I haven’t always lived a joyful life. I wanted to, but somehow the act of living life got in the way. I didn’t realize at the time that joy, like everything else in life, is a choice.
It’s different now. I’m not saying there aren’t sad times. But the overall feeling of life is joyful. It took awhile to get to this place. It took awhile to examine myself and decide what my values were, who I was, and why I was living the life I was. I also had to decide just for whom it was that I was living. And I realized awhile back, it wasn’t me.
I lived for my job. I lived to make other people happy and to make sure they had what they needed to make their life successful. On the surface things looked fine. I was a dedicated worker, working holidays to make sure the job got done. I was dedicated friend and family member, always there to help. And it’s fine to do these things, to an extent. But I took them to an extreme. I was an afterthought in my own life.
I was already teetering on the edge of exhaustion, when several major crises hit my life at the same time. In the span of 6 months: a dear friend died; my brother-in-law died; then my sister passed; my boss informed me they were downsizing our plant and while they were keeping my department, at least half of the employees, including myself we being laid off (however, I was going to travel to help set up a new plant in Tijuana, Mexico). I also became the guardian to my 17 year old nephew and executor to my sister’s estate. Now one of two of these items would be struggle enough, but all of these together at once threatened to push me under. Did I say “no” to any of things I was being asked to do? Of course not! I was a support person. So, I did what I always did … support. I carried on. The next year was a roller coaster to craziness. Some nights, I was so exhausted, all I could do was cry.
A year later, I got through it. When it was all said and done, I had survived. I spent the next year taking some time off. I had savings and some severance pay, and took a well needed rest. I really thought the long rest was what I needed.
But after a few months, I grew restless. I had gone from everyone needing me and my life being non-stop; to coming to a full stop and answering to no-one. When you have a void, you need to fill it, you can’t leave it empty. I didn’t know how to fill it, though, but I had taken a step and I finally began to think about me.
It’s taken awhile to get to that joyful place. Many years, in fact. But I’m here. Part of what I discovered about joy is that it grows even more when you share it.
I’ve started this blog to discover and share ways to make the joy grow in all our lives. I hope the coming posts will inspire you to find and create a joyful life for yourself.