It is easy to cling to negativity. I am 100% guilty of letting one bad moment take an entire day away from me. I complain all too quickly or get in a mood about something insignificant. I let problems, both big and small, steal life away from me. Instead of getting caught up in things that impact my day to day in a not so great way I’m trying to focus on happiness and ultimately choosing to be joyful.
Of course the idea of choosing joy is a much easier idea to read or write versus truly live. I am still human and I am still going to struggle. That’s alright because in the back of my mind I have a goal. Choose joy. A few things made my mind wander to the idea of choosing joy (and also a few visual aides that literally said “Choose Joy”). There are so many things in life that give us purpose and when I have a purpose I usually find myself happier. Let’s go back a little… take yourself to your childhood. What made you excited? For me, it was reading (and other things like recess time and new toys) but I always have had a love for books. I love the smell and feel of a new book. It’s fun for me to pick out and buy a new book, take it home, and get lost in it. (Where my Harry Potter fans at?!) As I got older things like Friday nights became exciting. Sitting in class on a Friday was always less painful because you were focused on your weekend activities and maybe those nostalgic Friday night football games in the fall were sort of everything to you at the time. Skip the college years because the term “young and dumb” applies heavily here. Deny it if you want, I’ll let you, because I know all too well there are so many things I would like to forget. All good learning experiences though right 😉 Then comes some really good stuff the older you get…. getting engaged, planning a wedding, your wedding day, starting a family, starting a new job, moving around (maybe just once or maybe like three times). However, everyones life tells a different story and your path may not and likely will not be the same. Does that matter? Nope. Is your life still joyful? Absolutely. I live far from perfection and that’s just fine. Sometimes I forget life isn’t perfect yet I try to reach for it, but that’s unrealistic and doesn’t make me happy. I want to live with a purpose not as a symbol of perfection.
Motherhood has been one of my greatest joys. I can (fairly) vividly remember the first breath each of my girls took and their little, yet strong, beautiful cries. The relief I felt knowing they were here was beyond words. As your children grow and surpass milestones it never loses its shine. The first time your baby sleeps through the night (or at least most of the night), rolling over, crawling, walking, talking and becoming more independent with each passing day…it’s all amazing and has provided me with a love and a sense of completeness I cannot even began to describe.
Joy doesn’t have to be big memorable events however. It can and should be the small things, what brings you joy can literally be anything and you get to decide what those things are. Maybe it’s that first cup of coffee in the morning. Possibly its accomplishing a work or personal goal. Maybe it’s your toddler snuggling in to your lap and telling you that she loves you. The options for what brings you joy are endless. I believe we all get so caught up in the big picture we forget that life has small details too that are important. So, tell your family and friends you love them and say good morning to that random person you cross path with on the street. Maybe you just gave them something good to go off of for the day. It really is the little things.
(Originally posted on October 1st, 2017)