On thinking happy thoughts
August 11, 2014, 12:40 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The world seems too heavy lately. 

I keep seeing “positive challenges” on Facebook and “100 days of happy” campaigns on Instagram.

I know I am not alone in this. I know I am not the only person out there that has to consciously notice the things in her life that make her happy.


And I know I am not the only person aware that this is a false sense of happiness. Thinking  you should be happy in a moment is not the same as organically being happy. 

As a society, I think we are blurring this line too much. 

Last month, we took a family vacation to Maine. It was glorious and beautiful but I still found myself pulling out my phone to take pictures of things that I should have been singularly impressed with, but instead required validation from the internet to confirm my satisfaction. 

We all know we use our phones too much, though. This isn’t a new thing. We just all ignore it. 

But guys, we are all just so unhappy. It’s not even about the phones in our hand–I think we’ve all forgotten that we are present

This isn’t the Matrix. This is real life. You can touch the things around you and breath the fresh air and swim in the cool waters of it. 

I’ve been so unhappy recently. And by recently I mean the last few years, but let’s not get into the mathematics of things. I’ve been short of patience for everything around me, all the people, all the things, time itself. I loathe what I have let myself become–which is a spiteful regretful person and you see, don’t you see, how that is a viscous cycle in which I just sit on my couch, waiting for things to change and hating that nothing has changed? 

Everyday, every Monday, every first day of every month, I tell myself that I am going to take steps to be happy. I want a simpler life. I want a life full of travel and adventure. I want to get back into school if only for the basic purpose of learning something again. I want to be Belle. But I cannot seem to jump start myself. I have all of the bridge pieces lined up before me, but I cannot take the first step off of the cliff. 

I think that I am so terrified that I am not even aware of it. It is all-consuming and has adapted into my life so seamlessly that it is just how I live. Like The Silence from Doctor Who. 


My husband has told me to take smaller steps; to ease into the happiness. To trick myself into being happy. 

Today, I sat down on the couch and watched Hook with my 3 year old daughter. I watched the movie and I watched her watching the movie. 

Do you ever do that? Just watch your child? I do it a lot and I caught myself doing it today and thought, “I am not a secondary character. I need to reengage.” 

I moved closer to her. I asked her questions about the movie. I held her hand.

But, most importantly, I watched the movie. 

I think what has  happened with my life is that I have allowed myself to no longer be the main character in my story. 

I need to stop needing validation. 

I need to stop viewing things through devices that are not my eyeballs. 

I need to stop reminding myself to be happy. 


I need to reengage, and you probably do, too. 


1 Comment so far
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We are surrounded by commands to be happy. People buy stones inscribed with “dream” or “hope,” chocolate wrappers tell us “feel inspired today.” These imperatives just make me grumpy. If I’m quiet, solitary, lazy, irritated, inanimate objects are not going to inspire joy. Only I can do that. And only if I feel like it. (and my meds are working…)

Comment by Barbara Holler Smith

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