Joy is Not Cancelled!

You made it an entire month. Can you believe that it has been four weeks since this all started? Keeping myself away from the refrigerator is an ongoing challenge, and I really wish the sun would just come out for good, but I’m honestly bewildered at how quickly time has passed. It has been surreal, to say the least, but I’m optimistic that these next few weeks will come and go just as quickly as the last, and soon we’ll be on the other side of this wondering, “Did that actually just happen or was it just a weird dream?”

Now I promise I won’t regale you with challenge stories every week, but it just seems very relevant right now. This week the theme of my 90 day challenge is joy. One of the assignments I had was to make a list of ten things that bring me joy. They could be any ten things in the world, and the only rule was that I had to be able to enjoy at least five of them right now. I wrote out my list rather quickly and realized that it was pretty simple. A lot of little things bring me joy, but sometimes I forget to see the magic in them because I’m moving too quickly or I’ve let them disappear into my routine. One item on my list, for example, is walking on the beach, and another item is my dog. Some days I truly do soak in all the joy as I stroll through the sand with Molly in tow (realistically, the other way around), but other days it feels like a chore to take the dog for a walk if I’m stressed or have a lot to do. Those are the days that I need to work on shifting my perspective from, “I have to take the dog out for a walk before work,” to, “I have 30 minutes to do one of my favorite things before I need to sit down and focus.” Taking that walk is a privilege, and some days I take it for granted. Yesterday was one of those days, and I realized it immediately. Matt offered to take her alone, but instead of agreeing like I typically would, I put on my sneakers and braved the cold. As I always do, I felt energized as we came back up the steps at the end of the walk, and it made me so happy to see the little pupper curl up for her nap so contently, knowing that she’d accomplished her daily goal of sniffing no fewer than 45 different seaweed piles.

The point is, it’s not always going to be easy, but if we look for joy we will always find it. Do something nice for yourself just because. You don’t always have to have a reason. Every week or two, I buy myself a tiny bouquet for $3.99 when I go to Trader Joe’s. I put the flowers in a little vase or stemless wine glass, and I let them live in the center of my kitchen table for a few weeks until it’s time to replace them. I’ve been doing that just for myself for a few years now, and I don’t do it for any other reason than it just makes me happy. Luckily, Trader Joe’s is still selling flowers right now even though the frozen foods section may be empty, so I can still get my blooms every week!

So, my friends, what brings you joy? Can you come up with your own list of ten or more things that truly make you happy? Write them down, and then make time for them. If one of your items is to enjoy a cup of coffee on the front porch, pick a day that it’s going to be sunny and have your dang coffee on the porch! Write it in your planner, on your Google calendar, on the white board where you typically write all your kids’ extracurriculars! If your kids are starting to suffer from cabin fever, ask them to write a list, too. If your daughter loves pedicures, make a date to do each others’ nails. If your son loves basketball, maybe you play a game of horse with him, even if you know the ball will likely end up in the woods instead of in the net. Then do another thing for you. And maybe another. Sit with the fact that you can still find joy. Create it, surround yourself with it, and let yourself experience it. Joy is still an option, and, as long as you can find it, always will be.

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