Fake it till you make it. They (whoever “they” are”) say that the simple act of smiling can lead to real happiness. So forcing a smile - even when you are sad - can actually make you happier. Can forced joy lead to actual joy?
I don’t know, but I’m determined to find out.
Starting tomorrow - the one year anniversary of Brad’s diagnosis - I’ll be sharing 365 days of forced joy. A year ago started the worst period of my life. And every day from now until January 22nd, I am inevitably reminded of where we were a year ago, reliving every single doctor’s appointment, every single emergency hospital visit, reliving Brad's pain and decline, and ultimately his death. That shit will trigger some major PTSD symptoms as I relive it all over again - this time alone.
Which is where the forced joy comes in.
Brad and I started the Forced Joy Project in the middle of a particularly tough day in the middle of his particularly tough diagnosis. In a state of desperation for a positive moment, I said we needed to commit to daily moments of joy. Brad rolled his eyes, slightly appalled, and said, "you mean forced joy?"
Yes, that's exactly what I meant.
Later that day, while walking along the Detroit Riverfront, Midnight Train to Georgia started blasting out of a nearby speaker. Brad pulled me in, kissed me, and we started to dance. Smiling, with tears rolling down both our faces, he leaned in, holding me close, and whispered, "there's your forced joy."
And the #ForcedJoyProject began.
It’s been something I’ve continued on and off over the last 10 months, mostly just for me. But starting tomorrow, it’s going global! Or at least getting it’s own Instagram account (super official, I know). For the next year, I’ll be posting daily acts of joy. From the silly to the thoughtful to the extreme. And I hope you’ll join me and share your joy too. Because there’s nothing better than sharing and experiencing our joy together.
Follow along on the brand new Instagram account @ForcedJoyProject (Brad is somewhere rolling his eyes saying to himself, "just what the world needs, another Frost instagram account.") and please join in on the joy. Because real joy occurs when it's shared with others.