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Finding Joy in Adulting

Where’s my joy? It’s hiding behind my indigestion. It’s hiding behind my bad dream and my anxiety. Sometimes it hides behind the news.

My joy waits patiently for me to catch a glimpse of its color and the smell. It never seems to tire to be available when I’m ready to let it in. It bubbles up in my throat over a story of wonder or a beautiful picture.

I’ve learned to allow it in for a brief play period, only when it’s appropriate and only when there’s time. My joy is always there but my back is turned focusing on adult things like life and schedules and tasks.

Sometimes my joy lays buried in hurt like burning embers still warm but blanketed by my emotions with my mind whirring to find understanding. Sometimes my joy feels all dried up drooping like an unwatered plant waiting to be remembered.

My joy sits patiently waiting for me to nod in agreement saying it’s time to come out but only for a moment.

I’m wondering who the gatekeeper is? I sit in silence and have a conversation with her. She’s the worrier and the scout always looking ahead for the clear path, the safe path. She’s the one feeling so deeply and learning from every experience. She’s the student sitting up straight at her desk with her hair pulled back in a tight bun learning from her teachers.

I take a breath and politely ask, can we have a day when the stage dissolves and the audience with it? Can we spend a day being in the present, finding things to do that make me smile? We deserve to relax and be who we are in the moment. I assure her we’ve had enough practice to be safe. Let’s go on vacation.

Today's Affirmation: I relax knowing I can handle all that needs to be handled

By Andrew Taylor

I kind of exploded inside, and joy shot out of me. I began my roll down the grassy hill. I bent my knees up small, took a deep breath and I was off. My arms shot out sideways. I gathered speed. My eyes squinted. Sky and grass, dazzle and dark. I went on forever, My arms were covered with dents, holes, squashed grass. Before I knew it I was at the bottom. The game was over. The door of the classroom closed behind me. I can smell chalk dust, and hear the voice of teachers, to make me forget my hill

Participants’ Reflections:

  • The word ‘adulting’ came into my head, this business of life and living. It’s hard to find a balance. Hard to find joy. It’s a balancing act. Sometimes life tips too much into adulting for me. Then I can strive for joy too. Yesterday, I visited with my grandkids and it was hard to practice social distancing. I pulled out my sketch pad and looked at the sky and the clouds. This was a joy.

  • My daughter visited with my grandkids. We all floated in the water. When the adults got out of water, I watched the sheer joy of the kids in the water in their own world. It reminded me of my childhood. We would walk three miles to a swimming pool. You need to go through what you go through in order to get to the joy. It was worth it.

  • During the meditation, in my mind I designed a beaded gift for my granddaughter. I could have beaten myself up for not trying to clear my mind. It was a fun thing to do, it felt joyful.

  • Yesterday, I had a hard conversation with a friend. We get caught up with too much adulting. During the meditation, I wondered what if I had treated the conversation as if we were children. I am thankful we can find joy, like being here with you all in this meditation group. There is peace in it.

  • I talked to a wise professor about the issue of balance in raising kids, educating myself and being an adult. It is hard to do it in a short period. Instead, extend the period over which you look at it. In a joyless period, it doesn't mean you have a joyless life. Things balance out over the longer period.

  • I am thinking of how one can be sharing on a serious topic, and then they move their camera to share an incredibly beautiful view of nature or water which is joyful. We can recognize both the serious and the joy.

  • It’s yin and yang. While I am in this insular vacation spot with my family, there are constant reminders of the outside world. In the big picture, all the people who forgot to balance, we are reaping the problems.

  • Most days I’m adulting. And I experience moments of joy: sitting here, greeting everyone. This brings me joy. Looking at nature. I have to remember to look for joy.

  • For 30 years, I’ve lived by a simple principle. If I’m not centered, my job is to get centered. If I am centered, my job is to do service and do my creative work. I pick up trash from the streets as a service, without judgment. And I focus on the joy of doing my creative work and service. It’s about being in the moment enjoying it.

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