I just reviewed my past blogs, and mind blown…not a single one written on the presence of joy. I have experienced so much joy in my life it boggles my mind what I’ve not written about it before. I’ve found great joy in a new career that gives Hope to so many, in the new life as an empty nester and the introspective and relational conversations with my husband, in watching a fierce granddaughter as she discovers who she is and share her joy and love, walking alongside my son as he investigates and explores this big, wide world, running and hanging with friends as they discover who they were meant to be, and in the midst of this world through the eyes of my daughter.
So much Joy and so many definitions. It’s hard to not feel joy on a daily basis, we just have to let it in. I’ve been watching this younger generation of millennials, Gen Y, whatever you call them. Sometimes I shake my head (especially when working with them) and recently I have been intrigued by their focus. This year my daughter specifically asked for experiences, a membership to the zoo, the children’s museum or the local garden. My first reaction was…easy, my second was interesting… as I perused the web in search of membership information. I saw pictures of families with smiles, spending time together, sometimes learning, mostly hanging. I remember growing up without experiencing zoos and museums, but experiencing the same thing…memories. Sundays were days spent at our grandparents, visiting….seeing cousins and aunts and uncles, watching adults laugh and talk and exploring the generous woods of my grandparents. I learned to hike, work, shoot a gun, row a boat, ride a horse, get along with others, handle confrontation…I learned growing up and socialization. Those days are behind us, as time marches on our society has changed. The things my daughter really didn’t experience because I was in the fight for a career that caused me to travel and work really hard, she is holding dear to her heart. The time we spent together was as a family unit, traveling, competing, learning and growing, whereas my youth was spent with in the company of my entire family. I have watched my son expand his social circle with like-minded friends, an initiation of sorts, after attending a huge high school surrounded by hundreds of classmates he whittled out a great, caring, strong group of friends. People he enjoys spending time with and from what I can tell, have his back. These two have developed their extended family units, like-minded people hanging. Whether it’s in a zoo, or at home playing Fortnight, it’s really about socializing and being together.
I wasn’t feeling well this weekend and decided to binge on Netflix. One of my friends had shared her experience with “Tidying” and I decided to take a peek at what was happening. At first it seemed trivial, thanking things for serving you and then moving on. Even the gal on the episode seemed perplexed. It can’t be that easy to let things go. Can it? I watched and was transformed into a believer. My take-away, it’s about the memories. Last week my granddaughter was here and at 16 months she is quite the explorer. She opened by dry sink and to her delight it was stacked with a million things she could get her chubby little hand on. Mom was worried, I wasn’t….let her at it, there is nothing she can harm. As I watched all this TV “Tidying” my mind went to the dry sink. What in the world is in there that I am so attached to and why? I opened it and began thanking linens and trinkets and “things” for their service and was amazed at how easily I could determine those things that brought me joy. It wasn’t in the linens my mom gave me, it was in the hand written note that accompanied them, it wasn’t in the million (yes million) books I own and have read, it was in the inscription by someone I loved. It wasn’t in the things, it was in the memories. The day went on and I made it through clothes, dressers, papers, pictures, books….and I was amazed. The joy I felt in letting go of material things and realizing the joy I felt in the memory of others was extraordinary. I reached out to Brooke to ask her to thank Lydia and through our conversation realized that Brooke had done this prior to having Lydia. Well of course, doggone millennials….so far ahead of us in what’s actually important. As we talked she introduced me to “Hygge”. Wait, there is more? Thank goodness for Google!
Hygge is the Dutch revolution surrounding coziness and comfort. My definition, enjoying the moment and being able to enjoy the simple things in life. Suddenly that beautiful tea-cup my daughter got me two years ago became front and center. Why was it on the shelf, why wasn’t I using it to drinking hot tea, snuggled up reading or writing? The realization…..joy isn’t in the things we own, its in the time we spend.. alone or with good friends, drinking out of a china tea cup or exploring the children’s museum, reading notes or looking at pictures, discovering nature or hanging with besties.
It’s about being content where we are, knowing there may be more, and understanding that dark days will surround us. Knowing that we require love, support and spirituality to get through the good days and the bad days. The hope that joy will provide us with the umph to get through the yuck and the smiles to keep us joyful. I have had some yucky days this week, but by far the joy has outshined the yuck.
I made my resolution word this year on January 1 to be “present”. Ha! Long before I watched Marie Kondo teach me to be joyfully tidy I was on to something. I knew I needed to be present in the experience, that the “stuff” I need are people who love me, people I enjoy being with, experiences and Him. The down side, I realized there are things and people I don’t need. I realized that I can thank the past or the “thing” for all it has done for me, I can put it away or give it away and move on with joy. I know that I have learned a great deal from those people and “things” and I thank them, but I am moving on. I’m not getting caught in the day-to-day drama you bring, the joy breaking you provide, the hope that you will drag me in to your stuff. I want to be there for you, honestly I do, when you reach out in joy and love and hope, I will walk beside you. When you reach out to hurt, neglect or tramp on my joy or the joy of others I will walk away.
I’ve watched older people (frankly I fall into that category now, but refuse to see the joy in that!), purge and get rid of things, Today, I get it. Let me pass that joy to you, because it brought me such great joy. I’m not doing that. Brooke and Ty aren’t getting this stuff, stuff they have to keep because mom gave it to them. But they will get the memories I want to share, and those things that brought me great joy. They can decide someday if it brings them the same joy or if they can let it go. They will decide their joy, as I will decide mine.
Tidying, Hygge, Joy, Life, Memories. We are never too old to look at life through the lens of those around us and grow and thrive. 2019 is the year of presence and joy for me, thank God and be happy in it.
These things I have spoken to you, that my Joy may bein you, and that your Joy may be full. -John 15:11