I’ve been kind of Marie Kondō-ing my life lately. If you’re unfamiliar, Marie Kondō is the woman being The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a book that gives you strategies and tips for totally decluttering your home. The essence of the tips can be boiled down to: does this object bring me joy. Of course in actual life, there are things that I absolutely have to do regardless of whether it brings me joy or not. (But wouldn’t it be lovely if all those things could be simply avoided?)
Because that’s unavoidable, I have been trying to highlight and note what brings me joy in my life. If I can’t toss what doesn’t, I can, at the very least, highlight and celebrate the things that do.
– Reading is my absolute number one. If I have a good book in my hands, I am pretty much the happiest girl. Even just having a book in my bag makes excites me. When a book is particularly great, I try to find extra minutes here and there throughout my day just to squeeze in another page or two. I hated required reading in school, and discovered the true joy of escaping within the pages of a book as a senior in college. I’ve read (haha) that a lot of people discover the wonder of reading during periods of stress as it becomes a way to escape into another world. Reading brings me peace, makes me feel good, entertains me, and more.
– I’ve been so fortunate as a young adult to meet all kinds of people in various industries across the country. As a result of that network, I’ve discovered that connecting people brings me unmeasurable amounts of joy. Often I can’t personally help someone with what they’re looking for or in need of, but there’s a high likelihood that I know (or know of) someone who can. Networking can be such a dirty word, especially when people confuse it with social climbing. But, for me, I find so much value in networking beyond my personal gain. (Although, considering how much joy it does bring me, I know I am gaining something within the equation, too.) When a friend needs a job and I’m able to help her land it by getting a resume in the right spot, it’s the best feeling. Or if someone is hiring and needs the perfect candidate with some obscure background and skillset, it’s thrilling to “scroll” through my “Rolodex” to think of the right person.
– Going to the movies has become something that I look forward to. 80% of it is being forced to turn my phone off and shut the outside world off for an hour and a half. 10% comes from watching the movie and the other 10% comes from the sheer volume of popcorn I consume. One downside for working for yourself, especially in a social media capacity, is that it can be nearly impossible to turn completely “off.” Going to the movies is as close as it gets without actually being asleep. If I’ve had a bad day, nothing can turn it around like going to a movie that night.
– I never thought I’d be the person to say this, but here I am, admitting it out loud. I freaking love to work out now. I don’t know who I am or really how it happened. It’s an investment of time that pays off in so many ways. I’m happier and healthier and stronger. Beyond what you’d expect from working out (endorphins, strength, etc.), I also have a new appreciation for my body. There’s always this huge emphasis in the media and even among people on social media about how working out should be about the number on the scale or how clothes fit or thigh gap or whatever. I think there’s, of course, an element of that when it comes to your body’s physical transformation however big or small. But, I’ve noticed that my mentality towards my body has completely shifted in a much more profound way than how my body looks. I’m unbelievably grateful for what my body can do and what I can mentally push through. At the end of a workout, I’m in awe of my inner and physical strength and I do gratitude mantras to “thank” my body. It’s helped me not take my body and health for granted. Nothing is a guarantee in life so I’m grateful for what it can do today. It’s a joyous part of my daily workout routine now.
– A day with NOTHING scheduled. It’s such a rarity when I have absolutely nothing scheduled. Even on the weekends when I force myself not to work, I usually have some kind of plan set up. When I see a day on my calendar that is completely and utterly blank, it’s the best, best feeling. I call them “snow days” and I do kind of feel like a little kid who finds out school’s been canceled. Usually, I still have work to do, but to be able to do it with no time constraints is so freeing. Another component of this is that I don’t have to feel guilty about not doing my makeup or hair. While a good hair day brings me a good amount of joy, nothing compares to being able to throw my hair guilt-free into a bun.
– Another thing that brings me immense joy? Problem solving. While I get a lot of satisfaction when I eventually find a solution, it’s the actual problem solving that brings me the joy. I think it’s in my nature to love to problem solve, which is probably why I loved being on the math league team so much. It’s thrilling to be presented with a problem, the bigger and harder the better, and have to figure out the answer or solution. I love planning and logistics and trying to work on different ways to make things happen. Roadblocks can initially feel frustrating when they pop up and then there’s the excitement of getting to work through it.
More things that bring me joy: the first sip of coffee in the morning, a particularly flaky almond croissant, when the pups snuggle in a little closer, slipping into bed with freshly laundered sheets, getting massages, holding a sleeping baby, Facetiming with a friend for hours talking about nothing in particular and everything at the same time.
What are yours? If you haven’t started noting the joy in your life, I can’t recommend it enough. You’ll be surprised how much joy you have, even if you’re in a rough patch.