When Happiness Does the Heavy Lifting
You are not a passive participant in your own joy.
If there’s one thing that I’m really good at it’s not being able to see the forest for the trees. It’s easy to do. A lot of us get mired down with adult responsibilities and the day-to-day ritual of our own busyness.
You all know what a huge fan I am of Marie Kondo. (Hint: not really.) It’s pretty funny that we’re willing to spend so much time and energy trying to see if something “sparks joy” for us.
Waiting to see the joy that we get from something relies solely on that object bringing the joy to us and us being the receiver.
There’s a problem I have with that. It means we’re passive. I feel like that’s a really half-assed way to be happy.
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s about time that I took an active role in the happiness in my life. Maybe that’s what’s missing. Honestly, I don’t know that I’ve had much skin in the game.
When we’re waiting to be the recipient of joy we can counter-productively let misery in. It’s really easy to hold hard feelings against joy for not coming to us. We’re sitting there waiting and it’s not happening. We’re good people. We deserve some joy, right?
Then, it’s only a matter of time before we see other people that joy showed up for and into that party walks jealousy and envy. Why does Stacy get a bonus at work? She doesn’t even need the money! Freaking Stacy.
But, really, what are we doing to move the process along?
I think there’s something to be said about moving through life with a childlike sense of wonder. Take a minute and watch kids. Their ability to siphon as much joy out of something as humanly possible is amazing.
I had a friend who had to remind herself, when her kids were very little, to not get impatient with them because they were full of wonder. She wanted to let them enjoy that instead of hurrying them along the way because she had someplace to be. As adults, we always have someplace to be, don’t we?
When my daughter was younger, we would go to Iowa to visit my ex-husband’s family. Being in a completely different place, there were always new and interesting things to find.
One summer, she kept an entire photo log of all of the interesting bugs that she encountered. She wanted to take a picture of every single one of them. It was so fun watching her face light up with joy when she saw something she had never seen before. She was actively looking for joy in every minute.
We lose this as we grow old. We’ve become exceptionally lazy with our happiness. We stop looking for things that fascinate us. We stop taking pleasure in the ordinary.
I think there’s a key to happiness in here. There are simple pleasures all around us. This is where our passive role in our own joy ends.
Do you know what I really love? Belgian waffles. I. Love. Belgian. Waffles. Yet, I never have them. I even have a Belgian waffle maker. I have two different kinds of Belgian waffle mix in my home right now. Why I don’t do something so simple as to make myself waffles for breakfast I cannot, for the life of me, figure out. It would make me immensely happy!
I’ll even go one step further and take absolutely no shame in sharing the fact that I like to put whipped cream on my waffles. If I’m feeling really crazy, I’ll add sprinkles. You wanna talk about JOY!
Now, someone may think that’s a little bit goofy and that adults should not put whipped cream and sprinkles on their breakfast food. One of the things that I need to do in order to bring a child like a sense of wonder and joy back into my life is to not care about what the fun haters say.
I have neither the time, nor the energy, to be judged for putting sprinkles on my breakfast.
I’m reclaiming the joy of small things. Everyday things. Things I forgot I loved. I’m putting sprinkles on everything. Every damn thing.
Join me in this. Find the simple joys. Don’t wait around for something to spark joy in your life. Grab your own happy flint and make a flame happen.
Be a kid again. It’s okay. You have permission. You give it to yourself.
I don’t care what it looks like but, by God, I want to know about it. I want your joy to give me joy. What was the last simple thing that you took pleasure in? Tell me about it. Let me soak that in.
What’s your Belgian waffle?