21DJC Day 16 – What Makes You Happy?

This is Day 16 of the 21-Day Journaling Challenge (21DJC). The challenge is over but you can still do the tasks in your own time! Visit the overview page for all Journaling Challenge tasks and posts.

Empty book for journaling

Hi everyone – Welcome to Day 16 of 21DJC! 🙂


Yesterday’s question was: “What is the Most Painful Thing You Have Ever Experienced To Date?“. (Read the responses.)

The most painful experience in my life is something I mentioned before (albeit briefly) in part-3 of the moving on series. It was the period when my mom was in ICU after a surgery, in 2006.

At that time, my mom had to undergo a surgery due to a complication developed since my birth over 20 years ago. I never knew what the complication was, because my parents refused to tell me. They have always kept me out of the ‘adult’ matters in the household, because they don’t want to ‘bother’ me or make me worry for no reason.

So the surgery was scheduled. Since it was in the day, she didn’t want me, my brother, nor my father at the hospital because she felt it was unnecessary. She wanted it as low key as possible. So we didn’t, in respect to her wishes. Also, the surgery was supposed to be a normal, standard procedure, nothing

So the surgery took place. It was a success, as far as the surgery was concerned.

Little would we know she would slip into a coma and enter the ICU after the surgery.

I remember crying like crazy during that time. Everything was a blur, though I remember specific bits and pieces during the period.


I remember regretting the way I treated her in the past – so rudely and abrasively.

I remember not being able to stop my tears from flowing at the hospital, no matter how much I tried.

I remember asking the doctor about her condition and not being able to utter more than a few words without my voice trembling or me breaking into tears. I vaguely remember the doctor saying that the first 24-48 hours were the most critical – that if she didn’t wake up in this period, it would be increasingly unlikely for her to come around.

I remember not being able to comprehend the possibility of her not being around – especially when she was right there at home just a few days ago, doing her regular chores.

I remember seeing her weak and frail on the hospital bed, behind the glass panel, inside the ICU, plugged on life support. Something which I had difficulty comprehending because she had always been the almighty, the powerful mom in my life.

I remember being a complete wreck. I had never felt more scared in my life. I never knew it was possible to feel that scared.

I remember thinking: “What if mama dies? What would I do?

The episode made me realize how much my mom meant to me, even though she had been playing a silent role all this while. I had clearly taken her for granted, just as I had always been taking my father, my brother, and everything else in my life for granted.


Thankfully, she pulled through the critical stage. She came to within 48 hours, was discharged from the hospital after a few weeks, and was slowly nursed back to full health. Today she’s fine and as healthy as she can be.

Many of you graciously shared your painful experiences with us. Thank you. You may not realize it, but your sharing has and will continue to make a difference in the lives of those who read it. Your sharing has opened the eyes of those who had not undergone the same experience before. Your sharing has opened the hearts of those who share the same experiences, but have not found it in their power to move on yet.

Pain is a powerful emotion, because it lets us realize the things that matter to us in life. Without pain, we would not be able to appreciate what we have in quite the same way. Just like a rubber band snaps back with full power when it has been pulled back to the maximum, it is our down points that create our up moments. The life of a person who has never experienced pain before will never be as rich as the life of a person who has undergone cycles of ups and downs.

Don’t ever bottle up or hold back on your pain, because pain is meant to be felt in its entirety. For whatever pain you may have faced in the past or are facing right now, feel it fully. Soak in the emotion. Understand why you are feeling it. Understand where it is coming from. Understand what it represents to you.

And when you’ve truly come to terms with the incident, you’ll find that it no longer triggers any negativity. Neither will you find any resistance towards it. In its place, would be a sense of peace, acceptance and happiness.

Articles that will help:

With that said, let’s now move to today’s question.


21DJC Day 16

Yesterday we shared our painful experiences. As we gently accept our pain from the past, today I’d like you to think about happiness. Today’s question is:

What Makes You Happy?

Girl smiling

What makes you smile? What do you look forward to doing the most? What do you love most about life? What brings you happiness?

Your Task Today:

  1. Reflect and answer today’s question. There’s no word limit – whether minimum or maximum. Write as few or as many words as you want. It’s all up to what you want to express!
  2. Share your answer. After you are done writing, copy and paste your answer in the comments area and post it there.
  3. Check out other participants’ answers. Other participants will be sharing their answers too, so feel free to read and reply to their answers. This is a group course, so let’s support each other in these 21 days.
Look forward to reading your answers! 😀
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