How many of you are having a crack at being happy for 100 days? Loads of my chums are posting cheesy heart warming shots down my Instagram and Facebook feeds as #100HappyDays. Apparently a 27 year old charming looking Swiss boy kicked it all off when he wanted to escape ‘the constant chase for ever rising internal and external expectations, which leaves no time for being happy’. The idea comes from good intentions and it has clearly struck a chord with many as Facebook is bursting at the seams with the great endorphin shot of drinking a coffee through a sepia lens.
While I don’t doubt it has been useful to many, I would find that the sparks of happiness experienced throughout the day would be immediately replaced by the downer of stopping being happy for a sec while I try and take a photo, get the right filter on it and make sure I’m standing in decent reception and that my Facebook app doesn’t crash while I post it.
Yesterday I left work and felt happy about some of the conversations I’d had, the enjoyment of a productive day and the outlook for tomorrow. My children were all jumping and excited to see me which felt pretty damned amazing. Then I drank a cold beer whilst lighting the fire and hearing them all chatter round me. Reading back through that sounds cheesy and like I’m trying to promote a happy clappy perfect vision of my life (which isn’t the whole picture, obviously). If I’d had to stop and record any of it and post on social media I’m not sure my children’s happiness or mine for that matter would have been improved. Probably lessened if anything. Not to mention then losing a good half an hour whipping through FB to see what everyone else had posted that day.
I’m generally a good balance between being positive and mildly sceptical. #100HappyDays brings out both in me. My immediate thought on seeing the website was that it’s a bit over-sunshiny with a warm yellow page and kooky, girly font. There is no About Us section and no ads. No ads?! How are they earning any money? Then reading down I saw the instruction to hashtag all posted photos or send them into the website. Next assumption – someone capitalising on the social media fatigued X and Y generation by making them do more of it whilst compiling a stock of photos to use commercially.
Dmitry Golubnichy, the man behind the movement, stresses photos shouldn’t be motivated by competition or boastfulness but rather be a record of happiness. When I separated from my husband some time ago, I was met with quite differing comments. Some said that looking at my family pics on Facebook they thought we were Brady Bunch style happy. Others said they thought I was posting pics in an effort to make myself and others feel like all was well when in fact everything was crumbling. Neither was in my head. I was merely sharing pics in the way humans like to share. Much has been recorded about how sharing photos on social media makes you feel like a clever dick because it triggers the reward part of your brain. I like looking at others’ pics too, just like most of us.
The other thing which grates me slightly is that happiness is not a series of fleeting moments to be noticed, noted and recorded. In any one day you’ll experience a whole range of emotions, sometimes on top of each other. I can feel happy about having a glass of wine in the sunshine with a dollop of guilt on top knowing I should be working/changing the four week old sheets on my bed/building sandcastles with the children. Or getting irritated with the smug condescending tone of the IRD representative with an overlay of glee that every minute I’m in here is a minute closer to being three months away from my next conversation with them.
I’m aware I sound like a grumpy old cow, leeching the enjoyment from a worthwhile cause many are enjoying, so I’ll stop now. #100SnappyDays.