Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Joy time

The serendipity of the season reminds me how good it feels to be delighted, amused, surprised. When I think back on the year, I realize that entire days have gone by when I deprived myself (because of busyness) from including a pleasurable activity. This is not to say that each day didn’t bring moments of joy. But I am referring to things just for me, like getting a massage, painting with watercolors, going to a movie, reading uninterrupted for an hour, taking a long walk. I have decided that next year, I will begin each day with a simple plan for joy. Every day I will choose an activity I LOVE to do. No matter how much my family needs me or how many commitments I have, a day will not go by without a large dose of joy of my own choosing. I make a list of my thirty favorite pastimes, including those that I haven’t done in awhile (enough for a solid month of fun). Next to each, I write what has prevented me from engaging in the activity. When I am conscious of the obstacles, I am able to think of ways to remove them. Tomorrow, I begin a joyous new era. ******************************************************************** The great use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it. —James Adams Making more money was once my excuse for why I didn’t make more time for my family. I was driven and ambitious. The next plateau was where my dream house would be built. The next vacation beach was the one I would relax on. But when I arrived, I still wasn’t satisfied and I spent my time making more plans. When my grandmother’s heart began to fail, my Poppy conscientiously cooked meals, scrubbed every surface clean, ran the errands. He was now a very busy man. Yet every evening after dinner, he stopped working to savor a peppermint ice cream cone and a slow dance with Nana on the terrace. Afterwards, he tucked her into bed, making certain she noticed his cool hands on her forehead. He did this because, looking back over a lifetime of moments, he knew he would not regret a few spots on the wall, but rather that they had not danced in the warm night. Why must we wait until “goodbye” reveals how much we cherish each other—what a treasure our time spent with loved ones truly is? When my children ask for my time, I often struggle with the momentary desire to finish “my work.” But once I filter out what is not important, I remember that paying attention is a gift and is the right thing to do. Nothing is more compelling to me than a family moon walk in our neighborhood followed by a good story read together by nightlight. It is that simple.


Anonymous said...

Joy time every day is a great idea. I struggle finding that moment but I think it a worthy effort! Thanks,

lisamcd said...

i just tuned in. i love your writing, and your gentle ,simple reminders to savor our precious moments and not get side tracked with trivial, unimportant things.