Marla, my doppelganger since childhood, happiest person in the world, and overall one of my favorite people ever answered on the first ring.
“Hi Sunshine,” I shot back.
“Happy Wednesday!” If Marla’s life were a book, I picture the editor being very concerned over the high volume of exclamation marks. “I am so happy it’s Wednesday!”
“Oh really? Why’s that?”
“Because that means tomorrow’s THURSDAY, which is one day closer to FRIDAY.”
And there you have it, ladies and gents, your introduction to the happiest girl in the world.
Having bad days is a CHOICE. You have a CHOICE to be happy.
For as long as I can remember, Marla’s been smiling. One time, when I was in the sixth grade and she was in fourth, we ran a race where we both threw up. I threw up because, at the time, it was the fastest race of my life. Marla threw up because she ate half a watermelon ten minutes before the gun.
I swear, homegirl can still smile while throwing up watermelon. I watched it happen.
For a girl two years younger than me, who I always viewed as a little sister, there are so many ways I look up to her. In the past year, I’ve gotten a lot better at listening to people wiser and smarter than I am. When it comes to the classroom of How to Be Happy 101, Sunshine has her Phd.
“Sunshine,” I asked, “Do you ever have a bad day?”
“No,” she said, “I really can’t even think of a time I had a bad day.”
Before you get upset, ask yourself if it will matter in five years.
I’m sure that if you don’t know Marla personally, you are picturing this blonde, bubbly, annoying girl who pretends her life is perfect when really she’s just trying to compensate for her daddy issues. That is NOT who she is. She is just a genuinely happy person who has never recognized the need to be upset, and she is a fucking joy to have around.
“But I’ve seen you have bad races!” I argued, “I’ve seen you go through breakups!” Ten years later, I still want to punch those sixteen-year-old pricks in the face. God help them.
“Yea, you’re right. I guess I’ve just gotten wiser. And also, whenever any of that stuff happens, I just ask myself, Will this really matter in five years???”
Of all the shocking things that happens to you in this lifetime, the craziest thing is how little any of it matters.
I thought back to all the times I’ve cried—literally cried—over being so stressed out at work, and I can’t even remember the project I was working on. I can remember all the times I cried—again, cried—in bed over guys I haven’t spoken to in the past half-decade. Scratch that, the past full decade.
In the past five years, a lot of crazy things happened to me. I’ve been fired, fired again, dated an asshole, moved to four different states, and my dad had cancer. I racked up thousands of dollars worth of parking tickets, broken a foot, had a nail go straight through my foot, and had my car towed twice in one week.
And that’s not including a whole slew of stories that even I, as open as I am with my life, prefer not to write online.
Combine all those crazy, shitty times in the past five years, and the only shocking thing is how none of it matters today. Except my dad (cancer-free two years strong!).
Bad days don’t stand the test of time. Good days do.
Of all the things that have and will happen to you in this lifetime, the only shocking thing is how little it will matter in five years. There will be so many days when you think, at the time, is the worst day of your life.
But guess what? One day, something shittier will happen to you, and that will be the worst day of your life. Isn’t that awesome? Then the previous shitty day won’t matter anymore! This cycle will continue for the rest of your life, and all you’ll be left with is ONE shitty, horrible day, and then a huge stockpile of days where you can’t remember why you were so upset.
It is truly incredible how few things last over five years. When I think of all the things I acquired five years ago—an awesome group of friends, my love of DC, my resolution to not go a single day without working out—they’re all good things. Not one thing bad thing lasted.
The next time you get stressed, overwhelmed, sad—ask yourself if it will matter in five years. Hell, ask yourself if it will matter in five days. It is a very, very freeing feeling.