The difference between JOY & HAPPINESS

Some days I feel like things are going to be all right. Other days I feel like my head is going to explode. Reading the news plus my fucked up life can really mess up my head.

I refuse.

But man is it hard. 

I've been eating basically the same thing for 7? 8 months? Started in early October. I have all these tricks to limiting the pain. Doesn't always work. I do yoga all of the time. I'm more limber now than I was as a kid during gymnastics. I think the yoga somehow must help counteract the darkness. Sometimes I boogy down because moving my middle around helps jiggle my insides. 

I told you I'm weird. I've always been weird. But I can feel the old self, the one who cared so much about what people were thinking and let the insecurity rule the roost - she is fading out. The artist that doesn't give a flying fuck is finally emerging. It's been a long, and extremely painful switching of the guards. And it's not totally over. We're all works in progress anyway. 

Never complete. That's what I should have written somewhere when I die. 

We somehow think that we're going to "arrive" at some point in our lives. Ha!

Well, maybe other people are more enlightened than me and arrive at that place that I keep driving around and thinking I'm going to encounter. Pulling up to it, getting out of the car and thinking "finally! I have my shit together! I feel confident all of the time. I accept myself for exactly who I am. Everything is totally in the right place right now."

Who the FUCK ever says that. And yet, we all keep running after that. Right? Especially Americans. It's in our Constitution. We are all in constant pursuit of the h-word because some old rich white dudes promised it was ours to take.

Ha.

Jokes on us, right?

Happiness. 

What a pile of crap.

Now, don't think I've gotten all cynical.

I just think it's such a loaded word.

Joy. Now that word means something to me. And feels 100% attainable, even in this messed up body. 

Happiness is a special colored orchid that only grows in a special forest that's a few acres wide.

Joy is a dandelion we walk by every day but forget to enjoy. That weird little weed that manages to grow out of a cement crack on a city sidewalk, despite all obstacles. Dandelions are everywhere but we never appreciate them. Remember when you were little and didn't realize that dandelions weren't "special?" Or ugly? Or a weed?

Yep. Me too. We're always searching for the orchid instead of realizing we have a bouquet of flowers right at our fingertips.

What is joy?

Laughing with a stranger in an elevator. 

The soft kiss from a child on our cheek.

Walking on a spring day after a long winter.

Sun after rain.

The hug of a new friend.

The hug of an old friend.

The kiss of a new lover.

The sip of hot chocolate after ice skating.

The first breath in a new country after getting off the plane.

A toddler stumbling into your arms when first learning to walk.

The first sip of wine after a long day.

Greasy french fries in a diner after midnight.

So many things, I can go on and on. 

The thing about when your life is a lot of shitty moments strung together (pun intended??), when you DO get a joyful moment, you soak it up as much as you can. Because you're not sure when another one will come along. 

Instead most of us - as I did before all of this - we keep this fantasy in our head of what it will feel like when "we'll be happy." When I get that job. When I lose weight. When I find a partner. When I have a house. When my business takes off.

Happiness is too tied with achievenment, physical things in our culture.

These "gurus" online that promise happiness frustrate me.

You know when you're going to feel IT most? When you're not looking for it.

It's just how it works.

When we stop looking for the Big One, THE HAPPINESS and instead focus on the little joys, we can find it. 

The trick - I think, I'm still working this out in real time - is to find as MANY joyful moments as you can - and then string them together.

Instead, we often focus on what DIDN'T work that day, right? The traffic, the irritating work obligation, the annoying thing our spouse or kid did.

When things are going well, it's SO hard to focus on the joy, the good moments. I know. Because I was often focusing on the difficult moments too. Especially in New York! 

When things are going decent, we keep wanting more than what we have.

Now, I'd give anything to take the lessons I've learned and re-enter my old body. I'd do it all so differently. Maybe I would. Who the hell knows. I'd probably forget shortly after re-entering....we're funny that way.

Hindsight.

All I can keep doing is keep looking for any moment I can to soak up. Like right now, listening to a song that talks about letting words slip out while I happen to be in the "flow" while writing this piece.

I'm grateful for that. I lost a lot in this mess. But I did find this writing voice.

I have to keep finding as many of THESE kinds of moments as I can. That's the only way forward. Otherwise, the hard ones will pull me under. 

And that is not going to happen.

What are your favorite moments? What brings you joy on a typical day? The dorkier and more vulnerable, the better.....