Let’s do a 100 Day Project

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Dear Frances,

You were asking me the other day about what I wanted from this summer. I was intrigued by your idea of creating a theme for the season or creating a 100 Day Project to give this summer a bit of structure. As much as I love the idea, I can’t think of a theme for the summer yet (though I’ve got until June 21, right?). I mean, every summer, I hope to emerge 20 pounds lighter come September (and that even happened once!). So I’ll think on that one and focus instead on a 100 Day Project.

I love this idea. Since consistency is where I fall down in creating new habits, I love the idea of a low-stakes project to help me flex that muscle. I must confess that this is not my first attempt at a 100 Day Project. A few years ago I bought a Zentangle book and vowed to do one tangle a day for 100 days. I think I made it to Day 3 and I’ve never Zentangled again. Sigh.

So what project pick this time? I entertained many ideas: sewing/knitting/stitching for 15 minutes a day, drawing, watercolor, decluttering, and gardening. All worthy projects! But ultimately I decided to take one photograph a day. I’ve recently realized that I don’t take enough photos.

We just spent the weekend in San Diego with the kids to see Ben’s concert, and I didn’t take a single photo! As the kids get older and start to scatter, I would like to do a better job of documenting our time together. The other reason is that I love the idea of pausing once a day to find something beautiful or just representative of the day and recording it. My pictures so far are very domestic, but I’m looking forward to my trip to Stockholm next week to add some variety to it.

One thing that I’ve thought about to help see the project through to the end is to set a reminder on my phone. Every day at 4pm a reminder pops up and asks, “Have you taken a photo today?”. At that point, there’s still enough light to take a nice photo if I haven’t already. I’ve created an Album on my phone to store each day’s photo, so that at the end of the 100 days I can easily see the full results.

This just came in the mail over three years from when Chloe graduated!

I’ve also given myself a good talking to about what happens if I miss a day—I won’t abandon the whole project, but just hop right back on. This is where my all-or-nothing personality usually sabotages these types of plans.

Now it’s your turn–tell me about your project and why you chose it. And dear readers, we would love it if you wanted to join us and create your own 100 Day Project. Tell us all about it in the comments!   

Dear Kristin,

The beginning of summer has a New Year’s vibe for me. It’s a time for plans and projects and maybe even a resolution or two. I love the idea of a 100 Day Project, even though the last time I tried it, I only made it to the halfway point. Like yours, it was a daily photo project, and I really enjoyed it, but at some point I lost the thread and that was that.

BUT if you and I (and some of our readers!) are doing 100 Day Projects at the same time, I have a much better chance of making it through to the other side! To that end, I started my 100 Day Project on Monday, June 5th. My 100th day will be September 13.

What is my project, you ask? Each day, I’m going to send a postcard to a friend. Actually, let me amend that to reflect the realities of the USPS: Each day, I’ll write a postcard to a friend. Sunday’s postcards will go in the post on Mondays alongside Monday’s postcards. 

(Dear Readers, I would be very happy to put you on my postcard list! Email me with your address–fmdowell@gmail.com)

As you know, I love everything about mail. I pour over each issue of the USPS catalog, USA Philatelic, dog-earing pages as I go. I don’t collect stamps, though I buy a lot of them. I do collect postcards, especially vintage postcards, and I’m often given postcard boxes for Christmas to feed my postcard-mailing habit.

(Sidenote: I love writing letters, too, and have several regular correspondents. Years ago, I sent and received three or four letters a week. Email put an end to that, sad to say; now it’s more like 3-4 letters a month.)

What I love about postcards: When it comes to writing a message, a little dab’ll do ya. I used to write long messages, but then one day it occurred to me that if I have a hard time reading long postcard messages (and I do), maybe my friends do, too. So these days, I might just write a few lines to let people know that I’m thinking about them or to relay a fun bit of news or just some piece of silliness. There’s a sweet spot between “Wish you were here!” and a State of the Nation address, and that’s what I aim for. 

I don’t have a theme for the summer yet, though I do have a few goals that mostly have to do with food (eat more greens and less of the other stuff!) and exercise, plus making good progress on the Great 2023 Declutter project. 

One thing I’ve learned over the years is to have very low expectations when it comes to summer. Anyone who has experienced summer in the South knows that June is filled with promise and July is filled with 90+% humidity. 90+% will suck the joy right out of you (although it does give your skin a lovely glow). So daily postcards popped in the mailbox, big salads and more boxes to the Scrap Exchange seems just about right.

Maybe my summer theme should be Keeping It Simple! I like that. 

xo, Frances

P.S. It’s been a long time since I took any family photos. Given that Clifton is an amazing photographer, it’s never been my job, for which I am thankful. Jack and Will both reached an age–maybe around fourth grade?–where they were no longer eager to be photographed. Still, we have lots of amazing photographs of them, thanks to my own personal Walker Evans.

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Jack and Will, circa 2010
  • Tracie

    After listening to the Lazy Genius podcast about summer and prioritizing what’s important to me, I thought of two things: linger outside late into the evening as often as possible and listen to the happy noises of children playing outside. I also want to relive my lazy summer days as a child when I could endlessly read books. So I am going to endeavor to read for pleasure all summer long. I’ll peruse my bookshelf and decide whether it’s time to enjoy an old friend or meet a new one.

  • Laurie

    I’m in! I’m going to hand sew at least 15 minutes every day. I’ve been occasionally sewing hexies, but will branch out into other shapes too.

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