On Being Chirpy
I used to work with this girl called Erin… well, I didn’t work with her. She worked in a different team on my floor, but had to walk past my team any time she went anywhere. Erin is Canadian, and the sort of chirpy that leads your typical Brit to suspicious sideways glances and comments like “what’s she taken?”
Every morning, Erin would come in and say “Good morning!” and most of the people in my team would look up and go “…the fuck is up with her?”
The worst part was that she wasn’t stupid. She was good at her job and clearly had a grasp on current affairs and the state of the world. You couldn’t write her chirpiness off as her being a bit daft and not understanding how awful everything was.
Erin eventually moved on to brighten other drab offices, but we stayed in touch via Facebook. She is always chirpy, always seems to be in a good mood. She never does those ridiculous cryptic updates designed to garner sympathy. With my self imposed social media ban, I find that I am missing this sort of influence in my life.
I’ve already written about my friend Pollyanna and his sunny outlook on life. It’s people like him, and like Erin, we should all look for in our lives.
|Something to brighten your day: S eating her first doughnut.
She doesn’t care how daft she looks; she’s just enjoying herself!
I wonder when we all got so cynical? When did we start thinking it was cool to be miserable, to always find the negative in things? How often do you ask someone how they are, and get “oooh, things are a bit crappy/stressed/my leg hurts/I’m skint/the world is ending/doomdoomdoom” as a response? Why are we like that? Are we really pre-programmed to always see the negative over the positive, or is it something we’ve learned?
If you ask Erin how she is, she’ll invariably say “I’m awesome, how are you?” If you ask Pollyanna, at the very worst he’ll say “I’m pretty good today.” Erin might be Canadian (and therefore programmed differently), but Pollyanna is English. So some English people can be chirpy without the help of booze or drugs.
I remember going drinking in bars when I was 16… standing at the bar to order a drink, an older boy told me: “don’t smile, you look young when you smile. You have to look serious all the time.” So I would stand there and look serious, and frown. Since I was filled with teenage angst at the time, I found that fairly easy to do! I think perhaps I just sort of got into that habit though, and didn’t really snap out of it until I had S. Having a child, especially a toddler who’s learning to speak and often points at pigeons and shouts “chicky!” one finds plenty of reasons to smile.
The other day I called a company about some work, and was faced with one of those automated “press 1 for the office, 2 for sales…” things. But the person doing the talking sounded like he’d just won the lottery. He sounded like the happiest person in the world, like recording a greeting for the phones was the most exciting thing in his day. It made me wonder why we don’t all answer the phone with a smile.
I’m determined to be as unerringly chirpy as Erin; I’m not Canadian, but I think I can just about pull it off.
I've never been one for being negative when you can find something positive to say or do. I seem to be the only one in my family like this and honestly believe it has made my life better. That's not to say I don't have my down days, but it's made my life so much more positive and influenced the decisions I've taken.