When I posted my theme for the year [Happy Happy!
] three weeks back I had an old friend post this:
Listen, the name of this space is Finding JOY because that is what I work on and practice. It doesn't mean I've got it figured out, it means here is where I explore finding more joy in my life.
But hey, if someone asks for directions and I have even the faintest idea where to head I try and point the way. So after a few weeks of pondering here are my 3 main keys on how to happy...
First you should know as a youngster I was a pretty happy kid. Sure there was the heartbreak of getting my first bike and not being able to find a license-plate with my name on it like all the other kids had. But even that upset was a reflection of my greatest gift: my name.
My mother named me Joy, so it was like a built-in quest. I couldn't be a moody mean girl if I had such a friendly upbeat name. I won't ever know for sure but I think I had no other choice but to try and be at least a little bit happy.
Now let's be clear, when I turned 8 things did actually become less than ideal when my parents divorced while I was just becoming a preteen. My life was not super-duper for many years, but I still tried to look for the good stuff and things were mostly hunky-dory. Did I love being one of the tallest girls in class? Nope. Did I enjoy having to live in two places? Not quite. Did I relish being the mother-hen to my siblings and having to grow up prematurely fast- no, no I did not! But this takes me to my first nugget on happiness...
When I was around 16 I was over at my friend Linda's house when we were complaining about something (I'm gonna guess boy-related) and looking up from eating his lunch her father
, a man who had come to the US from Germany after having lived through WWII as a child, slammed his hand down on the table and exclaimed:
You silly girls, even on your worst day millions would gladly trade places with you.
Talk about a life lesson from the source of real knowing. He had seen some horrible things when he was our age and it must have been beyond annoying to hear us be so ridiculous.
So the first place to look for happy is in: Perspective.
That lesson hit me hard and has stayed with me for over 30 years, but it doesn't mean I don't forget it all the time. So its companion lesson is: Gratitude
. Because not only would millions want to be us but they would be truly grateful to have even a small portion of what we've been lucky enough to possess.
And I'm not talking the latest iPhone, I'm talking a toilet. A decade ago
I came across a posting for World Toilet Day
(Nov. 19th) to raise awareness that even in these modern times 4.2 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water and safe sanitation. Think about that!
Anytime I'm being bratty or grumpy I remind myself how lucky I am. My friends sometimes get annoyed because I'll often say there is nothing to be upset about if we have running water and a toilet. Mostly I'm joking, but not really.
When Mr. Klemm said millions would trade places with us, it's actually probably BILLIONS! 💩
💀 Ok, by now you might be thinking: alright Joy enough with the goodie-goodie aren't we lucky to be living in today's times and have basic creature comforts. I've got some stuff to be really unhappy about!
Well to that I would say: Yay you!! Because if you've got real problems then you've got a real life and are alive to figure those things out.
See because the other big life lesson I learned is Memento Mori: Remember that you die!
This Latin phrase has been used by religions and philosophers over the ages to remind us that life is impermanent and we need to therefore cherish the time we have alive. So if you are having a hard time or suffering in any way I know it's difficult but try and remember that we are all lucky to be alive even through the sucky times in life. The alternative is to not be unhappy at all, ever 😬
Again, I don't have it all figured out but when I contemplated what to share with Sheryl this is what came to mind. Several specifics on other life topics popped up as well, so for the next few months I'm going to write a bit about other ways I try and be happy. If you have any topics you'd like me to opine on please send me a comment/note and I'll see if I can include them.
I have hope that 2022 is going to be wonderful and I have perspective, gratitude and death to point me in this direction. Come follow along with Sheryl and me as we explore it even further. Cheers to teenage angst, toilets, time here together and finding the JOY and the Happy 🤗