Yesterday someone asked me a very perplexing question, and I’ve spent the last 2 days trying to come up with an honest and acceptable answer. I’m embarrassed that this question stumped me as hard as it did. I don’t think it was the question per say, I think I just wasn’t prepared for it.
While visiting another office at work my friend/co-worker asked, “What has brought you joy this week?”
If she had asked me if I was happy, I would have said yes. If she had asked me what my plans were for the day, I would have told her. If she’d asked me my favorite ice cream flavor, I definitely would have had an answer for her. This question however, left me and my mind totally blank.
What has brought me joy this week?
……..............……..*chirp* ………......……*chirp*…………….............. *Ribbit*
Everyone that had kind of been listening didn’t look at me and pretended that they hadn’t just been in a conversation with us. I had no answer. I thought of a lot of things that made me happy, or as I quickly found out , used to make me happy, but I feel like joy is on a higher level.
I was in panic mode and the longer I stood there the stupider I felt. This is such an easy question, say something! Say anything! Finally I said something about nieces and nephews as we stood there staring at each other. I don’t think she expected that answer either. We had a brief conversation and then someone else from the department walked over with a question for her.
I kind of felt relieved and walked out.
How did that happen? She had asked a very simple question and that wasn't the problem, I was. I don’t remember the last time I didn’t have a good answer let alone no answer for someone.
The rest of the day I thought about what joy means and what brings me joy. As soon as I got back to my office I could think of plenty of things that make me happy. I realized that I’ve gotten out of touch with some of the things. I realized that when I’m truly happy and doing the things I need to do, I naturally am drawn to some of those things.
A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend and it was a really deep discussion about my fears. I have many of them by the way. A lot of people are addicted to Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat. I’m not addicted to any of those things, but I am a recovering addict of checking the news.
That’s right, I can’t stop hitting the refresh button on the news. I constantly want to know what’s going on, and I want to know before anyone has to break the bad news of what has happened to me. I will check my favorite news sites easily 40-50 times a day. I check it in the morning, through-out the day, and multiple times at night, and right before I go to bed. I talk a little bit about this in this blog Policing the Happy News.
After talking to my friend she told me that I was seeing all of these non-uplifting stories, and that I needed to replace it with something more uplifting. I’ve worked the last two weeks to either not watch the news, or only check it 3-5 times a day vs 40-50 times a day.
So, I decided what doesn’t bring me joy, and tried to remove it from my life, while simultaneously filling my life with things that make me happy. It seems like once I finally set my mind to be happy, something devastating happens. There is a house fire that my friend is involved in, or people I know die, or a failed adoption happens for my friends that have been waiting for months for the paperwork to go through.
So I’ve decided to focus on the things I can control, and try really hard to stop worrying about the rest of it. Life happens. One way I find joy is by writing. Most of the things I’ve written will never make it out of my notebooks, but today while looking for a blank page to fill I found this poem that I wrote last year. I don’t even remember writing it, but I’m glad I did. It kind of sums up a lot of my thoughts right now and I wanted to share it.
Concave, be brave
Tough choice, find voice
At times I’m blazing
This world is amazing
The people here in it are good.
But sometimes I question
Our constant direction
And if I shouldn’t or should.
Of course there’s discretion
In every suggestion
And if we will end up alive.
But the moment you loose
All the fear and abuse
Is the moment you start to arrive.
So let me repeat the question: