All posts by Jean

Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy

I have become aware lately that for whatever reason, I have been feeling emotionally flat. I can’t tell you when it started, but it feels like it’s been going on for a long time. The good news is I don’t get upset over things in my world, but the bad news is that I also don’t feel much joy.

Most intelligent people could recite a number of reasons for this feeling: our country is in political turmoil, we have been experiencing a high number of weather emergencies around the country that are truly mind-boggling in their seriousness, and, if you’re into such things, the stars and planets have been in some unusual alignments recently.

At this particular moment, I don’t really care what’s causing this emotional wasteland. I am tired of feeling flat. I’m tired of not feeling the joy of living that I would like to. I have decided that I need to bring that joy back into my life. In an effort to try to re-capture that emotion, I have been looking at what makes me happy and what makes me feel joy.

I need to dance more. I love the feeling of fun and freedom that engulfs me when I dance. I am not very good at line dancing or following prescribed steps, but I love moving with the music and letting my body move and flow however it wants. This does not make my dancing particularly acceptable socially, but I really don’t care. It makes me happy.

I need to spend more time with people who make me guffaw. Laughter is good for the soul, but guffawing is essential to the betterment of the soul. There are people in my life, many of whom I don’t spend much time with for various reasons, who can make me laugh so hard that my stomach hurts and my ability to refrain from wetting my pants is seriously compromised. I need to reconnect with these people and enjoy some good old-fashioned belly laughs.

I need to play more. I love the game scrabble but I have not played it for years. I also love to play charades. I would like to find a way to put games back in my life. Real, live, games that you play with other people, not just computer games or apps. A little good-natured trash talking with friends while playing these games is also good for the soul.

I need to release some of the “have to’s” from my life. I try to attain some serious goals each and every day. All of these goals are important for maintaining, or even improving, my mental and physical health. However, when you have a daily list of 12 things you need to accomplish every day, all of which are outside the normal daily chores and obligations, you have to really manage your time. What I’m learning is that while it’s good to have goals, it leaves me constantly feeling like I need to do, and be, more. I’ve decided that it’s okay to cut myself some slack and take a day or two a week off from these goals. While they’re admirable, they shouldn’t dominate every waking minute. Even God took a day off.

I need to fire my inner story teller. Jill Bolte Taylor, author of the book “My Stroke of Insight,” refers to your negative inner voice as your storyteller. That inner voice keeps a constant monologue going about what’s happening in your life and too often the storyteller is just making shit up. I am trying to let go of those long, sad, stories where I always seem to be the misunderstood heroine who everyone picks on. I know those stories have very little to do with reality, but boy, are they pervasive and hard to let go of. I’m going to try to re-write my stories.

I need to love myself. Boy, don’t we hear that from just about every self-help philosophy ever devised? However, just because it feels repetitive and redundant sometimes doesn’t make it any less true. I’m not just talking about the “I’m okay, you’re okay” type of thoughts, but I’m talking about the “I am amazing” thoughts. I am amazing and so are you; it’s about time we just accepted those facts and learned to appreciate ourselves.

I need to open myself up for emotional and physical love more often.  I realize I need a volunteer to help me with this one, but loving and being loved are crucial to staying young and joyous. I have been single for over 10 years now, and I have lived some of those years like a nun and some of those years like an alley cat. It’s time for me to find a balance somewhere between those two extremes and figure out what an adult relationship looks like.

I need to finally let go of the people in my life who bring no joy to my world. I don’t need for every moment with friends to be shits and giggles, but I have too many people in my world who only bring their sadness and frustration to my door. I’m tired of that negative energy and I am moving away from people who don’t know how to be happy. If you’re not able to bring joy, please quit knocking.

It would be so easy to blame all of the outside things going on in the world for the numbing of my emotions. God knows there’s a lot going on that makes numbness feel like a good idea. That feels like a cop out to me. Instead, I am going to try and shift each of these things and see if I can’t find a little joy in the world again. If anyone wants to join me in this quest, let me know. Let’s go dance like nobody’s watching.