I first noticed this crazy concept a few years ago when my family had been going through some fairly public hard times. Aside from the rocky patch we were in, my offspring and I had been working on our Explore All 50 States Dream for a couple of years.
At one point, we had put together this Pacific Northwest Adventure~ it would take us through Big Foot territory to the Redwoods, to see friends on the Northern California coast, up the entire coast of Oregon, along the Lewis and Clark route, and to visit friends, family and cheesy tourist traps in Seattle and Portland.
We didn't have a lot of time or a huge budget, but with some crazy planning skills and flexibility, we had an amazing 9 day adventure with pouring rain, washed out roads, cheese and ice cream galore and sites that were both historical and hysterical. We slept in tents, in yurts and on couches, and ate out of an ice chest. We saw people we rarely get to, laughed until our bellies ached, got a break from our troubles, continued working toward a big dream, and all around had a wonderful time.
Then, we got home and I posted the pictures on Facebook. Oops.
But, that's what most people do when they have happy things to share, right? Thankfully, most people were happy to see us smiling and having fun, but there were a few (there always are) who felt we should not be enjoying ourselves quite so much. At least not publicly under the circumstances. (.........)
"Hmmmm. It seems like you guys are awfully happy considering "Fill in the Blank With Unpleasant Life Events."
Um...Ok....Seriously? WTH? We're too happy? That's a bad thing?
Perhaps I should have captured pictures of sibling bickering, exhausted maternal meltdowns, wailing and gnashing of teeth and posted those instead? Would that have somehow been more appropriate? Or perhaps just silence~ when life is hard, don't speak?
What Friggen Ever. In the words of a Wise Friend's Equally Wise Husband, "Eff 'Em."
It stings a bit, but I have no intention of teaching my kids that they need to stay in misery. Yes, life is hard sometimes~ you get wounded and you need to rest, but I'd way rather look for what will heal me than just wallow and let things fester.
If escape from misery is possible, get the heck out of your sad place and go find some fun. Sometimes you have to work your arse off for happiness. Sometimes you just find it and other times you have to make it up, but either way, once you see joy, grab it and revel in it. That's what I want my kids to learn.
I find the whole thing rather sad, but not sad enough to stop having fun. I would say sorry to the offended, but really, I'm not.
It leads me to wonder though, how much happiness is too much to bare publicly? On occasion, I find that I end up censoring what I share, just because I don't want to feel judgmental stares.
I can see not wanting to burden people with all of your hardships, but should a person have to hide their happiness because someone else is bitter? Shouldn't we just be happy for each other when we get a break in life?
Realistically, I tend to share a bit of both my joys and my sorrows. In fact, I think I've shared a good deal of yuck lately, but if I'm going to consciously choose what to put my focus on, it's going to be the good stuff, plain and simple. Happiness rules, and I'm feeling super blessed at how much I have surrounding me.
In the midst of a funeral, and complicated personal ordeals, a broken toilet that drained our well and left us hauling water in buckets, doing dishes Ma Ingall's style and showering at the homes of friends for days, we still have each other, laughter and love, dreams in our hearts and adventures on the calendar.
Life is good, and for those who think it's inappropriate to enjoy it, well "Eff 'Em."
In semi related news, I also just finished the "21 Day Relationship Challenge" from Gretchen Rubin at "The Happiness Project." It's free and full of simple but powerful ways to connect with the peeps that you love and hopefully make life "Happier at Home." And that in the end is what it's all about.