Hello!We're finished with week 42, of The 365 Day People Picture Project!
I'm preparing to get back on the road for a 5 hour drive home, so we'll get straight to the introductions of the subjects from this week.
Day 288 - Chelsea
This is Chelsea. We only had a few minutes as she was just stepping out from work to feed the parking meter. I walked with her to plug the meter and we talked while we walked.
I asked Chelsea the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she responded, "I really want to go to Africa and things are opening up."
"Everyday kindness is a very powerful," Chelsea replied, when I asked if she had a personal mission statement or if she could think of one on the spot. When I asked Chelsea something about herself which she would consider to be a success, she replied, "I believe in Jesus. I'm a Christian."
Day 289 - Len and Mongoose
Len and Mongoose were soaking up the sun at Esther Short Park. I had no idea when I approached them, that Len is hearing impaired. As I asked him if I could take his picture, he gestured to his ear to let me know he was deaf. I don't know sign language, but I had paper and a pen. I sat down with Len and Mongoose and wrote a note to ask if I could take his picture and explained I would instagram the picture and then tell a story on the blog.
I was happy when Len agreed and it was fun hanging out with the two for a few moments in the bright warm sunshine!
After the pictures, I wrote another note for Len, asking him about the happiest thing happening in his life right now. Len wrote back that he and Mongoose are outdoors all the time! He even joked that he and Mongoose have ADHD and they would rather be outdoors than at home in their apartment.
I only asked Len the one question but stayed with him and Mongoose for a little while longer. I could tell Len was happy about having his picture taken with Mongoose. He gave me his e-mail address and asked if I could e-mail him the pictures. I happily agreed and tried my best to get a portrait of Mongoose that Len would love. (I was struggling with getting a proper picture of the both of them in the bright sun, but I was pleased with Mongoose's picture and hope Len is too!)
Day 290 - Tanner
This is Tanner. He was running at Mt. Tabor. Tanner is currently training for his first half-marathon in 2 weeks!
"School is almost out," Tanner replied, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
Tanner's recent act of kindness is that he purchased dinner for a friend who was a little low on money.
"Progress, not perfection," Tanner replied, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or could think of one on the spot.
When I asked Tanner one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success, he replied, "I quit drinking and drugs." I congratulated him and we talked about how spending “happy hour” at Mt. Tabor, training, beats any happy hour around!
Good luck at the race, Tanner. As my friend Molly always says, “may your feet have wings!” Day 291 - Arthur
This is Arthur. We met near Portland State University.
"I just had a good dinner, and I'm getting good grades," Arthur replied, when I asked about the happiest thing happening in his life.
Arthur also just finished writing a screenplay! I was exited to hear of his huge accomplishment and asked what he planned to do with it next. He laughed and said it was awful, so he'd most likely do nothing with it. Knowing we're always our own worst critic, I wanted to encourage him not to dismiss it so quickly. I also learned that Arthur just finished his own 365 Day Project in which he worked on writing a play, every day, for an entire year! Arthur has ambition and the burning desire sustained him enough to write every day for a year - I don't think this is the last we'll see of Arthur!
"Be happy for those who are happy. Be sad for those who are sad. Be indifferent to those who are wicked," was Arthur's response when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.
Wishing you lots of success with your writing, Arthur! Hmmm, if my friend Molly’s wish for runners had an equivalent for writers, maybe it would be - may inspiration always find you and the words flow easily. Or maybe it would be - may your ideas have wings! However we package the wish - may you find success!
Day 292 - Ambert
This is Ambert. He was waiting outside the Hollywood Theatre when I approached to ask if I could take his picture.
When I asked Ambert about the happiest thing happening in his life right now, he replied, "I just started dating a new girl." Ambert also loves his work.
I asked Ambert if he had performed a recent act of kindness and that's when he went on to explain more about his job. Ambert is a massage therapist at Asha Integrative Wellness and he considers his job as an opportunity for kindness. Ambert wants to make people happy and help them to feel better.
"Spread love and light," Ambert replied, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot. It was obvious in just the few moments I spent with Ambert that he does indeed spread love and light, and I was a lucky recipient.
After the pictures and "interview," Ambert gave me a hug and we wished each other well and I was on my way. Indeed, feeling happy and better!
I can't find the words to explain to you how amazing and enriching the experience is of stopping to talk with a stranger, and within a few moments, you’re exchanging hugs and well wishes with one another. Strangers becoming friends. Granted, the friendship is one of only a 5 minute duration, and we'll most likely never see one another again, but the impact of these little 5-minute friendships is life-changing. These interactions have been like a little jump-start for my heart and attitude. They give me a charge and help me to recover from, or cope with, the other times throughout the day which aren't as positive. Can you imagine if you gave yourself the opportunity to meet a new 5-minute friend each day? How would your life change? How would it affect the life of your 5-minute friend?
Day 293 - Rick
This is Rick. He was getting gas in the car in front of me. "Going to the beach to go surfing," Rick replied, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now. He was filling up and heading out to go surf!
When I asked Rick if he had recently performed and act of kindness, at first, he was stumped for an answer. Then it hit him, hit us both, actually. I had just witnessed Rick's act of kindness. Oregon still has gas station attendants who pump the gas for you and at a full service station, they even still wash your windows and check your oil. I had watched with my own eyes, Rick had just tipped the gas station attendant when they completed their transaction. That was his act of kindness! I was happy to be able to see Rick's act of kindness, and then all of the sudden it hit me. Is tipping the gas station attendant normal and "expected?" Have I been neglecting tip etiquette for all of these years? Rick and I talked about it and tipping a gas attendant is pretty rare, and makes Rick's gesture even more kind because it is unexpected, but very much appreciated. (as I witnessed by how appreciative the attendant was with Rick's kindness.) Rick also feels his job as a geologist helps him to do good for the planet.
When I asked Rick if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot, he replied, "Everyone has a place - no job is more important than another." I loved this sentiment and again, was reminded of the book, "The Leader who had no Title," by Robin Sharma. I asked Rick if he had read the book because what he had said was so in line with the message of the book. For example, gas station attendants are more than station attendants. They are people who gave us the fuel to get Rick on the road to surfing, and me on the road to work. They did more than pump gas, they gave us friendly and helpful service and set us up to have a better day! I asked Rick something about himself he would consider to be a success, and he said that he thinks he is good - morally and ethically.
Day 294 - Denise and Zac
I met Denise and Zac, in Veteran's Park in Klamath Falls, Oregon. I made a quick trip to Southern Oregon, to visit my Mom, and am here now just preparing to get back on the road.
I had been around family earlier in the day, but the timing just wasn't right to ask any of my family if I could take their picture. I'm sad about that, but happy I was able to at least see them in person.
"We're on a three week road trip," Zac replied, when I asked about the happiest thing happening in their lives right now. Zac and Denise were just 24 hours into their trip when we met at the park. Denise told me about a funny sign they had just driven past in another small town. The sign outside of a restaurant read, "now serving good food." We laughed and I imagine and hope this was the first of many happy memories for them on their 3 week adventure.
I asked the couple if they had recently performed an act of kindness. They thought for a while as they were trying to recall a recent kind act. They're both sure they do everyday acts of kindness such as holding the door open for people. Denise then went on to say that she visited with some elderly ladies at a quilt shop which they had stopped into in a tiny little Northern California town. She questioned whether that was an act of kindness and we determined it was a very kind thing. Denise is a pleasant person and I'm sure it made the elderly ladies' day to have an out-of-towner from LA visit with them and sign their guest book. Denise and Zac could have very easily blown through the town in a hurry to get back on the road, but Denise took the time to hang out in the quilt shop with the elderly quilters. Kindness can be more than giving money or things to people in need. Kindness is sharing of ourselves. (Sharing the best of ourselves.)
Zac's act of kindness is that so far, he's been the driver on the first leg of their journey. I asked the pair if they had personal mission statements or if they could think of one. Denise borrowed her friend's quote - "trample the earth." She wanted to point out that the word "trample" sounds destructive but it's intention is to explore the world, not actually trampling it. Very fitting, considering they were just about to explore the west coast and Canada! Zac's personal mission statement - “live without regrets.”
When I asked something about themselves which they would consider to be a success, Denise immediately responded, "I feel like I'm pretty resilient." Zac thought, and considered, and pondered, and stewed...and then Denise suggested a response, "you're very good at over-thinking things." We laughed and Zac decided to go with it, saying that he's successful at being well thought-out and considerate of all possible options. I was happy to have met this cute and nice LA couple in the small town where I had grown up. I thought for sure I would run into an old friend at the park and it was kind of ironic to run into tourists, as I'm feeling a bit like a tourist myself.
Wishing them lots of fun and great memories, and a safe road trip!
Here’s the summary of the personal mission statements from this week:
- Progress, not perfection.
- Be happy for those who are happy. Be sad for those who are sad. Be indifferent to those who are wicked.
- Spread love and light.
- Everyone has a place - no job is more important than another.
- Trample the earth.
- Live without regrets.
Thank you for checking in this week. If you were a subject in this project - thank you for your kindness! Thank you for being a part of this project and sharing yourself with us.
Please remember - next week is going to be the busiest week of the year for me at work, so next Sunday's post may come a few hours late. (or possibly as late as monday.) Don't worry - i'm still taking the daily pictures but I may just need a little extra time to be able to pause long enough to share them here. You can also follow me on instagram - my user name is @missellanea.
Wishing you an excellent week and I hope you'll give yourself the opportunity to meet a few new 5-minute friends!