We tend to do this every day. We act happy when things are bothering us to keep our lives private, we go to jobs because we need the paycheck and the boss wants to see us putting on a happy face, we clothe ourselves in high fashion to look great even if the heels pinch a bit, and we look over our shoulders when we do give in to wild and impetuous desires.
When is the last time you rode a children’s ride in front of a shopping mall (rare but still there occasionally) or climbed into the bouncy house at a child’s birthday party? Have you played dress up and actually gone out in public with the same flair and pride as a four-year-old would? What did you order the last time you went out for a business dinner, the burger and greasy fries dripping in ketchup you really wanted, or the safe broiled sole and asparagus tips that seemed to meet with your host’s approval?
When is the last time you were really YOU?
Like Samantha in A Chaunce of Riches, are you leading a life others expect of you or are you living your dream? As I write this I am sitting in my robe and jammies in the mid-afternoon and doing a job I genuinely love, writing – very, very close to my dream. But I do admit, if someone came knocking at my door right now I would probably be embarrassed to be caught in my attire because it might not meet their expectations.
According to an online reference dictionary, “keep up appearances, to maintain a public impression of decorum, prosperity, etc., despite reverses, unfavorable conditions, etc.”. We live a life of pretend.
I wouldn’t ask any one of you to publicly admit the ways you pretend to give others an impression that makes you feel more accepted, just as I would never divulge all of my secrets either. But think about it, do the sacrifices you make in order to “keep up appearances” really make you happy?
Maybe it’s time to start jumping in puddles, build a snowman (If you live in the northeast there is PLENTY of snow), eat a fun food, or just stay in our robes until mid-afternoon. Keeping up with our happiness may just be more important than keeping up with appearances.
I’d love to hear what you think.