My family does and says a lot of crazy, awesome, stupid things, but one aspect of my family that I love the most is seeing them take pleasure and comfort in finding the simple joys of life.
This weekend at the beach my dad and I decided to go to a craft show. Why? Don’t ask. If you know either one of us, you know the two of us at a craft show is lethal. I get obsessed with anything “all natural” and he gets obsessed with anything that he thinks would look good in our house or random things he thinks my mom would like. Side note: what he thinks looks good and what my mom likes are on opposite sides of the spectrum.
We got to a booth that sold handmade fish signs and my dad fell in love.
A few months ago my dad had gone deep sea fishing in Costa Rica where he caught a huge sailfish. He wanted to get it mounted for our house, but the fish was 8 feet long and would cost him about $1,500. I could tell he was a little saddened by it, although he would never admit it. My dad found the same fish he caught in a miniature scale for $45. Needless to say, that was now his fish.
Before I even got out of the car, my dad was already hanging his new trophy. After he turned on all the lights in the house and gazed at his new wall art for a while, he came upstairs to report that it was perfect and it saved him $1,450.
If you know my mom, you know that she makes any situation more fun. Last time we were together at the beach, she created a game. This is not unlike her to go out of her way to entertain us and bring a smile on our faces. Her game was to go to the store and buy the most intricate and rarest shells she could find, separately place them along the beach, then watch. Instantly you see small children filled with joy, old men thrilled about their new find, and every onlooker keeled over in a fit of laughter .
Although both of these are small instances of my family living a life of simple joy, it reminds me of one of the most important things in life — pure joy.
Today I am weighed down by the world. I am exhausted with keeping up and staying put together. Harsh words, bad grades, a million obligations- it adds up. I watch myself get caught up in all of these things and don’t know how to get myself out. I forget to step back and realize the power of simple joy. Sometimes we enter seasons where nothing seems to go right. Depression seeps in and friends sneak out the back door. This the time that these simple acts and a change of attitude become your life line.
It’s easy to only hear the bad and listen to lies being told about you, but giving those who don’t know you the power to define you is toxic. When anxiety sets in and you forget who you are for a second, plaster the kind words your friends or family have said about you on your heart. Words such as, “you’re beautiful” and “you’re loved” are true for every single one of you. It takes active work to find the silver lining and joy in all situations, but it is worth it, trust me.
I am so thankful for a family that not only treasures this act, but cultivates it. I truly believe that having a mindset that prioritizes joy has caused me to see my life through a lens of thanksgiving rather than grief. Even in the darkest of times, there is good to be had.
“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain... To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices - today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.”
As you roll out of bed in the morning, I encourage you to seek joy over anything else. Life is too short to not look on the bright side. Go find your fake fish and put those exotic shells out just to share a laugh. Enjoy the little things each day has to offer, for it’s there we find our pure, simple joy!