It is true. It’s cliche’ also, but more importantly it is true – Joy is a choice.
Dictionary.com says joy is:
- the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation
- a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated
- a state of happiness or felicity.
True, again. 100% facts (in my fact book). I think we believe that often we choose to be happy . . . I don’t believe that. Happiness is a feeling, a result of choosing joy. A result of saying today I will see the good. Today I will see the positive. Today I will see the bad and I will appreciate it and learn from it, not let it win and defeat me.
Easier said than done, huh? Yes, most definitely it is. It is easier to take the crap thrown at us and weep, sulk, and become the victim. It’s easier to do this, it’s more common, it’s also dumb. Of course, we all have to accept the bad things, difficulties, and challenges that are thrown our way, and often times that does require times of sadness, reflection, sulking, etc., but really why not take even those times as good ones. Learning opportunities if you will. We can look at situations as opportunities instead of obstacles. We must choose to do this though. It doesn’t happen naturally.
At an interview a few days ago the VP that sat in on the panel said he loved me – said that meeting me was the joy in his day and that he loved what I was. The other panel members told him he should at least act like there were other candidates. 🙂 How awesome is that? I nailed the interview, obviously – but not with a suit or interview prep – with being me; honest, blunt, a little off, and me. Just perfectly me. I hyped myself up on the way that I was going to be honest when they said ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years,’ or ‘why do you want to work here,’ I’d be honest and say I didn’t search the company out specifically, I found the job on a job board, and that I didn’t know what I wanted to do and if banking would even be where I was in 5 years – NOT the “right” interview answers if you ask a professional, but it was my truth, so my right answer. I was honest and genuine and explained my kids are my #1 priority in this season of my life, money doesn’t make me happy (although lets be real being able to pay the bills is a happy thing), but it’s not the most important thing to me anymore when looking for a job, a career. I want to help, serve, teach, be kind, be a resource, just BE and be useful. Frankly, kind of be used, but in a good way. It felt amazingly good to hear a complete stranger that I’d met for all of 20 minutes to tell me he was impressed, he liked me as a person, who I was and what I was about. It felt even better because I too am impressed with the person I’ve become. And I too like that person.
I went out last night, I’ve been “out” twice now since the crud was thrown my way; #divorce. Now, I do go do things (I’m not that crazy cat lady, yet); the gym mostly, painting classes, events with my kids, serving at church, I do things but I don’t go “out” or I haven’t. And I think that’s because feeling like I could be me has been hard the last 10 years and it’s probably the biggest adjustment for me in this new life. As a mom and wife those were my jobs and my #1 priority. I did all things for them, to help them, serve them, make them better – that meant being a mom and wife and that Heather did not do for herself. Yeah, of course I’d get a manicure from time to time, but the pure sense of being me disappeared when I became a mom and wife. I choose this. I was in control of this choice.
I used to be fun. I’ve said that a lot recently. I used to be. I could talk to anyone, bring laughter and light to a room, play a mean game of Catchphrase or Charades, do any event with any group of people just to be out and about. Run around in the rain, be spontaneous and just simply fun. I mean I was even voted biggest flirt in high-school . . . let’s be real, that just means I talked to everyone – I just didn’t meet a stranger, I was a social butterfly you could say. That’s what the old Heather was, and for me, like for many moms and wives, I put myself to the side to do for my family. I regret that now, I think that’s one reason my marriage failed. I wasn’t selfish enough. I wasn’t selfish AT ALL. I don’t like selfish people, but there’s a big difference in being selfish to do good things for yourself to better yourself (because in turn you better the ones around you) or just being selfish because that’s all you care about, yourself. So, I used to do for me AND for others by having fun, by being outgoing, doing things and that all stopped when I put my family first. I choose this. I lost friends, some by my choice and some because I didn’t make an effort to be a friend. I lost Heather though most importantly.
In the last 5 months I’ve lost a lot of things, many pounds (which is a good loss. See sometimes loss can be good!), time with my kids, extended family members, friends, finances, I could go on and on with all the things I’ve lost, but the things I’ve found are so much more profound. I’ve found God. I’ve found I’m not in this alone, even when I feel like it, as I’ve got Him in my corner. I think in finding Him, I’ve found me too. I read something the other day: “He broke me, so He could fix me.'” WHOA that is powerful and profound. That shit hit home. He “broke” me and my idea of what my perfect life should be like; organized and planned on a calendar, a husband and wife that are the parents to the children, a full-time job that pays more than is needed, a schedule, all my idea of perfect. He broke that, ALL of that to fix me. Read it again, I had to; He broke me, to fix me. To make me what I was intended to be all along . . . to be fun again, to be that giving person that I want to be, that I long to be. To be true to myself and who I am, not ashamed of anything.
So even though I have no cute going out clothes because #allthepoundshavebeenlost, or I might have to be smart on my going out choices, because #unemployed, I can still go out, I can still do things, I can still have fun and be myself – be Heather living her best life, and let me tell you: she is pretty awesome and I want to keep being her, she’s fun. And for the first time in a long time I feel like I can be myself around anyone, and feel happy about it, and not care if they like it or not. It’s who I am, take it or leave it. I am so glad I’ve found her again and if you haven’t met her – you should. It’d be fun for you too. I would then challenge you to find yourself. It’s possible, even with kids, and spouses, and jobs, and life – I think being true to yourself, making time for you and your friends, doing things you would want to do even if that means doing them alone, I think all of these things are important and learning all of this to take to my next season, oh man, I’m excited for what that may look like. It’s a choice. I choose it daily. I choose joy, because out of that . . .comes all of this.