know what? Making other people happy makes you happy by default, and proximity, and cliche, and history, and a mixture of all that "of course it does" kind of advice that everyone's always trying to give us, but we just have to learn for ourselves.
I am so excited to see what the next third will bring, and the last after that, and even more so, to keep meeting people, getting the chance to tell their story, or to simply reflect their incredible lives back to them in a way that reminds me the beauty of my own.
It makes me wonder, what do you do that you haven't given much credit to, but might just change your life?