I’M IN THE THRALLS OF DANTE’S EIGHTH CIRCLE OF HELL. I am surrounded by corrupt politicians and cheating sorcerers, being burned by tar and perpetually split in two by a large sword. My bedfellows are thieves above, and Judas below. Where am I? I AM IN LAW SCHOOL FINALS: a continuing barrage of mind numbing writing and memorizing that will make you hate books, the world, and soy lattes all at once. I apologize, readers, for my sparse online presence, but I am unfortunately suffering from an extremely self-serving series of symptoms that generally only involve myself, a laptop, and palette of cold pizza.
Amidst my self-inflicted weeks of torture, just about a week ago, I discovered a new hashtag on Instagram: #100happydays. There are over eight million Instagram posts under this aggressively cheery hashtag, all designed for one purpose: to make you feel bad about yourself. Literally hundreds of thousands of sepia filtered bed selfies, close up shots of what seem to be orchids but mysteriously look like lady parts, and a “Be Calm and Eat Paleo” meme are just a few for the cyber gems you can check out if you click on the hashtag.
The designer of 100 happy days roots its meaning in positive reinforcement psychology to help “live in the moment” and see the positive in everyday situations. Critics say that the challenge is too long and we humans can’t keep our focus for 100 whole days (and since I am clearly procrastinating studying I would tend to agree with said critics) but let’s step back and really THINK about living in the moment.
Does living in the moment mean taking a picture of your omelette? I hope not. I kind of hope living in the moment is like… taking a spontaneous nap. Or going on a run when you’re wine hungover (talk about a risk.) Or hanging out with someone new. And not posting a picture of yourself while doing it.
Another goal of the designer of this program? For people to receive more compliments. If you want more compliments, stop being so happy. It’s annoying. You’ll only get a double click outta me on Instagram if I see some SERIOUS happiness, like a beach engagement or something. Or a puppy. Puppies always work.
I propose, readers, a new challenge (and in my opinion, a more realistic challenge.) The human condition is not to be happy for 100 days, or 100 hours, or 100 minutes. It’s a series of ups and downs and loop-arounds that makes the human condition so fucking great. We aren’t koalas. Koalas could have 100 happy days! All they do is fuck and eat bamboo and look damn adorable. And OMG they would post the cutest selfies.
So here’s my plan… a new hashtag. A better hashtag. We are going to take back a word that has been twisted, tortured, burned, and stripped of all positive meaning. NORMAL. A subjective word that means just that: what works for you. What works for you is normal. Ups and downs are normal.
#100normaldays means you don’t have to post pictures of your homemade smoothie or your new manicure. You want to post that? Go ahead. But I also want to see normal stuff. Like the bison sliders you burned on your foreman grill (the most idiot proof kitchen appliance around.) Or post a selfie that isn’t perfect. Maybe your left eye looks kind of wonky, or your lady mustache catches the light ever so faintly. POST IT. Post real stuff. Not just for more compliments, or see the happiness in little perfect things. But to see reality in EVERYTHING. Do it not for affirmation, or for more fucking likes. Do it for yourself.
I’ll be starting my #100normaldays today @beerook, my Instagram handle. Follow me as I post things that make me happy, sad, weird, drunk, sleepy, and/or giddy. And join me in not being fake happy for 100 straight days. It’ll be fun… I promise.
P.S. While we are at it, can we stop the hashtag #eatclean too? Because if not, I’m just going to start an account that posts a picture of stadium nachos every day with the hashtag #eatclean. Stop being so fit, and have a pizza. A whole pizza. Trust me. You won’t regret it.