Workplace greetings typically fall in to one of a few tried and true categories. Some say ‘hi,’ other’s ‘hey.’ The more formal offer a ‘hello.’ For the naturally sullen or caffeine-delayed, it may be an inaudible grunt. Many give a pleasant ‘good morning’ with a smile. And from the impossibly cheerful, you may receive any combination of these followed by full blown conversation.
But a certain coworker’s greeting is distinct: “happy day.” Morning or afternoon. First encounter of the day or fifth. Always, “happy day.”
At first I thought this unique phrase was the result of his Central American upbringing. Perhaps “happy day” was Spanglish for “have a nice day.” However, my translation made little sense when I realized that sometimes he says “happy day” as a greeting, has a short conversation, and then says “happy day” again in closing.
After a couple of years sensing the general spirit of his words without knowing their literal meaning, I have decided to interpret my coworker’s catch phrase precisely as it is stated: happy day.
I think ‘happy day’ is first and foremost a declaration. Today is a happy day. We are alive, loved by some, tolerated by many, doing the mundane or the exciting – thus, living. A happy day indeed.
I also believe ‘happy day’ is a statement of intent. It is a public announcement of a personal decision to be happy regardless of how the day unfolds. We tell people to have a good day with the understanding that they do not have total control of that outcome. Evil may tap them on the shoulder; foolishness may repeat their name with the same crass, annoying tone as that chick in that one Madea movie. They may come face to face with misfortune as they round life’s next corner. Yet, no matter what the day holds, they can still choose to be happy. Sure, life throws us curve balls and even has the nerve to send fastballs crashing into our chests from time to time. However, for the most part, on most days, we can choose to be happy.
I wonder how much richer our lives would be if we started each day not with the intention to be great, or the desire for awesome things to happen to us, but simply choosing a happy disposition. What if we rose each morning with plans to fix those things that prevent us from achieving happiness, to banish those thoughts that threaten our joy? Imagine if we declared to ourselves and the world that this day, regardless of yesterday, and not investing too much hope in tomorrow, we will be cheerful. Today we will be happy.
Finally, I believe my coworker’s ‘happy day’ is a wish. That others might view the day as he does: as an opportunity, a gift to be unwrapped with excitement. An infectious hope that those who cross his path are welcome to catch if they refuse to allow life’s hardships and heartbreaks to make them immune.
Today I’m simply spreading that hope, publicly declaring to readers that today is happy, and announcing to the universe my intent to remain happy in spite of it all. Won’t you join me?
SheryLeigh is a woman who loves God, words, and people. She is currently living and loving as an author, blogger, poet, and spoken word artist in the Washington, D.C., area.
A communicator by education and trade, SheryLeigh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Howard University and a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University.