This week I want to talk about being happy 🙂
A pleasant proposition, I know. I specifically want to talk about your willingness to be happy. Or amused, or pleased, or humored or content. I want to dig into what it takes to make you smile, maybe even increase the amount of time you spend in that blissed out state.
When I was growing up I somehow learned that it was lame or boring or undesirable to be easily pleased. Laughing at simple jokes was seen as immature and stupid, dinner out at Subway was an inferior dining experience, shoes from TJMaxx were not as stylish as their identical sisters from Macy’s and borrowing from the library was so much less sophisticated or enjoyable than buying your own books or movies. Now that I’m thinking about it, this is commercialism and consumerism in a mindset, but it’s also just the way most of us think. Vacationing in the next town over won’t be as enjoyable as going international. Wearing last year’s cast offs from your friends isn’t as fun as filling your wardrobe at the mall. Hallmark is better than handmade (or bespoke handmade is better than Hallmark, depending), Hollywood productions are better than low-budget indie flicks. Contrived jokes from a comedian are always funnier than your husband.
I see your judgmental eyebrows coming out, but hold on. If you can honestly say that you’ve never turned your nose up at cheap wine simply because it’s cheap, refused to watch a movie because you didn’t recognize any of the actors, scorned a friend for making too big of a deal about the free cookies and water at a hotel, or judged a girl’s Instagram post because her shoes/bag/jewelry/jeans were too cheap looking, then go right ahead. Pull out the eyebrows of condescension and your judging smirk. But if, perchance, you too have a potentially skewed perspective of value, and it maybe has kept you from enjoying something in your life, welcome to the club. We would have t-shirts but there’s no catchy acronym for People Who Think Enjoying Simple Things Makes Them Simple.
Let me just say this now: You can be a classy, sophisticated lady and still appreciate clothes from Walmart. >Gasp!<
You can be an educated critical thinker and still laugh at a joke about the sound of a fart. >Outrage!<
Your cred will not diminish if you applaud the rhymes of a new artist trying out their writing chops. >Shook!<
Enjoying the simple things does not in some way decrease your ability to appreciate complexity. That sounds simple, but I think this is the big issue. We think that if we show our minds, or other people, that we can be pleased by Salvation Army donations that we’ll lose our taste for designer labels. That dipping in to a package of Oreos somehow tarnishes our palate. Which lets be real, is just not a thing.
Life can be a big ol’ pile of challenges and struggles and obstacles and rough days and rain and clouds and pain and junk. What good could we possibly achieve by reserving our smiles and laughter and pleasure for only the most perfect of items in the most luxurious wrappers enjoyed in the most splendid of locations?
Sure, don’t binge on the Oreos when there’s a Patisserie next door and you have a gift card. Don’t buy 2 Big Macs because they’re the same price as a single real burger somewhere else. Don’t buy 15 shirts you only kind of like from a thrift store if what you really want most is a designer top. And for all that is good in this world, don’t just buy stuff for the sake of buying stuff and please don’t just buy cheap/easy/accessible stuff when the ethics behind it are questionable. But if your friends bring you Chinese food from the basic place next door, dig in and enjoy what you have instead of wishing it were from your favorite place. When you hear the first big song from a brand new artist, give it a listen instead of skipping it in favor of something more polished. Decide to see the humor in your dad’s ridiculous jokes. Find something beautiful and unique about your dive to work. Explore the small town you take for granted and find five things that make you happy, even if it’s only a tiny bit happier than before.
Just decide that you are going to be easy to please, even for a day. You’re guaranteed to have more fun, find more joy, and be less stressed. What have you got to lose?!