My friend, Tina, tells me that her manager, B, never has an off-day.
He says he has never experienced a bad day. Everyday is not just good; it’s wonderful and bright.
At this point, Cynical Me takes over. I start to imagine a certain someone and his non-stop happiness and boundless optimism.
Yeesh! How can you experience every single day being a great day? Is that even possible? How do you know you’re alive if you don’t feel a range of emotions? Sadness, pain, sorrow, disappointment, boredom? It’s what makes us human.
Surely, the feeling waxes and wanes? How do you appreciate that one great day if every one is great?
I’ve met B. I refuse to believe what he says. I’ve seen him when systems being implemented aren’t going as planned. That looks like a “bad day” face to me.
At work, usually when someone asks me “how are you?” my usual response is “fine, thanks.”
Their response is always, “just fine?”
“Well, yes,” I say. “What else?”
“You’re not having a great day?” they sympathetically ask.
“Um, I’m at work and I’m just fine. Not overly happy and not at all sad. Just fine.”
Maybe it’s a cultural thing? I asked a friend of mine about this. He’s at a loss too. But then, he’s a touch more cynical than I am…
I’m not a sad person. I’m not even grouchy. But I find certain behaviors a bit unrealistic. And too many questions with superlatives are banded about.
Take a question like, “was giving birth to your firstborn the happiest day of your life?” No! I was in agony and scared out of my mind. After 13 hours of labor, “happiest day” doesn’t naturally spring to mind. I don’t hate my children and I’m quite happy to have had them. I love them dearly. Happiest day? Really? So does every other day in my life pale in comparison to that day?
Maybe I find happiness in little things and not the traditional monumental events. Like the first time my daughter, who has a few neurological challenges, spoke in a full sentence for the first time at around age 5. That, to me, was a great day. I can appreciate it and savor it. How can I then compare the feeling of buoyancy I had on that day to a day where nothing in particular happened? On that day, I felt really great and I was so proud of her. Today? Meh….nothing’s happening.
I don’t want to be “on” all the time either. What pressure it must be to always have to keep a public face on!
So believe me when I say I’m “just fine.” Comme-ci, comme-ça.
Besides, even Spongebob has an off-day every now and then.