This column first appeared in the Lancashire Evening Post.
It is Tuesday and I am finding happiness.
I have watched a video and apparently happiness can be found somewhere between the linin basket and the boxes under the bed. Or, sometimes, in the cutlery draw.
I am decluttering. And by throwing things away, I will have more space in the cutlery cupboard to store some happiness. Maybe. I think. Something like that, anyway.
I know what you’re thinking: ‘But, Darryl, happiness is within you’.
I used to believe that. But you are wrong, you idiot. Happiness is what happens when you follow a cleaning tutorial on YouTube.
It is Wednesday and I don’t feel that much happier.
I feel happy enough. I just whistled along to the tune of the ice cream van and I smiled to myself as I watched the neighbour’s children dash down the street to catch it before it drove away. I’m rather looking forward to watching the last episode of that true crime series tonight. And I threw the rubbish in the outside bin with quite the flourish for a Wednesday morning.
But I would say I am… content. The YouTube video didn’t say I would be content. It promised me ‘Earth shattering results’ and that it would ‘change my life and help you change the world’.
The Earth, at the time of writing, remains un-shattered. And I’m not sure whistling to the ice cream van is going to solve the climate crisis, but I suppose we have to start somewhere.
Maybe I did it wrong? Or maybe I need to do something else to top it up? I’m at the ‘content’ stage of finding happiness and I need to push it over the edge with a bit of something else.
I open YouTube.
Stage Two: Digital Clean Up.
There is a stage two. There is a digital clean up. What an idiot. Of course, you can’t just throw out a few knives and forks and expect Earth shattering happiness. You have to delete a few apps and manage your emails. You have to… disconnect.
I follow studiously as the video tells me which apps to delete. Twitter. Facebook. Obviously. The weather app. OK, well, I suppose I could just look out the window. WhatsApp. YouTube. TikTok. BBC News. CNN.
I do feel an odd sense of… relief. People can’t get hold of me, I don’t know what’s happening in the news and taking an umbrella out later provides a thrilling gamble. You know, there may be something in this.
It is Thursday afternoon and I don’t feel very happy.
I am, if anything, disgruntled. I threw away the electric coffee maker – digital and clutter – and I’m not much without my morning shot of caffeine.
‘Where is the cutlery?’ asks Michaela.
‘Pah,’ I scoff, ‘it’s been sacrificed for happiness.’
‘OK. That’s nice,’ she sighs, ‘but I need to be able to eat lunch.’
Right. Yes. Lunch.
‘I think you’re supposed to eat it with your hands,’ I say, unconvincingly.
‘Happiness and a clump of bacteria…’ she mutters as she shuffles back to the kitchen.
It is a fair point. I’m not entirely sure what you’re supposed to eat with. Maybe you’re so happy you don’t need to eat? Food becomes surplus to requirements. I’ll watch the video and double che… no… wait… I have deleted the YouTube app. I guess it’s on me now. I’m on my own from here.
I reinstall my apps and scoop the cutlery and the coffee maker out the shed. I am connected and a little cluttered. And I am, as it happens, quite happy with that.August 31, 2021 | No Comments