If you were to ask me what I don’t like about my current apartment, I’d have a whole list of things to share.
The almost-white, too-yellow walls.
The crooked, unfortunate chandelier hanging off-center in the dining nook.
The kitchen cabinets, which are hung about six inches too high for a normal person.
The dishwasher that hasn’t worked for almost two months.
The disposal we can’t actually put food down.
The carpets. Uggh, the carpets: far too beige, dirt-collecting, and covering up some seriously beautiful hardwood floors. (If you love carpeting, I apologize. Love on. They’re just really not my thing.)
Here’s the thing, though: my apartment is actually really nice. It’s a cute little garden apartment with windows on two sides. (If you rent, you know how awesome this is.) It gets such good morning sunshine that you don’t have to turn on any lights until afternoon on most days. It has a bajillion closets and a nice layout with far more space than a one-bedroom usually does, and it’s in a super-cute area that always makes me want to say things like, “I’m heading into the village to drop off the mail.”
But I almost never talk about those things. I talk about the stuff I don’t like. Because I’m a complainer.
Complaining has become almost as trendy as minimalism (a whole other conflicted post on that subject later). You compare your life to the awesome life that everyone else is clearly living, and you complain about it. Sometimes I get the urge to blame the internet for that, because digital natives blame the internet for everything.
(I’m actually not quite sure whether or not I count as a digital native. My first Facebook account was opened when you still needed a college email, but I also spent a good portion of my middle and high school years helping my father find computer files that he had saved in unknown places.)
But I don’t think the internet is entirely to blame. After all, we all know that an Instagram photo doesn’t tell the whole story. We all laughed at Socality Barbie. And, let’s be honest, I love looking at pretty photos online, whether they were snapped candidly or staged to get the best light. A pretty photo is a pretty photo, after all.
I think the problem is my attitude. Hello, my name is Katharine, and I’m a complainer. I’d like to be living a beautiful, Instagram-worthy life. But in reality, I leave my laundry in the washing machine for hours at a time, my apartment floor has carpets, and I complain about it.
So this year, I’m starting a little accountability in the form of an Instagram feed and a hashtag: #myyearofjoy. One photo a day, sharing the pretty and the bad side by side, the mundane moments that can still be beautiful even if they’re not perfect. (Moments like becoming obsessed with the coloring book I got for Christmas. Because apparent relaxation is kind of addictive.)
This year, I’m looking for the reasons to find joy in each day instead of complaining.
(And maybe I’ll also get a little better at taking pretty photos, too.)