Throughout my childhood I was gifted with a set of parents who always wanted to see me happy. So much so that they would worry if I was stressed over particular responsibilities, working too hard, or going through a period of melancholy. I was one of those kids that even at a young age, “took things seriously” and was “too sensitive.”
Regardless, joy was a significant part of my life. I remember laughing a lot, with my whole gut, and sometimes to tears.
As an adult however, I’ve found it more and more difficult to remember the things that bring me joy. They are buried underneath the requirements of the day. They are covered with dust. Maybe even unrecognizable at first sight. Upon the encouragement of a close friend I’ve tried writing a list. That helped, but I’ve been digging deeper.
I’ve realized that there are things that I take for granted. Things that I have the ability to do quite easily, that also give me great joy. The completion of a jigsaw puzzle, or finishing a lego build really quickly, are two examples. The experience of tap dancing for a few hours and discovering new sounds and rhythms is another. However, because I take these for granted I don’t put much focus on them, protect time to engage in them, or even allow myself to enjoy them as much as I possibly could.
I say to myself, there are other things that are “more important.” Work, mostly. It may be analog to someone carrying this opinion, “How can you be happy when there’s so much sadness in the world?” Please know, I am not saying that we shouldn’t have empathy and compassion for (and by extension actions to support) our fellow humans. Of course we should. We should also carry great joy for the gift of life each of us have been given.
It is a gift after all, this weird and wondrous life, in all of its trauma and celebration.
What joys would you like to remember?