16 Nov Joy – It’s in the little things…
It was my birthday a few weeks ago. I love my birthday and often make such a big deal about it that by the time it arrives those closest to me are so sick of it they don’t even want to celebrate it anymore. I’ve gone way past “birthday week” and even “birthday month.” Once school starts to me it ushers in “birthday season!” But not this year. Both of my parents have had serious health issues for the past several months. My mom is on her third relapse of shingles and my dad was hospitalized several times for his heart condition, pneumonia and pleurisy. As an only child and the mother of two young girls I’ve had my hands full keeping up with them being ill at the same time. Right before my birthday out of nowhere my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I was completely blindsided by the diagnosis – as was my dad of course. The weeks of appointments that followed that first phone call are kind of a blur now. In the midst of the shock, fear and chaos we have had some amazing conversations. My dad and I don’t do small talk. One of my favorite things about him is that I can be unloading the dishwasher on a Tuesday and he calls and the next thing I know we are talking about the meaning of life. In the wake of his diagnosis we have had some profound conversations.
Of all the things we have talked about, my favorite was the day when we talked about joy. Specifically how joy has incredible power when you tap into it and how life changing it is when you get this. We talked in depth about the various ways we both tap into joy and how remarkable it is that once you tap in – you realize it is in everything, everywhere just there for the taking. I remember saying that for me it was almost easier to say where I don’t find joy than where I do because the list was too long. He was lamenting a little that he had figured this out so late in life at 78 years old. It was a precious moment.
I forgot all about my birthday but thankfully my friends and family didn’t. A few days after the joy conversation a dear friend gave me this bracelet as a present. I loved it instantly! This was so perfect. A reminder for me to tap into the little things everyday. That’s where joy is. It’s in a glossy new magazine, a hot cup of tea, a sunset, the smell of garlic cooking, my girls when they are asleep in their beds dreaming, the purr of a cat or a really good sandwich. It made me think about how much fulfillment little things like that bring to my life and I want to share it.
My poor blog is like my redheaded step child. Neglected and needing some major TLC. I started thinking how can I get inspired about my blog again and share all of the incredible insights that are coming from this experience with my dad? The answer is this blog series. I am launching 30 Days of Simple Pleasures. Everyday for the next 30 days starting Monday, November 17th I will post a simple pleasure that brings me joy. This is to remind me to stay grateful in the midst of my dad’s illness and it will hopefully help you think about joy in a new way: as accessible, plentiful and in places you may not expect. The great thing about joy is when you look for it you find it. When you find it, it transforms the way you experience your life. I hope I can inspire you to seek joy and to delight in it.
Here’s to a great 30 days!