I like to write about joy. It’s been a thing that I’ve tried to keep nearby ever since my college ski coach told me to “ski for the joy of it.” I love that sentiment. (But now I’m sort of realizing that he was probably gently telling me that I was really bad at skiing. I don’t blame him.) Lately I’ve been trying to identify what makes me joyful. Not just happy, but joyful.
Our culture is so obsessed with happiness and trying to be happy. I think that’s the wrong way to go. We should focus on what makes us joyful. We should focus on those things that make our eyes light up when we come across them. We should focus on those things that we look forward to all day before we can see them or experience them. Happiness is kind of nebulous as a feeling.
I think some people think happiness is just an absence of sadness or anger. That’s not the case. Joy is the thing that people should focus on and cultivate. You’re not sure when you’re happy, but you definitely know when you’re joyful. I love experiencing those things that make my eyes light up and keep an sustainable smile on my face. Those are the things I like going back to, time and time again.
A lot of people like to think that Netflix makes them happy. I’m one of them. After a long day or week, sometimes I just want to shove some sitcoms into my eyeballs and not think about the world for a while. That’s great, but when I do it every night, it feels a little bit different. It’s the modus operandi for the night. It’s hard to get joy out of that routine.
This is in opposition to when I get a turkey sandwich for lunch. I’m usually telling my coworker about it, I have a big smile on my face, and I feel pretty content with life when I’m chowing down on it. It’s fantastic. It’s not just lunch, it’s something to look forward to, savor, and enjoy sometime again.
I’ve tried to cultivate those moments of joy in my life. When I know it’s something that makes me joyful, I’ll put away some time and only focus on that one thing. The Men in Blazers podcast is one of those things. Also, watching soccer or running (most days I’m joyful about it) or a good movie I want to see. I remember that The Dark Knight Rising was the first movie I ever bought tickets to ahead of time for. I talked about it a lot and was so excited to go see it in the movie theater. When I walked back into my apartment, I couldn’t even talk to my roommate about it, I enjoyed it that much. (I also went and saw it the next night.)
I know that everyone has those things they are joyful for. We should do a better job at finding them, cultivating them, and making them rise to the top of importance of our day.