By Deborah Blackwell
I’m recycling an old mantra for the new year, one I made up a while back. Just joy.
They say repeating a fun or meaningful phrase over and over will not only help us feel better, but may actually become our reality. So why not? Life has not been the easiest lately, for anyone.
While we can’t really control the world around us—even though we want to—thinking something that feels good (even if it doesn’t at first) might make all the difference.
What have we got to lose?
Just joy comes in really handy for what I like to call “situations of the moment.”
Like when your cat pukes on the carpet and you step in it on your way out the door, your to-go coffee lid pops off and spills all over you and the driver’s seat, and you miss your train to work by a millisecond. Take a deep breath and say it. Just joy.
But what is joy anyway? Do we define it by achieving a desired outcome? Or is joy the path itself?
When things go our way, joy bursts through us at light speed. But executing it can be tricky.
Like when you’re just sitting down to open presents on Christmas Day with your family, and your ex-husband and his wife show up unannounced…and stay for brunch. Surprise! Just joy.
Life happens in all of its glory and grit. Those little or not-so-little things that make life seem difficult, annoying, or even occasionally unbearable, can pile up. So is joy a feeling? Or an attitude?
It’s been a whopping three degrees for a week now, with no end in sight. Climate change or cruel joke from the weather gods, doesn’t matter. It’s absolutely painful to go outside. Just joy.
Shouldn’t that win out and erase the other junk?
Like when you have a fire in the fireplace, are ready to watch a movie, and despite the high-speed internet you pay for, your television can’t keep up. Click, lag, ugh. So you give up and watch whatever’s on network TV. Just joy.
Then you wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety because you feel like America has become a corporate dictatorship run by the cable company, and you know you are whining about First World problems but in that moment it’s all relative. No guilt! Just joy.
Some of us have the ability to look at the bright side no matter what, and others of us need a reminder. Just joy.
When the toilet is clogged, your grey roots sprouted too soon, you’re out of milk, and your kids ignore you because they’re on a video game…doesn’t even matter! No need to invest in stress.
Because when life seems unsolvable, it’s actually really not.
Say it with me, say it loud, and say it often. Just joy.