Mean anonymous eggs on Twitter. Fights with my boyfriend. Disappointing conversations on the phone with potential employers. Frustrating calls with family members. Tangles in hair. Gum on shoe. Pants too tight. Bugs.
All of these problems will NOT be a part of my 24 hours of PURE JOY I have planned out for myself. FUN STUFF ONLY!
Now how do you plan for 24 hours of fun? The first thought I had when the idea came to me was, This is going to be a very, very expensive day. I estimated somewhere around 9.5 million dollars for maximum fun. I might need a team of investors, but instead, I opted to give myself a budget: $100. That's it.
First, I had to think about what my average day entails. Wake up, write, pitch some ideas, write some more, check Twitter, lunch, workout, write, dinner, walk the dog — sounds like my life is pretty enjoyable already. How could I possibly make it more FUN though? Should I just start buying stuff? Is THAT fun? Should I start hooking up with random guys all over the city? Should I start mooning people? It that fun, too? What the hell is fun that I don't have in my life NOW?
Well, let's do this.
9:00 a.m.: SoulCycle class is $34, plus $4 for water and shoes (WTF!)
10:35 a.m.: Full body massage at a shady underground place since I only have $62 left.
OK, by noon, my money is gone and I'm content, but not really that happy. The conclusion I've come to, at least so far, is that it's not acquiring things or spending money or getting laid or even eating a chocolate fudge sundae (even though I'm going to try and fit that in at around 3 o'clock) that gives me pure joy. The greatest feeling I've ever found in my life is actually giving to others. So that's exactly what I'm going to do on this day.
It's going to feel awkward at first. I'm pretty shy with strangers. What if they don't want what I have to offer? What if they make fun of me or spit in my face? Well, the great thing about being a writer is that you can always blame what you're doing on "This is not for me, this is for my article!" It's truly the best way to get out of any uncomfortable situation.
So here I go, outside with a bag of brand-new stuffed Muppet dolls, ready to give kids on the street a thrill and scare their parents. Will this constitute as FUN STUFF? Will the parents even let the kids get within five feet of this strange woman with a Miss Piggy doll in her hands? I am ready regardless of the outcome.
Well, that actually went fine. Kids were excited by the stuffed animals. Parents were wary but some of them spoke to me about what the heck I was doing handing out crappy toys on the wealthy Upper East Side. These kids were used to Muppets encrusted in DIAMONDS.
OK, maybe I'll try a different way of giving. Anyone I interact with, I'll try to be as loving and giving in the situation as I possibly can be. That goes for personal interactions, phone calls, even emails that should probably be in spam.
Here are the rules I'm following:
- With every casual interaction, be the person who gives MORE. Example: when at the checkout in the grocery store, treat the cashier how you would hope someone would treat your brother or your sister if they had that job. Ask how their day is going, how long they've been working there, what their favorite item in the store is. If you really want to freak them out, tell them they remind you of some beautiful actor or actress. (Do not do this in a creepy way, obviously.)
- If you have a pet, specifically a dog, it is extremely easy to make people happy. When any child or older person (or even hot guy — wink) that checks out your dog, ask if they want to pet her/him. It's a great way to start a conversation with someone who looks lonely.
- Call someone on the phone that you think needs an ear. Maybe someone who is out of work, going through a divorce, is depressed. Maybe you are dreading communicating with this person, but believe me, you will feel great that you did. By improving someone else's experience you actually improve your own as well. Good ol' karma.
- Write a hand-written letter to someone. Don't you hate it when you go to your mailbox and all that's in there is bills and some newspaper that looks like it's from the '80s? Can you imagine if you opened it and instead there was a colorful letter with stickers inside? Wait, do I even have a mailbox?
And now that I've completed that mission, I can say, this was by far this was the most successful day I have had in probably five years. By being so grateful and warm to people, it magically transformed my experience with everyone into something I couldn't recognize.
I urge you to try to have 24 hours of pure joy, too. There may be something to this whole "giving" thing. (Or should I have just attended my first orgy and called it a day?)