Looking for joy

Days like today, when I’m a little tired and a little disappointed in my morning run and a little at-loose-ends, are the days when I’m circumspect enough to think about happiness.  Don’t get me wrong- my life is a pretty amazing place and I am definitely in general filled with gratitude for almost all aspects of it (in other words, I’m not in that place where you are asking friends to share their favorite cat video to cheer you up).  I simply sometimes find myself wondering if I can do a bit better with the whole “being joyful” thing, consistent with my ongoing wondering if I can do a bit better with…well, everything.

I started with this list from Jeff Haden, who is an “influencer” on LinkedIn, and someone whom I often find provides high-value content.  From this list, the only one I probably should do a bit more is spending time doing things that I excel at- though there is a devil on my shoulder asking if this can be a recipe for boredom at a certain point.  I admit it- I like taking on new challenges, and I do derive pleasure from succeeding at something that is not easy for me (see: running half marathons).  Maybe moderation on both sides of that particular equation is best.

If you are familiar with the work of behavioral economist Dan Ariely, this interview with him really resonated with me.  His response to the question about the thing that consistently gets in the way of his happiness?  Oh, my, do I know that one.  I’m spending more time these days before I agree to do something thinking about, “Will I spend the night before this is due/ this happens stressed out and regretting saying yes?”  If the answer is that I likely will, then my answer is no.  Graciously, of course.

And, of course, Gretchen Rubin‘s observation about, “Unhappy people don’t have fewer happy experiences as happy people, they just think about them less.”   I think modern culture and modern life make it so hard for us to be IN a moment and realize that it is pretty spectacular.  Ferris Bueller was wise beyond his years when he said:

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

And perhaps miss out on some happiness too.

Happy weekend, friends.  I just got done enjoying an evening walk with Olivia in weather that is better than we deserve for July.  If that’s not a recipe for a bit of joy, I don’t know what is.