Is it bad that I’ve been experiencing joy in the middle of the pandemic? I have been slowing down, taking small steps through each day, and laughing a lot more. Yes, I know it may feel out of place, but I think that’s what keeps me hopeful during this tumultuous time.
Most people understand joy as the emotion of great delight. Something exceptionally decent happens to you, or you find pleasure in an experience that leaves you elated. There is value in this moment and experience. It’s more than a big happiness. I believe if you can tap into it from an authentic place your outlook even during the darkest hour will change to one of bliss.
I felt overwhelmed and gave into the pressure to do and be so much during this quarantine downtime. I was sinking fast with the daily tasks to sustain. I felt obligated to cook several meals a day while working from home, which was impossible. I was zooming for Sophia’s class and therapy sessions while checking in on family daily and mourning. I insisted on daily walks outdoor for our health. All that I was doing began to take a toll. Luckily for me my good friend came to visit for a couple of days to give me a hand. Her presence and reassurance were exactly the affirmation I needed. I realized the pressure I was putting on myself was not necessary, it was stealing any joy I had coming. A deep sigh, some deep cleaning, and reflections allowed me to open up and let go. The tears and honest reflection freed me from my own expectations. Being busy is not living a joyous life, especially one riddled with imagined impossible expectations. I had to do the work to get in the flow of life again.
It didn’t happen overnight or in a week. Slowly I started to build an authentic routine for myself and my household that was approachable. It led me to enjoy the little things again. I remember having a rough day and feeling like I just wanted to lay down. It was time to get Sophia ready for bed. I was giving her a bath, listening to music, watching her chase the bubbles in her bath. She looks at me and smiles in a way that tells me this moment was joyous for her. My kid was exceptionally happy with me caring for her in a thoughtful way that transferred to pure joy for me. Yes, my day was long, it was all worth it to see that joyous smile in that moment.
This experience was a catalyst for me and I began finding joy in the little moments. Each moment I found joy affirmed for me how the simple pleasure in an experience can change my outlook. I began my day expecting to find great delight in small doses. Nothing about my situation changed, just my mindset. I felt relieved and refreshed at the same time. I could see the fruits of my labor paying off.
I know it’s not easy living each day with uncertainty. There is no joy in worrying about what has not happened yet. Letting go of impossible expectations and getting into a flow that was right for me is the greatest gift received from the pandemic pause. I will do my best to maintain this joy. I am authentically growing joy in my daily tasks, staying present in the emotion, and pivoting when I feel it slipping away. I can write so much about joy, but that will have to wait for another day.