Thoughts On Joy

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about joy. And I’m not talking about Christmas joy or people named Joy, but the actual feeling that the word represents. Let me explain:

There are things that bring each of us joy, and there are also things that many of us think should bring us joy. And while these activities don’t typically align, I’ve noticed that many people (myself included), think that they should. My recent realization? This is a load of crap.

I can’t tell you how many times someone has said something to me like “I need to read more” or “I really should start a running routine.” We tell ourselves that we should be doing things because, frankly, that’s what everyone else is doing, and it makes a lot of us feel better to fit in.

For example, I always feel like I should just looove cooking. Maybe because I’m a Jewish woman and it’s supposed to be part of my identity, or maybe because I love food. But you know what? I find ZERO joy in cooking. I made homemade turkey meatballs the other night, and while I was wrist-deep in raw meat, I was thinking about how I would have so much rather ordered in, or even microwaved a burrito. (Note: I cook my lunches each week in advance. That’s about the extent of my culinary skills.)

Life is too damn short to do things because they bring other people joy. So I made a list of things that bring me joy:
1. Sitting in coffee shops and reading/writing/blogging/chatting with friends. Just anything in a coffee shop.
2. Photography, specifically portrait photography.
3. Calligraphy; I love how relaxed I feel when I’m carefully crafting letters.
4. Listening to music and going to live music shows.
5. Cuddling on the couch and watching old movies (always down to watch You’ve Got Mail).
6. Getting a meal with friends or family, and trying new foods.
7. Walking; it’s underrated and in my opinion the best way to explore your surroundings!
8. Working out; I love going to the gym and taking small group classes.
9. Traveling; my wanderlust is unquenchable.
10. Arts & crafts; I love spending $80 making something I could have bought for $15. ;)
11. Hosting parties. 

You guys: if you don’t like reading, don’t do it. If you don’t like arts and crafts, don’t do them. If you don’t like to travel, don’t spend a ton of money on a trip that you’ll spend wishing you were home. On the flip side, find time for things that you really enjoy. Life is too short.