We need more joy in our lives or so I seem to be reminded of frequently. In a world with many current dark issues, this makes sense. And yet I wonder what this looks like. In recent years, I’ve experienced several personal crises that make this very relevant. We are going to be around for a finite period of time, so we’d better make the most it. At least this is the conventional thinking.
The concept of living each day like it is our last has had an alluring appeal. It sounds wonderful, what a life that would be. But how do we do that? How would you spend your last day? Perhaps focusing on one day is a bit limiting, so how about a bucket list. The list of things you have to do before you die.
All this thinking makes me anxious. Not because I am worried about my end, it brings up the story of being good enough. Am I spending my time in the most meaningful ways? Am I doing the things that are on my bucket list? Does my bucket list include all the most important things? And here we are, back to the usual story of are we doing enough, are we good enough?
Thinking Differently About Joy
This seems completely counter to having more joy. In fact it is ironic, in our quest to have more joy we are becoming less happy and more stressed. Recognizing this pattern has been liberating. Having more joy isn’t about doing more. Quite the opposite, I can take the time to experience joy in all the little things each day. Watching TV with Sue, cooking a meal, pulling weeds at our new house, doing chores around the home. The list is endless.
We have the choice to appreciate the every day little things and the joy they bring. I also have the big things like vacations to look forward to and between there is a never ending source of joy. Only if I am willing to be open to it.