There’s this positivity campaign on the internet called #100happydays, where, simply, people share photos of things that make them happy, for 100 days in a row. Sounds cute. Pictures may include radiant selfies, group selfies (groufies?), new shoes, a cinema ticket, a meal, a made-up inspirational quote against the sunrise or sunset, Jesus Christ, and so on.
As I’ve observed within my social media network, there are two kinds of people at either end of the #100happydays campaign- those who do it and those who think it’s a steaming pile of horseshit.
Honestly, #100happydays makes me sad. Is life really that shitty that a group of happy people had to invent a trend to force people into convincing themselves that they should be happy all the time? You shouldn’t mind me though, if you’re already on your 76th happy day and you come across this post. Carry on, you bright shining star. I guess there are just different kinds of people and different kinds of dispositions and different kinds of temperaments, and what someone sees as ridiculous may appear entirely different and even inspirational to another.
I see #100happydays as a ridiculous practice, though. I used to be a part of the I-can-be-totally-positive-if-I-want-to movement, as a matter of fact I reached Day 36 of The Purpose Driven Life before realizing I didn’t need it. I used to be really polite in dealing with assholes before, then I learned you can’t just be all happy when some people throw shit your way. You have to catch that projectile shit and throw it back with full might. You can always be positive and take the higher road, but it pays to carry a knife sometimes.
There are a number of things I don’t like about #100happydays. Foremost, if you really want to be happy, you should make it #365days, #12happymonths or #75happyyears, depending on your estimated life expectancy. If you’re hellbent on chasing after rainbow-farting unicorns all the time, don’t put a timeline on it. Seems hard, yeah? Because it really is.
Secondly, convincing yourself you’re happy even when you’re not is like believing in Santa Claus when you’ve already caught your parents sneaking out at night to shove sweets down your smelly socks. #100happydays is a form of escapism that detaches you from your real emotions and convinces you that things are going to be okay even when they clearly aren’t. It’s plunging deep into hyperreality where your consciousness can no longer distinguish what’s real and what just in your head.
Thirdly, because forcing yourself to be happy for 100 days straight is highly improbable, there’s a huge tendency to settle for mundane things and pass them off as eternal springs of happiness. It may seem postmodern, but it’s ultimately sad. If you had a shitty day at work, if your pet dog died or if you found out you best friend cheated with your boyfriend, taking a photo of your new pair of shoes and hashtagging them with #100happydays #blessed #thankful does not erase the fact that your life still sucks. Things won’t get better by taking photos of stuff, you have to recognize your real feelings before you turn things around.
Although happiness is a choice, it’s okay to choose being sad sometimes because being in touch with what you really feel makes you more human. Yielding to life’s occasional shit storms is not a sign of weakness, and recognizing the fact that some days just suck so hard doesn’t mean you’re a cynic. You’re a human, after all, not a happy robot that’s been programmed to be happy all the time.
Don’t get me wrong; there are happy days. But there are also sad days, and you will sometimes need to curse so hard and wail like a banshee, but it’s perfectly fine. When we are more in touch with our real emotions no matter how shitty they are, we are more equipped in dealing with real problems, something nice photos can’t just magic-wand.