Friday, August 17, 2007

Trying to win, take 2

Well, in case you hadn't figured it out, I didn't win a new JOYS filing system in that last contest, despite the terrifying photos of what I call my files.

However, Jessica over at Kerflop is giving away another one to the lucky person who best answers the question: What brings you Joy?

So here's my entry -- What Brings Me Joy

It would be really easy for me to write down a list of things that bring me joy, for example, a big piece of cake, a great book, puppies, and going out for a really nice dinner with my husband (not necessarily in that order). And it would be true that all those things bring me joy.

However, I think true joy really comes from within.

How many of us know people who have no business being happy, considering the horrible things that have happened to them, and yet they are? Conversely, there are people who seemingly have everything, including the big intangible things like good kids and a good marriage, but they get no joy from any of it. How can that be?

The answer, I think, is largely based in attitude. I used to have a friend whose father really enjoyed life. He would marvel at a particularly interesting flower, or savor a satisfying meal. And he was never too self-conscious to tell someone about it. Many of the things he enjoyed, his kids, his garden, his house, were a product of his hard work. He took great pride in those things. He would never boast about them, but you could tell just by looking at him that he loved them. However, there were lots of other things that he loved just because he appreciated them. He loved to meet new people, go new places, and try new things. He read a lot, and loved to discuss theories, methods, and events. But he hadn't had a particularly charmed life, he just knew how to live it in the way that brought him the most joy.

I know another person who literally grew up on Park Avenue in New York. He was raised by his sisters and the domestic staff. He had a trust fund at his disposal from the age of 21, and he attended only the best schools. He liked to golf, which he did frequently, and one time he even went over to Scotland so he could play at St. Andrews. Apparently he was popular with models, because he dated lots of them. I knew him fairly well, but I never saw him really enjoy anything. He was a sharp guy, and he always had a witty comment ready, but he never seemed comfortable with himself.

So why did one person have so much joy, and the other so little?

I think the difference lies in their respective reactions to the million things we all experience every day. Great things, good things, bad things, and horrible things happen to all of us. But we are affected differently because of how we allow ourselves to be affected. Do we appreciate good things, or do we take them for granted? Do we bounce back from things that upset us, or do we let them drag us down with them? If I'm too busy letting things upset me, there's no way I can enjoy even the things that should be obvious, like my kids, or a free afternoon.

Given a choice, I'd much rather emulate my friend's father. It was because he was so at peace with himself that he was able to appreciate so many of the things he saw, heard, or felt. If I achieve even half of that peace in my lifetime, that would truly bring me joy.

1 comment:

LLA said...

Beautifully put.

(If it were up to me, you would so totally win...)