Seven days ago, my friend celebrated his 40th birthday. As we were are all happy for him, you can see him reflect on his life very much like I did when I hit that age. Actually, every decade does this to us.
As I talk to young adults hitting 20 (such as my son in two months) I can just feel the pressure they are under. Am I making the right decision with college? Is this the career choice for me? Will I make enough money? Will I make my parents proud? Is there a way to use dining dollars for beer?
I would never want to be 20 again.
Then there’s 30! Thirty is great if you have your career and your married but for the majority…they’re not!
You got through college and then got the job, but the pay is horrible and you’re barely paying off your college debt. Or maybe you’ve been working after graduating high school and you’re thinking, now what? Is this it? And to top it off, you’re single and your clock is ticking!! Talk about pressure there!
And now to 40, with my friend reflecting on his life and the reason I’m writing this to begin with.
Does he have JOY?
As I titled this Joy is not a response, it’s a constant feeling. If you touch something hot your response is to pull away. Joy on the other hand has to come from inside you. To be in joy.
I believe that no matter what decade you’re in, you have to experience joy. If you sit there and analyze your life and start to regret the things you never did, or get depressed about all the wrong decisions you’ve made, how would you ever find everyday joy?
Dwelling on things that have happened to you definitely isn’t healthy. Trust me, I know! I could write a book on all the garbage that I’ve been put through. I believe it makes us who we are though. I’m a better Mother because of the things I went through as a child, and I’m grateful for life everyday because my Father died too young.
As for the next decades, I can’t answer them yet, however I can tell you that my only concern about upcoming birthdays is being healthy, and having my family and friends at my side. Keep in mind that people are living longer and mental health is just as important as physical health.
If you start bringing joy now, it will become easier as you get older, and it will become all you know. Now, I’m not saying it fixes all hardships. However, it could turn your day around!
In the middle of your horrible Monday morning next week, find joy for a couple minutes sipping your hot cup of coffee. On your walk into work, look around you, enjoy the trees, hear the birds, or listen to your favorite song. Bring joy to the conversations you have by giving an extra smile, just being happy, or doing something nice. Be present with yourself, OFFLINE.
Find your enjoyment. Enjoy your work. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your life. Bring the joy.