"Have a good day!" It's a pretty common phrase, is it not? Something we often say to one another -- something we may call to say to our significant other on the way to work, or shout after our children once they’ve scrambled to gather their book bags and lunch pals in time to make the bus. It’s a nice sentiment, but sometimes the expectation to have a good day is simply too much. Some of us may be struggling with long term depression or battling a treacherous physical disease, grieving the loss of a loved one, or experiencing the heartbreak of a relationship coming to an end. For some of us, from the moment we open our eyes to the sun streaming in through our bedroom window, we are doused with an overwhelmingly heavy blanket of sadness, anger, confusion, or loneliness, leaving us with not even a moment of serenity to bathe in before settling over us. A full day of expectations awaits us, and the mere thought of having to fulfill those expectations is exhausting; having to fulfill them with a cloud of disdain raining down on us seems damn near impossible.
Yet, it seems as if when we are in a tough place, people tell us to stay positive— that things will get better as time goes on, but the thing is, time hasn’t gone on yet, and even if things will get better, they’re not better right now. It may take days, weeks, months, even years to be at peace with whatever is disrupting the soul at that point in time, and there is no telling how much time that may be. Sometimes positivity is simply too much to ask of someone who can barely manage to carry out the basic functions of their life. This is not to say that everyone in a tough place should go on and adopt an entirely new mindset based on negativity and cynicism, but perhaps we should stop expecting the blind hope of brighter days ahead to be enough to have a bright day today when the current weather is anything but sunny.
When we tell someone to have a good day, what does that even mean? What does a good day truly consist of? Is it the content within, or the way we feel? I believe the best days are the days we feel best, not the days where the best things happen. Most of the time there is a strong correlation between the events that happen in our day and the way we feel, but sometimes there is not. Some of the very best days I have experienced are days where nothing extraordinary happened— perhaps I went to school or work, maybe ran a couple errands or simply lounged on the couch watching reruns of Friends for approximately the nineteenth time. But when you are at a good place in your life, it is possible for the most ordinary of days to be wonderful. When you are at a poor place in your life, it is quite the contrary. How does one have a good day when they don’t feel even the slightest bit “good"?
I desperately wish I had the answer to that daunting question, and if I did I would write it freely on every available space I came across to share that knowledge because I am excruciatingly aware of what it is like to search for the answer and come up with nothing. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer. But to those of you who are in a tough place, I hope you accomplish the bare minimum of survival today because I know that even that can be draining, and if it is just too much to expect to have a good day, I hope you have a day.