An old friend recently caught me off guard with this message:
“Judging from your Facebook posts, you've never had a bad day in your life."
I replied with a laugh, “Oh, really?”
He answered by describing his frustration that sometimes his friends use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to run what he calls an “unrealistic highlight reel” of their lives. Every day is good news, kids who win shiny trophies, gummy bear sculptures and stunning photos of meals that could’ve been prepared by Emeril Lagasse.
Maybe he’s right, I thought, and I promised that the next time I had a difficult day, I’d share it and add a dose of reality to my social media presence.
Well, my rotten day just arrived, but it didn’t come alone.
It brought friends.
My downer day became a week.
One promising writing project was delayed — again — and another was cancelled all together without a whiff of warning. The latter was one of the most exciting of my career and involved a giant on the Fortune 50 list, a Fortune 100 player and a little fish in the top 250.
I’ve had vehicle trouble — twice — that left me on the side of a mountain road and, the next day, an interstate. My beloved truck’s next stop is probably on Craigslist for $50 and a bag of Fritos.
There were serious computer issues, a lost credit card, a diamond jumping from my wedding band, broken glass on the watch my wife gave me for Christmas, a hateful email from a reader, and the list goes on.
Oddly, as I started to post the woes, I kept getting stuck on two words that were in my head, but not on the list: “So what?”
I had a tough week.
Everyone has trials.
All we can do is forget the last minute, the last hour or the last week and prepare for the next. What's the point in stripping apart a difficult day to study the broken parts? I'd rather just build tomorrow.
To my pal who thinks all my days are perfection, think again. Just because I don't dwell on them doesn't mean I don't get punched in the mouth like everyone else.
Bad days are inevitable — complaining is not.
I’ve had my share of challenging days, weeks and even years.
He does, too.
And, so do you.
Wouldn’t you rather give fuel to the good days and starve the bad? If we do, we just might grow more good days to share.
Maybe he’s right. Maybe some of us use the Internet to paint unrealistic pictures of our lives. We gloss over the disappointing report cards, the burned bread, the job we didn’t get and the bug we did.
You know what?
That’s just fine.
Our friends, both digital and in the flesh, should never doubt that we’re always here to listen. But they should also understand that we’re much less interested in the pitch they missed than how they plan to send the next one over the fence.
Yes, misery loves company. But so do optimism, hope and humor. And if you think negativity is contagious, try love. It’s downright infectious.
I sure hope my buddy forgives me if I continue to share the positives in my life like faith, family fun and publishing projects. And I hope he knows just how many people are waiting to cheer his good days, too.
I suppose, if pressed into a negotiation, I could scale back on the Facebook photos of food truck tacos. But the gummy bears are here to stay.
A guy has to draw a line.
Jason Wright is a New York Times best-selling author of 10 books, including "Christmas Jars" and "The Wednesday Letters." Learn more at jasonfwright.com, or connect on Facebook at facebook.com/jfwbooks or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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