30 days: Day 14 – Finding joy

Sunday, July 10, 2011 Permalink

I have to admit I was quite excited when I logged onto Tina’s website today and saw our topic, Finding joy. The quest for happiness is a biggie for me. I’ve written about it in my other (more public) blog (here and here) and was a bit tongue in cheek about the fact that in books, movies and TV land, people go on a ‘quest’ to find themselves and happiness. It was a few years ago and I’d just read Eat, Pray, Love – which I liked at the time, but now can’t really remember why. I was comparing it to the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun which stars an actress whose beauty I’ve always admired, Dianne Lane. Sure, unlike them I haven’t just suffered through a marriage breakdown and needed to ‘escape’ but (prosaic as it sounds) I too wonder often about the purpose or meaning of my life. I often stop and wonder; ‘Is this really it? Is this all there is?’ Perhaps if I’d been in love or loved romantically I’d view the world less cynically, who knows…. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I need to read Tina’s post and ponder on that first.

In life, we all search for happiness. We want fulfillment and to live with contentment. In order to find such a life, we have to take the first steps in finding joy in each day. From the small moments of a child’s laugh to the bigger “wow” moments of exciting vacations and celebrations, we must reach out and grab joy each day.

 I don’t think I need to tell you why finding joy in everyday moments of life can increase overall happiness. We all have that logic. Instead, I want to ask you to find it for yourselves today. Don’t avoid it for fear it will get in the way of to-dos. Don’t convince yourself another moment will come soon enough. Don’t hesitate on whether you deserve that moment of joy. Just take it. And walk away with a smile.

 What will bring YOU joy? It’s yours for the taking….so take!

Hmmm… I’m an ‘it’s all about me’ kind of person. I openly confess to this. But I also enjoy playing the victim. ‘It’s not my fault. The world is fucked and conspiring against me.’  The saner part of me KNOWS I need to take more responsibility for my own happiness. I can’t (continue to) sit back and expect happiness or contentment on a platter. It seems I have to go and seek it. Bugger!

Having said that, I’m not unrealistic. I don’t expect sudden fulfillment or happiness, so I do like the notion of ‘moments of joy’. And perhaps I need to focus on those.

To be completely honest many of the things which have previously brought me joy (ie. short term happiness) have not been good for me. Self-harming even. I’ve written here about my favourite time of the day being the evenings after I’ve finished work and I plant myself in front of the television with exciting food and alcohol. Ahh…. heaven. Bliss. And all of that. It was the one time of the day I enjoyed. The one time of the day I felt happy. It also led me to a starting weight of 129.1kg on this weight loss program. I was trapped in a vicious cycle. The more weight I gained, the less attractive I felt and the more shame I had to overcome. I hid myself away more and more. Men weren’t interested in me and I even pushed away friends because any time I wasn’t at work was MY time. And MY time involved binge-eating. They were my moments of joy. I traded long-term happiness and contentment for short term fulfillment and the instant relief I got from food.

Perhaps it’s time to change. I’ve started on this program. Sure, I still eat in front of television more often than I’d like, but I’ve (mostly) stopped the behaviour that went along with it. Other than two (bloody) nights in the past week when I indulged in alcohol, I am no longer sitting with a wine glass next to me. I am not buying bags of corn chips and blocks of chocolate. I am not eating MOUNDS of potato at night, or a kilogram of frozen hot chips drowned in sour cream for dinner.

joy is reason enough #doodleI’m still far from perfect, but I like to think I’m on my way. I just need to sustain it and continue to build on what I’ve started. And… I need to find more joy in other things. I still love watching TV and reading books. I enjoy catching up with friends. My niece brings me joy when I see her and my parents are devoted to me. I feel warm and fuzzy when someone comments on my blogs or my writing. At work I feel a sense of achievement when I get something done or get a compliment.

So, while I can’t identify my future ‘sources of joy’ now. I’m going to try to focus more on grabbing them when they appear and not sit back and expect them to come to me.


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