Joy has been hard to come by. It’s felt just out of reach. Some weeks it’s been hiding in a deep cave guarded by all of my worst fears. Other days it feels like it’s there but when I go to reach for it, it’s gone as quickly as it appeared. And in moments, brief moments, joy is sitting at the table with me like she never left. Like the global pain of this year never happened.
The other day I was walking with my love on my favorite kind of San Francisco morning. It had rained earlier, leaving a humid blanket on the city and the dark clouds deepened the blue colors of the Bay. And damn that bridge looked as red as I’d ever seen her. We had coffee in our hands, time on our side, and each other. I was so happy.
Until I started thinking about how much I was missing about living here from years past. And how much I would come to miss when this day was over. My eyes were filled with tears from the journey my mind had taken rather than what was right in front of me: my man, my health, a gorgeous morning, and nowhere to be. That’s been happening a lot lately, and it makes joy a pretty tough bitch to talk into staying at the table.
Wishing things were differently than they are is…natural? It has to be because I’ve been doing it more than ever. I also know it’s a fast track to misery. On the other hand, it can be the birthplace for adaptation. It’s OK that we don’t love this year much. It’s OK that shit feels hard right now. It’s OK that we don’t have all the answers.
But let that be a reason we become more intentional with finding, centering and cultivating joy in a world that feels anything but joyful. This time last year, joy wasn’t something we needed to be so specific about. She’d show up more than she didn’t like sunny days we know will come eventually.
Well, these times require more from us: more intention, more active choosing, more trying. Trying for joy.
For me, that’s looked like asking myself: how can I make this fun? Can I be sillier in that zoom call? Can I laugh at myself more? Can I send more random pep texts to my girls? Can I watch more comedy? Can I say let’s make this fun at times I’m making it so heavy. So heavy. Can I put down the news and pick up a pen?
It’s a constant recalibration. It doesn’t always work. AND I’m feeling more joy than not. I’m feeling more in the present moment where that joy lives rather than the deep caves of my mind where joy absolutely 100% does not live (trust me, I searched). This recent conversation with Naj Austin sparked my intention to create more joyful moments (listen, you’ll love it). It reminded me that even though we’re not out of the clear of trying times ahead, there are joyful moments to hang onto provided we choose to acknowledge they’re there. That they’re here.
You’ll put a lot into motion by the mere choice to look. You’re likely to find joy isn’t actually so hard to come by if you stay in the moment.