There’s this picture frame that I hung up on my wall at work. It’s right by my computer screen, so I catch myself staring at it a lot. It’s simply three rectangular frames strung together by ribbon. It’s bright and cheery orange with polka dots and flowers and bright blue ribbon that loops at the top to hang by a thumb tack.
The top frame reads, “Feel good.” The middle, “Live well.” The bottom, “Be happy.” In my mind, I read it from top to bottom:
Step 1: Feel good.
I get really hung up on this one some days. In the frame is a photo of my family on our recent Southern Caribbean cruise. I felt okay on this trip, but I remember needing a vacation from the vacation. I remember getting so dehydrated from the scorching sun. I remember one night literally crashing onto the bed and slipping into a coma.
I wanted to keep up. But I just couldn’t. My body wouldn’t let me. But what really gets me is that “Feel good.” has to be Step 1. So, if I don’t feel good then can I not go on to Step 2: “Live well.” and Step 3: “Be happy.”?
I personally think the phrase “live well” is pretty awkward. How are you living? Well.
They’re all commands, too. You must feel good. Just do it. Why can’t you just say it and want it and think it, and then it will come true?
And if I can’t get past Step 1, then do I not get to live well—whatever that means—or be happy? All three frames are filled with images of friends and family. For whatever reason, I really like the frames. Maybe I like the idea of commanding my body to feel good. I like seeing my friends and family there to support me as I figure out what it means to live well.
And I like the idea that if I tell myself to feel good and live well, then I can definitely command myself to follow Step 3: “Be happy.”
I think I just like that the frame is simple and colorful. I bought it because it was aesthetically pleasing, but it suddenly means so much more—probably way more than the designer intended. Feel good. The first ticket to happiness.