When was the last time you smiled at a complete stranger?
In 2013, I read this article about how unfriendly Vancouver had become. It talked about how Vancouverites were known for being anti-social, standoffish and even snobs. It went on to ask the readers about the last time they had smiled at someone in the street or sparked a conversation with a stranger in line or in the bus. I’ve always been the welcoming type of person and thankfully do not suffer from the well-known “resting bitch face” syndrome but it got me thinking… is this true? Am I doing my part in making Vancouver the friendly city it should be? The more I thought about it, the more I realized I had become completely disconnected to the world around me. When I walked in the street or took the bus, I barely noticed my surroundings, let alone smiled at the people who passed me by. Instead, I thought of the multitudes of items on my to-do list, what was the name of that wine I had tried last weekend (It was so good!) or when would the next season of “The Mindy Project” start. I had stopped living in the present and took all the beautiful things in my world completely for granted.
Things needed to change. I did not want to let time pass me by anymore. I wanted to be aware of each moment and make a conscious effort to enjoy all of life’s little moments. My first step, smile at strangers, as I walked down the streets, pedaled my way along the sea wall or even waited in line for my morning tea. It wasn’t easy but I kept reminding myself to be in the moment, look around and smile! Slowly but surely, it became a part of my life. Some people smiled back, some did not but it was ok, I was doing my part to make Vancouver a friendlier city – one smile at a time.
So here it is friends – here’s the story of how I started my smile project. Hopefully, over the years, it’s made people’s day a little better even for just a second and hopefully it’s been passed on to the next person who needed a friendly face on a grey day. It’s not much but it’s something I do and maybe I’ve inspired you to try it too?