Saturday, May 10, 2014
WHY I SUCK AT #100HAPPYDAYS—AND WHY THAT MIGHT ACTUALLY BE SUCCEEDING
I got excited when I found #100HappyDays. Really. It reminded me of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s #DailyGratitude. It sounded so simple: Take a pic of something that makes you happy each day and post it online. I’ve often tried to keep gratitude journals, but I’m terrible at journals—any kind of journal. I thought this would keep me honest.
Right off the bat, though, I started cheating. I wasn’t posting photos. Instead, I was posting a tweet describing what had made me happy that day. But after about a week, my #100Happy tweets died. Here’s why:
They died, in part, for the same reason my photos never quite got off the ground: because I do not do tech on my off-time. I have a disposo-cell phone (no smartphone). It doesn’t take pictures. It doesn’t connect to the Internet. It makes calls. It has a flashlight. The end. I don’t carry a camera with me most times, either. I feel incredibly fortunate to being doing what I love. I respect my industry, which means I work hard. I keep long hours. But when I’m done, I’m done. At the end of the day, I don’t want to think about Twitter or blogs or promos. I want to enjoy a meal and good company and play with my dog and watch the sun set and laugh and unwind with some yoga and not be taken out of the moment by having to take a picture of it all and think about posting it online.
#100HappyDays also died because bad things happened. Okay, it wasn’t like I had to endure anything tragic, but there were definitely down moments. For example, I broke a tooth. I had to have a root canal. I never got completely numb, which meant the two hours of drilling were painful. When I returned for my permanent crown, it didn’t fit (the temp didn’t fit well, either, and had torn up my gums). I felt it was just plain silly to find some sort of superficial happiness (why, this dental office has lovely wallpaper!) in the midst of a situation that was expensive and painful and frustrating and never ending (I’m still waiting for a new permanent crown). Instead, I recognized the suck-factor of the situation while it was happening, and then I put the bad situation aside, and focused on the current task at hand: drafting new work, meeting bloggers, organizing a new tour—all cool stuff.
As far as Twitter is concerned, I’m a big fat #100HappyDays failure. But don’t my reasons for failing show that I actually succeeded? Isn’t #100HappyDays a gateway toward the enjoyment of life? Isn’t that what I’ve been doing all along? Doesn’t my enjoyment show that I maybe failed at #100HappyDays because I didn’t need it to begin with?
Maybe I’m giving myself too much credit, patting myself on the back a little too hard. Could be. But instead of dwelling on it, I’m going to turn off this computer and dance barefoot to Will Hoge. Because that makes me happy.