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Day Five

September 16, 2009

Now I’m sick but not so sick that I can in good conscience call in sick to work and I was impatient and rude to my boss and I had a major “HELP ME, JEEBUS” moment publicly on Facebook, which led to a string of “Are you okay?” e-mails and messages from semi-strangers and a phone call from my mother.

Which would make today a no.

I’ve been wondering lately if all the “yes”es we ever have in life are only in hindsight. That rose-colored 20/20 glasses thing, or whatever. I was thinking back to a time in my life in which I regularly said “I love my life,” usually while laughing hysterically, and I wondered how many of those days I would’ve answered “yes” if I’d been doing this experiment then. I should’ve answered “yes” to all of them. I was in college, and I was, for the most part, carefree. I had no major financial responsibilities, I drifted from relationship to relationship, I loved my classes and my professors and my friends and my living situations, even when I was crammed in a 300-square-foot duplex with two other women. I really did love my life.

But I’m not sure if I would’ve answered “yes” each day. I was stressed out beyond belief by my classes even though I loved them, and drifting from relationship to relationship damaged my reputation at my tiny Christian college, where a girl could earn “slut” status by simply dating more than one guy in her four-year tenure there. Or by kissing another girl’s boyfriend during an alcohol-soaked spring break in Panama City Beach, but I digress…

Anyway, the point is, maybe this whole experiment is flawed. Maybe the nitty gritty of daily life results in a whole bunch of “no”s, but in retrospect when looking at the big picture at some point in the future, I’ll say, “Man. I really had it made then.”

Or maybe I’m just given to nostalgia more than most. Which I fully blame on how goddamn forgetful I can be sometimes. Somehow, the bad always floats away and the good always stays.

What do you think?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2009 3:03 am

    This is tough, because how do you know what you want until you really sit down and evaluate what you have? But I think loving your life is more of an overall than a nitty gritty. Of course you are going to say no on days when you are moving, hating your job, sick, etc. For example- my husband and I just moved to Europe…awesome, right? And something I’ve wanted to do for forever. But in these early days, the moving, the tough language barrier, the culture shock; I’ve certainly had more nos than yeses. I don’t doubt though, that when I look back on this time, it’s going to be one big yes.

    Curious- what is it that you picture, when you picture yourself happy and in love with your life?

  2. September 18, 2009 8:07 am

    i think that it takes a great deal of faith and hope to see the positive amid the everyday crap that surrounds us. i think it’s a choice that we have to make every single moment of every single day. sometimes we’re better at it than others. if we’re making the attempt to do that, we’ll eventually see the beauty of every life.

  3. keepthechange2 permalink
    September 18, 2009 11:52 am

    I know what you are saying since I am an avid fan of nostalgia as well (as you may know).

    But, you KNOW when you are happy. There are times when you aren’t so sure…you’re on the fence, but Happiness? You know.

  4. September 18, 2009 2:52 pm

    I believe that happiness, like love, is a choice. After college I moved to Africa (life-long dream I had) and did non-profit work. It was the most difficult 2 years of my life, living in a war-torn third world country, a million miles from everyone I loved. And despite the difficulties, culture shock and filth, the sickness and disease I was surrounded by I was so incredibly joyful to be there. Even in the moments the nitty gritty crap threatened to overwhelm me I knew I would not trade my life or those moments for anything in the world.

    Like the above commenter…I think it boils down to realizing what you want your life to look like and going from there. There will always be the nitty gritty crap in life, but that should not rob your joy.

  5. September 18, 2009 4:51 pm

    I’ve actually been thinking about nostalgia a lot lately. Everyday I think back to my 2 years living alone after college and reminisce about how awesome it was and how I loved my life- coming home after work and relaxing on the couch with my dog and watching the food network. Or hanging out with Latin teacher friends every weekend. Or eating cheerios for dinner because I could and no one could tell me otherwise.

    But I force myself to remember that I did cry a lot during those 2 years- being in a long distance relationship where he was in DC and I was in, you know, Texas. ALL of my best friends moved out of the city I was in and were living in places like, say, Paris, France. I was lonely and sad. But when I remember those days now, I think about what a great life I had.

    And I know my life isn’t bad now. But I think about how tired I am a lot. Or how my husband- previous long distance boyfriend- and I are so busy and do not have the same schedule. Or how I am so tired that I just don’t have the energy to have the sexes and OMG am I bad wife?!?! And OMG I LOATHE the way people drive here, and back in my old city people were much better drivers, etc. etc.

    I also know that some time in the future I am going to look back on these days and think they were some of the best in my life. I guess that is just how I am- I love looking at the past and romanticizing it, however unknowingly so. My degree is in history, after all.

    All that to say- yes, it is quite possible that many of us put on the rose-colored glasses in hindsight because it is so much more fun to remember the good things and not the bad.
    However, I like what one person said up there- when you’re happy, you just know. I may hate the drivers here and I may not like that I’m tired a lot, but I know that I am happy with my life however uncomfortable and unfamiliar it may be right now. But mostly, I believe happiness is a choice. People who are most happy CHOOSE to be happy, regardless of circumstance.

  6. September 19, 2009 8:13 pm

    I think life is made up of a million little things, a million little moments, and it’s the culmination of those things that makes it either a “yes” or a “no”. Are you going to have moments where of both yes and no? Of course. But at the end of the day, if it’s more “no” than “yes”, well you know the answer. Don’t stop the experiment, i think it’s helping you evaluate what you really want in life – even if you don’t yet have it.

  7. Ptolemy permalink
    September 22, 2009 10:49 am

    Thanks for the invite to the new experiment… What leapt to mind after reading this post was how I’ve been telling everyone that last weekend on vacation was “great, wonderful, a lot of fun…” and yet when it was happening, there was a lot of fussing with the kids, them complaining, being bored, whining, fussing, going ballistic, begging for stuff we had to say NO to, etc. BUT, there were moments… And it wasn’t raining. Will I remember the weekend as a long list of times I was impatient with the kids or will I remember it as a pretty good weekend? The latter, actually. Not sure how that helps, so, just saying.

  8. September 22, 2009 7:30 pm

    I do think it is very possible to have “yes” days, in the moment. I was depressed as a young adult, and had a rough patch at the beginning of my marriage, so I have definitely had spans of time with lots of “no” days. But I can say that now I truly have days where I actively pause with thankfulness about my life. I love my job. My husband brings me great joy. I’m able to enjoy a lot of really wonderful things. I’m saying this so you don’t give up and resign yourself to unhappiness.

    I would also agree with what another commenter wrote — you do have to choose to be happy. For me, this means things like noticing the small positives during my day and trying to stay active, etc. But, way more importantly, it means choosing to spend my time with people who are happy and making positive choices. This was hard for me to do, but I basically had to stop hanging out with friends who continue to choose to be unhappy. I’m there for people during rough times, but those friends who have been unhappy for years and have nothing to say but complaints about people and stuff in their life — I just can’t spend time with them and be happy myself.

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