Where is the joY?
Does it ever feel like your life is just a never-ending list of To Dos?
Are you exhausted at the end of the day as a result of the tasks you've scheduled for yourself?
I've been reflecting on a question a dear friend recently shared with me, one she had been pondering in her own life: where is the joy?
Daily life is largely logistics, especially for those who care for others - children, parents, animals, etc. I often joke that the logistical gymnastics of getting my three kids to and from their various activities each week is like a full-time job.
I feel needed, if burdened, trading texts with three parents about my kids' carpooling and playdates. I don't necessarily enjoy it, but it's satisfying to know my efforts get everyone where they need to be.
But when that's all there is - logistics, schedules, caring for others - eventually it catches up with you.
The other night I was reflecting on another day "done" adequately: I had accomplished most of the day's work tasks, made time for my own self-care, fed and transported my three kids. Cleaning up the dinner dishes while my husband was putting our youngest to bed, I realized I was achingly tired and depleted.
All I wanted was to lie down, but a quiet voice whispered that if I sat down at the computer I could check a few more things off the To Do list. The moment I felt the blue light wash over my face I knew it was a mistake.
Where's the joy in a To Do existence? And how can I move beyond the feeling that the list never stops growing, and who I am and what I do is never enough?
Here's the key: joy, while purposeful, has no purpose or outcome other than its own pursuit. It's not a To Do, but rather a To Be.
I'm no expert, but I'm working on shifting to a To Be mentality more often, especially at night after the kids go to bed. That means forgoing my old habit of sitting down at the computer at 9pm. Instead, I'll sit down at the piano, have a cup of tea in front of the fireplace, chat on the phone with a dear friend, go to bed earlier for a longer pre-sleep read, or practice a restorative yoga pose that beckons ease.
I encourage you to put as much energy towards your To Be practice as you do your To Do list. See what happens when you cultivate joy for its own sake. It doesn't take long to be effective - take a few minutes tonight to shift your mindset and see what happens!