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Joy as a Focus

The last few months I’ve been focusing on Joy, it’s been a little different than the writing I’ve done previously because, well just having a specific topic to talk about and sticking to it hasn’t been a thing, even when I was in college and had more rules on my writing. But I’ve grown and I’ve learned a few things.

I kind of like having a direction to aim my writing. So we’ll keep it for now. Whether I’ll do two months on it is still to be determined but eh, the world is still spinning so who knows what the next day holds.

The reason I started with joy is because with anything you have to know your why. You can’t really make any progress unless you know where you’re going and you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know what you care about.

Trust me, you’ll fiddle with a website for three, four years and change it each year because it wasn’t quite the right fit.

This website is what I’m talking about. I started it as a way to teach crafts to lefties because the books are all written for right-handed people and I so had to jerry rig what I was making because the images were backwards and it wasn’t like the mirror helped switch that.

Then I tried to do some bookkeeping style stuff because I like details and finance and the basics of it. Didn’t write nearly so much as I thought I had to say.

Then I tried to do more content marketing style stuff and get people to pay me to write. I’m still happy to do it but it led me to the thing that I realized about myself while working as driver.

I like being my own boss. I like writing and teaching and learning new things. But I don’t want to sit in a classroom where there are people who don’t want to learn what I’m talking about because it’s a required course.

Then COVID happened and I sat at home for two months with the internet and my roommate for company. And I got to think.

And think. And try to get more projects done and take on a ‘three things on the list’ habit that really derailed any progress. That particular tactic did not work for me.

Lessons on Learning

And I looked at all my bookshelves and realized just how many self-improvement books I owned. And what I got from each one.

See, I didn’t come at them all like they were going to hold the secrets to the universe. I looked at them as someone else’s experience and if I found a nugget in there, well that’d be nice.

It helps that I was taught from a young age that if you didn’t like the sermon or didn’t like how someone was teaching at church, that it was your job to give yourself a lesson on the subject. I was also not allowed to be ‘bored’. That’s a discussion for another day, and it sounds worse than it really was.

So every time I sit down to read a book on someone who’s lauded as an expert in the field, well, I look at it as a way to pick their brain. And since I like buying used books that have other people’s thoughts written in, I get more minds to pick.

YEAH, I know it’s sacrilege to write in books. I’m a heathen, it’s something that I accepted at some time in high school. I’m pretty certain that copy of Bless Me, Ultima is still running around somewhere.

You know the one where I ran out of margins for writing my assessments. Sticky notes fall out to those of you who want to try that argument.

Figure Out Your Learning Style

The most important thing in life, in my humble opinion, is to learn how you learn best. It uncomplicates a million things if you just don’t try to learn something the wrong way for you.

If you need to write everything down, do it.
If you need to listen to things because reading drives you crazy, do it.
If you need to read whatever it is in complete silence or it won’t stick, do it.

I’ll feel sorry for that silence bit but you know, if it works, that’s what matters.

I’m a firm believer that if you’re over 18 and not hurting anyone (animals are people, too), you do what works, it’ll all come out in the wash.

I’m a kinesthetic learner. I have to do something while I learn. Tag it into is some song that I’m listening to, or knitting something while I pay attention in a calculus class.

And before you question the knitting bit, please remember that I can do it and have a fully engaged conversation with several people while I’m doing it. I don’t need to look except when I change rows and even then it’s a glance down to make sure the tension is right.

Picking Your End Destination

The whole point of the “Find Your Joy” exercise is to decide what direction you’re aiming for. I personally want every moment of my life to be filled with joy, even if it isn’t always full of happiness.

I think it’s important to separate the two. Happiness is the good feeling that comes when your work transfer comes through and it’s the last big piece to play in from the upcoming move. Anyone want to guess what my good news was this week? It’s relief, it’s joy, it’s a little rubbing it in because you’ve worried it to death for the last three weeks.

It can last a little while, you can set a deadline to enjoy it. But you want to know what joy looks like that isn’t happiness?

It’s the heavy lifting involved in moving your stuff into the truck and breaking a nail or six. It’s doing the final detox and hating the smell of your toilet cleaner, but using it because it does work the best. It’s doing the nerve wracking drive over the mountains and start of winter and you’re concerned about sudden snow and not having a true under layer of salt to at least make it a little safer.

Story Time

My mom is from Minnesota, she taught me to drive in snow. Her words where “Ya don’t. But if you have to, drive like it’s a tornado downpour.” Which basically meant, going the 70MPH speed limit like everyone else in Texas was not a good idea.

I can vividly remember one time I was driving a French Canadian couple to the airport in Dallas during December and it was snowing. They asked about salting the roads. I told them that they’d salted it last night because of the threat but there wasn’t a build up of salt because the last time they’d needed to was February of last year. We passed four accidents that day.

The fourth one was memorable because and hour earlier, we’d seen that particular truck (decals were the exact same as well as the plates) that had honked at us for not going 70 (I was plodding along at a nice 45 with snow coming down on the highway) and blown past us.

Rushing into Things

I was thinking about how fast we all get into new tasks, new projects, new everything, and then like the New Year’s Resolutions they are, they fall by the wayside.

Sometimes it could be that we take on too much, sometimes it’s not enough. It’s about figuring out our own pace and keeping on going. I’ve got a post about retelling the story of the tortoise and the hare on here that keeps coming back to me.

I can see it now that I didn’t see earlier in my life, because I was too busy rushing to finish things. I learned to run before I learned to walk. And I approach life the same way.

Sometimes, it’s a very good thing. I go too fast to really understand all the implications of something that most people won’t do, and do it. Like leave everything I know and love and embark on a new adventure where I know no one, and nothing and learn to love it.

So much so, that I’m in the process of doing it a second time.

Note to self: We are not planning a move over a year in advance. Too much time to think.

Other times, it can get me into trouble. Not a lot of trouble, but yeah, my mother gave me her lead foot. Neither of us have tickets for it. No, that goes to my dad ignoring me when I said it was a speed trap and he was like, it’s 5:30 in the morning.

Cue me calling mom three minutes later giggling while the cop looks at us strangely because we’re all wide awake while he writes my dad a ticket for going 73 in a 55. Sure, it was almost ten years ago, but I still like to tell the story.

Your Homework

So back to the original part, of looking for your joy. It’s important and as we had a rambling past about why I had to learn the hard way what I really wanted was because I didn’t really understand what I wanted first. I started setting directions and then figuring out they were not where I wanted to go.

So we focus on our joy, we see where it comes from and now we get to see where we want it take us.

Find five things that you want to happen in five years. This is going to be a part of your fabulous five. Think of it as a form of visualizations. But a little more concrete.

For example mine currently are:

#marriage to my best friend-have to find him
#write a bestselling book-still debating genre
#travel 40+ countries-might have to revisit the amount of countries but I’m gonna try
#speak a dozen languages-I have a few under my belt
#debt-free-this is probably the one that will get done no matter what

I’m going to explain why I used the # symbol over a series of numbers in some lesson. I haven’t written it yet, but I think it’s important to know that there is a purpose to not using a list series.

So have fun, don’t take anything off the table. In all honesty, I would make a list of 15, 20, 25 things and then find the five that you want the most. It’s similar to an exercise by Warren Buffett, but I decided I’d make it work for me.

As always find a little joy this week, even if it’s only reading this,

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