We Need to Cut Back On All the “Be Happy” B.S.

We’re one week into 2020 and I’m already at full rant, like Defcon 1 rant.

I tried to tamp this rant down, but it just made it worse like when you squeeze yourself into shape wear in an attempt to tame your stomach bulge and all the mighty Lycra does it take your flab and relocate it as back fat or, my personal favorite, reimagines it as a “companion boob.”

This is when the shape wear pushes your love handles up to create a smoother stomach region but, in the process, a secondary lower chest area is constructed. Basically, not a look anyone is going for – ever.

My rant, like my abs or lack thereof, could not be vanquished. As much as I tried to suppress and compress it the rant tenaciously had a hold on me. The only solution is, I think, to let it out. So, here goes and I’m beginning with this prelude rant.

Can we stop with all the rebranding of New Year’s slogans? Remember the “Do something you’re afraid of” catch phrase from five years ago? This one gave birth to books, planner and calendars all urging us to do something we’re afraid of everyday and then journal obsessively about it

For 2020 this has been refreshed as “Be brave enough to suck at something.”

Who are the people writing this stuff and what kind of life (and level of hubris) do they have where they aren’t concurrently sucking and being afraid of what they’re doing on an hourly basis?

For instance, as a mother to teenagers I was “brave enough to suck” at parenting every, single, day. It wasn’t a lifestyle choice either. It was survival.

I sucked at the big stuff and little stuff like being the mom that let my kids wear shorts to school when it was 15 degrees out. Why? Because I picked my battles and if they wanted to experience the harsh reality of chapped thighs so be it.

My main rant is all the new decade happiness hoopla from “how to be happy every day” to “eternal happiness.” This is total nonsense and 100 percent unattainable and unsustainable.

You can’t be happy all the time. There are times in your life when you will be unhappy, very unhappy. As a human you have to learn to sit with disappointment and sadness, even wallow in it and then come out the other side. (Note – I’m talking about general happiness. I’m in no way addressing the mental health issue of depression.)

Being unhappy isn’t a character defect it’s a feeling we all have and have to learn to manage. I can’t begin to imagine the pressure someone is putting on themselves (and everyone else around them) by thinking they have to or deserve to be happy every day. It’s not going to happen and that’s okay.

Starting last week my social media feeds became resplendent with posts about “Ichigo Ichie” which is described as a “Japanese practice of finding happiness.” One of the tenets that everyone is commenting on is “making every day a special occasion or celebration.”

Can I just say noooooo! This is a recipe for unhappiness. Again, think of the pressure this puts on you especially if you’re a parent to become your kids master of ceremonies of super duper daily happiness.

It’s essentially a call to action for every mom to redouble her efforts to make sure her children’s every waking moments are magical and Insta worthy.

In my parenting tenure I’ve seen school lunches go from here’s a turkey sandwich in a Glad Ziploc bag to Bento box lunches that are works of art. Cinderella’s castle made out of imported cheese and organic tofu anyone?

Birthday parties have morphed from a Costco sheet cake and a bounce house in the back yard to limousine rides to a salon for mini makeovers because when you hit eight years old you need a facial – stat.

Wouldn’t a better new decade mantra be everyday isn’t going to be special so except it and move on? Why aren’t we espousing the value of the building block of happiness – resilience? Because I don’t think you can achieve or sustain happiness without that.