JJ Vincent calls himself a “happy human”. And he feels kind of bad about that.
Almost every day, someone asks me, “How are you?” Sound familiar? The levels of sincerity vary. Depends on who’s asking. My answer’s usually about the same, some variation on “Fine,” or “Ok,” or “Pretty Good”. Something pleasant and middle of the road. If it’s someone who genuinely cares, I might add a few more words.
I’m sure you’re in the same position, almost every day.
But here’s my secret.
I want to tell the truth. But the truth’s pretty uncool.
I’m happy. Happy. How often do you say that? I’m happy.
On most days, I’m happy. I’m happy with my relationships. I’m happy with my home. I’m happy with my pets, my friends, my hobbies, my mom, my job, life in general. I have bad days, like everyone else. I have times when I want to bang my head against the nearest wall or crawl into a hole and pull it in after me. I’m human.
But I’m a happy human. And I feel kind of bad about that.
It seems like so many people are unhappy. I hear so much complaining and negativity, in person, on the news, in forums and chats. People are upset about jobs, money, their relationships, or lack of any or all of these things. They’re angry about family members, politics, gas prices, their health. They’re stressed out and want to vent. They’re depressed and don’t want to be cheered up. They answer the, “How are you?” with the same “Fine,” or “Ok,” or “Pretty Good” that the rest of us do, but spend much of their social time fretting about what is wrong.
Is it cool to be unhappy, or uncool to be happy?
I want to tell people that my life is awesome. I want to smile at everyone and say that things are great! I want to bubble over with enthusiasm that I have wonderful loves in my life, great friends, people I can count on when I’m not so happy, sweet critters at home to cuddle, and piles of yarn and fabric to play with. I have. I have joy. I don’t want to be stoic and half-smiling. I want to be happy. Plain, old-fashioned, outright happy.
It’s harder than you’d think.
I listen to people. I hear them. I hear them wallowing in their problems. I hear them telling their friends, the clerk, the receptionist, the person on the other end of the phone, what is wrong. There’s a touch of pride in their voices, as though by telling their troubles, they are also telling people, “I’m surviving. I’m making it. My life is tough, but I am getting through it.” In return, they get sympathy, others’ tales of woe, company in shared difficulties. And maybe this is happiness for them. And congratulations to them for getting through what is troubling them.
But this is not the happiness that I want to share.
When I’m having a really bad day, there are a few people I’ll talk to about it. But day-to-day, I take my cues from the people around me, and try to strike an appropriate tone. If they are down, I’ll keep my happy at bay. If they are up, I’ll be a little more joyous. It’s not that I lack sympathy or empathy. I don’t want to be happy to make anyone else feel worse. I don’t want to discount or minimize their very real troubles and fears and sadnesses. I don’t know if misery loves company, but it usually doesn’t welcome a goofy grin and the word wonderful.
I can’t be the only shiny, happy person.
How many Gloomy Gusses out there are happy people in disguise? How many negative people are really skipping on the inside? How many men, under their stoicism and long practice of mild complaints, really just want to smile and tell people how cool everything in their worlds are?
I hear happiness and pride dripping from parents about their children, or people genuinely enthusing about the good fortune of a close friend or significant other. But what about themselves? Where is the happy in their lives?
Maybe, once a week, we need to have a “No Negatives” day. A day where we only share good things in our lives. You might have to think hard to find some. You might have to bite your tongue at the urge to go off on someone who you think has it better than you. It might be nice, though, to have a day where we put what’s wrong in our lives in the back seat and bring out the happy.
So. I’m thinking about coming out of the happy closet.
How about you?
photo courtesy of author