What brings you joy? We have all had a long time to ponder this question in the last year and I think it is one that is worthy of our collective pondering. I’m not necessarily talking about what you missed the most in this last year, which is a great question and maybe a topic for a future blog. I am talking about what brings you joy.
After reading Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up the notion of joy has taken on a new meaning. She describes our many attachments to clothing and other material things in our life and asks for you to hold the item to determine if it “sparks joy?” At first, I thought this was such an odd idea and completely ridiculous, that is until I tried it. Clothing that I liked, but didn’t suit me anymore, no longer sparked joy and so off it went to Goodwill. I only hoped it would spark joy for the new owner.
Her recommendations for de-cluttering are also a topic for a future blog. I think she is a genius, and I have accumulated much that no longer sparks joy. Maybe you have too.
I have considered this new measurement of sparking joy for other things in my life as well and not just material possessions but experiences, conversations, relationships, and all kinds of intangible things. I believe we should put a high priority on activities that spark joy in our hearts. This doesn’t mean only doing the things that you like. It means seeking out and focusing on the things that spark joy for us; to really go looking for them. A perfect example is the photo attached to this blog. Last weekend I went for a walk from our home and found my way down to Fishtown. It was sunny and quiet. I went down to the dam and walked along the dock, which I have done hundreds of times. As I turned west, I noticed the historic fishing boat “Joy” tied up along the dock with the sun glistening off the windshield and the brilliant green hull reflecting off the water. I immediately was overcome with joy. It didn’t hurt that the name of the boat placed that feeling into my subconscious, but it clicked and before I could actually process the feeling I snapped this quick picture as a reminder for later.
I have looked at the picture dozens of times in the last week and it continues to spark joy for me. If/when I have a bad day, or a stressful day, I will remind myself to look at this image and remember the feeling that I had in late February on my walk.
My son recently recommended that we share on our family’s group chat a highlight of our day each day. That way we can feel a little bit closer even though we are spread out all over North America. He is a wise young man and I have enjoyed learning about what each of us is doing and how we are prioritizing our days. For me, this walk and the realization that often the intangibles in my life are the things that spark joy was the highlight for this day. It also causes me to be mindful of my day and what I plan on sharing as the highlight. This in and of itself is a worthwhile exercise; to live in such a way as to reflect upon the day and identify the highlight, and to learn about the highlights of the people that mean the most to me.
I would encourage you to spend as much time as possible with the people and activities that spark joy for you. Life is short and it is a blessing.