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3 Lessons Learned from The 100 Day Project

3 images showing a lighthouse, stone turtles, and a ferris wheel at night. Text reads 3 lessons learned from hashtag the 100 days project. Petite font dot com

Rainbow with blue circle in middle. Text overlay reads We're here! Day 100. You did it!

The 100 Day Project finally ended this last week. Did I end my art project with a whimper or a bang? And what did I learn?

What is this 100 days thing?

The 100 Day Project is a self-driven opportunity to explore your own creativity. It’s free and there are participants from all over the world. It takes place every year over 100 days from April to July.

This year there was also a Facebook group, though participation there was…well. I didn’t take part much, but I know the project moderators tried to make it engaging. There was also a podcast!

So what was my art project and why did I choose that for 100 days?

My art project was to explore my new area (Long Beach, CA) to get 10k steps a day, and then post a photo of my adventures. I used the hashtag #100DaysofLBC. You can read about my motivation here.

Long Beach is eclectic. We have random street art. Our bicycle racks are sometimes shaped like coffee cups. Or dragonflies.Image of dragonfly shaped bike rack on sidewalk. Text at top reads Day 81 hashtag the 100 day project hashtag 100 days of lbc. Text below reads Lock your bike to the dragonfly. Bixby Park. Petite font dot com.

We have peacocks. Real ones too, not just this one up on a wall.

Image of colorful wrought iron peacock affixed to side of building above a wooden bench. Text in teal box reads Day 19 hashtag the 100 day project hashtag 100 days of lbc. Peacocks are very popular in this neighborhood! Text below reads Alamitos Beach, Long Beach, Cali... petite font dot com.

Murals abound. I wanted to capture them all (which I’m sure I did not).

Image of an outdoor mural of a cat with angel wings and narwhal horn sitting on a rock next to a winged woman wings on her head, its tail in the water as blue birds fly away. A full moon in background behind lavender clouds. Text overlay reads Day 20 hashtag the 100 day project hashtag 100 days of lbc, Everythign about this mural is simply fantastic. Cherry Beer Wine Market. Petite font dot com.

There was more than enough to fill many 100 day projects!

How successful was this project?

Well, how are we measuring success?

Did I create 100 posts? No.

Did I enjoy the process? No.

Is that a bad thing? No.

Did I find new areas to explore? Yes!

Did I learn anything about myself during these 100 days? Yes.

Did it change me? Do I feel more like “an artist” now? Yes. And no.

Would I do it again? Yes, probably.

Allow me to explain.

Why I didn’t make the full 100 posts

Well, I did make it to the end, I just missed some steps along the way. I knew from the beginning that I would be kind to myself and try not to feel bad about skipping a day here or there.

It was a good thing that I was in this mindset.

You might remember that my dad had a heart attack right after my birthday. So for the rest of May, my posts were sporadic. Life continued to happen. I just couldn’t capture it for a while.

Image of stone turtles on grass, one broken down the back with grass growing through, and grey Converse shoes at the bottom of the picture. Text reads Day 40 hashtag the 100 day project hashtag 100 days of lbc, Alamitos Beach Long Beach Cali..., petite font dot com.

Why I didn’t enjoy the process

Eventually, this started to feel like a chore. I wish I could say it was something I got up and looked forward to doing every day.

At first, that was the case. But then my foot tendinitis started acting up, making the “exploring” part difficult. That’s okay, I could still drive places. But then I was trying to force visits around the city into my day instead of feeling spontaneous about it.

Image of a white sign on a municipal light pole in front of a house that reads CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR DOG! IT'S THE LAW. HAVE SOME RESPECT. PLEASE! Pink box with white text reads why is this such a hard concept? Other text on picture reads Day 53 hashtag the 100 day project hashtag 100 days of lbc petite font dot com

Why it’s okay that I didn’t enjoy it

It’s fine for art, in any medium and any form, to make you uncomfortable. We don’t grow as humans without discomfort.

Learning to walk wasn’t easy, but we got up every time we fell down as toddlers and tried again. I didn’t wake up one day suddenly able to deadlift 255 pounds. It took 5 years of really hard work.

I had to push myself.

And that’s not always fun. But the results of pushing through the hard parts make it worth doing.

Image of a woman in a gym squat rack lifting a barbell over her head. Text overlay reads Day 14 Taxes done, time for shoulder rehab. LA Fitness-Long Beach-PCH hashtag the 100 day project hashtag 100 days of lbc Petite font dot com

And that was the first lesson.

Lesson #1 from The 100 Day Project

Remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. The end felt like it was a long way off. But there’s no way to speed up time.

You have to literally take it one day at a time. Unless you’re a time traveler, there’s no possible way to rush through living 100 days without actually living 100 days.

Just like a marathon. One foot in front of the other, steady pace.

Image of stairs with interesting tiles text reads Day 37 hashtag the 100 day project hashtag 100 days of lbc, Alamitos Beach, Long Beach, Cali...Petite Font dot com.

Lesson #2 from The 100 Day Project

Surprising things can happen. For the last few year, I’ve almost exclusively used my iPhone for taking pictures. For this art project that’s all I needed. But for blogging, I went back to my roots.

My Canon 7D has been sitting unused in a bag for a really long time. But I took it out and started shooting with it more often. And now I’m actually considering lugging it to Puerto Rico with me next month.

There was once a time when that would have felt hugely inconvenient. I haven’t traveled with a large DSLR camera in…I can’t remember how long. But the photography bug bit me again. It feels like an old part of me has reawakened.

I credit the project with this.

Lesson 3 from The 100 Day Project

The prize is in the work.

There were no awards given for participating in this project. No one won first place. You weren’t rewarded if you never missed a day. The payoff was in sticking with it through the end. Looking back on the body of work you’ve created and being able to say, I did that.

Or, I did that?

Or better still: I did that!

Yeah, you did. I did. It’s pretty rad.

Image of two beers on a wooden table, text reads Day 100! hashtag the 100 day project hashtag 100 days of lbc. Great way to end the run. Beers on tap. LBX The Hangar.Petite font dot com

Looking back on it, I can’t wait to do it again!

I have no idea what I’ll do next time. I don’t even know if I’ll have finished exploring Long Beach by next spring.

But I’m looking forward to what I’ll create next time.

If you want to see my full gallery of posts, I’ve saved them in my Instagram Stories.

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Kat
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This is why I don’t like to participate in these “challenges”. They feel too much like chores. I enjoyed your photos, though, and I’m glad you got to explore your new home!

Cindy
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Cindy

Loved this post. Well-written and thought-provoking, as per usual. Congratulations!

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