People sometimes ask me why I’m so passionately committed to finding joy each and every day.
Unfortunately, my devotion to joy stems from the bad days — the days when friends, family, and furry loved ones have died, when dreams have been shattered, when the world turned dark.
If there were a way to skip those kind of days, anyone with a lick of sense would.
But there’s no avoiding them. There’s only getting thru them, waiting until the sun comes out again, until you realize there are new dreams, and that life really does go on.
The way I’ve gotten thru times like this is by grabbing hold of joy, even a small little scrap, with both hands and hanging on for all I’m worth until the sun returns, new dreams form, and life moves forward.
During those hard times, times when the joy of finding a quarter on the sidewalk is the high point of the day, I learned that finding joy is far too important to leave to chance.
Joy demands intentionality — frontloading.
What do I mean by frontloading joy?
It’s like priming the pump for everyday use.
Think of things that make you happy, the people who put a smile on your face, the memories that soothe your soul. Make a list, write them down.
Then if those things are things you can control — do it, get it, put it in your path.
That’s why I always keep an extra bag of coffee in the pantry.
On the kind of day when a cup of coffee makes all the difference, I can concentrate on the thank heavens there’s coffee in the house rather than the reason I need the coffee in the first place.
That’s why I have a funky flickering battery operated candle (with a timer, no less!) on the television stand.
These autumn days are getting shorter, and seeing the warm glow of a candle is a bright spot I’m sure to see. Plus, there’s no worry I’ll forget to blow it out and burn down the house (more joy!).
That’s why, even though I live way out in the country and get a grand total of zero trick-or-treaters, I pick up an extra couple of bags of my favorite chocolates for Halloween.
Because sometimes a stash of decadent emergency chocolate can turn an afternoon around.
That’s why I keep my current hand-quilting projects right beside my chair in the living room.
Gorgeous fabric within easy reach, growing a beautiful project with a soothing stitches. That’s always a good thing.
That’s why there’s always a tin of my favorite mints and a miniature coloring book and colored pencils in my purse. It’s mobile joy!
There’s an old Journey song “Be Good To Yourself” which remind everyone to be good to themselves because no one else will.
And it’s true.
I hope there are always people in my life who want to be good to me, but I can’t depend on them to always do the heavy lifting.
I can depend on myself. I can choose for joy every day, and you can, too.
There’s a meme going around that says “if you choose not to find joy in the snow, you have will have less joy in your life but still the same amount of snow.”
Who wants that? I certainly don’t.
Here’s what you do: grab a pen and paper and make a list of things that bring you joy…guaranteed. Maybe it features tea instead of coffee or super-sour candies instead of chocolates.
The important thing is the things on your list bring you joy. Then go shopping. Surround yourself with the things on your list. Store up your go-tos for joy each and every day.
Don’t leave things to chance — frontload joy.