Operation Keep Smiling

When work and life were really, really challenging in Malaysia two and some years ago, my mum told me not to let it get the better of me. She told me not to let external circumstances take away my usual cheerfulness and joie de vivre. For a while, I did and it was terrible. I’m trying really hard not to do that again.

To keep myself focused on the present rather than worrying (too much) about the future, I started taking pictures of everything I see that makes me smile. Not only has this helped me remember what smiling is, but it has also provided a physical representation of what it means to feel happy. I’ve only been at it for four days, but I notice that I’m looking around a lot more curiously because I want things to smile about. It just feels better.

Chess table in Tompkins Square Park. I immediately thought about how much fun I would have with this picture if I were an English teacher, or even a student in a creative writing class. I’ve always loved images as story starters and have used them with middle school social studies students. If I were to write a story using this image, it would involve two elderly gentlemen, a pair of small children, and at least one squirrel.
I love cars. Old cars, flashy new cars, sports cars, muscle cars. But I smiled at this one because it was so teensy! That unfortunately doesn’t come across very well here because of the angle (note to self: perspective) but I smiled when I saw it.

Someone, or several someones, left chalk messages along Avenue A, around and south of 10th. The actual quote, which I really like, reads, “Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream by night.” Regardless, it was a good reminder to keep dreaming, even when dreaming stems from and results in pain.

Artistic license . . . but sometimes the original works better!
Sunday evening in Harlem on my way home from Manhattanville Coffee, where I ran into a friend I haven’t seen in five years who is apparently a regular!
It took me a minute to catch the text over on the right. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
This gave me a giggle. If I needed a haircut, I’d go there just because of the clever sign. Which is precisely the point.

I usually attempt to read the graffiti that I pass, but it wasn’t until I’d walked a few more feet that my brain processed what this wall said. I laughed and backtracked to take a picture because it precisely echoes everything I feel like saying to everyone.


Operation Keep Smiling, over and out.


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