Lost My Joy
When was the last time you felt joy in the little things? Have you been so busy worrying over your suddenly empty nest that finding joy seems to be as far away as the moon?
When my mother passed away and the youngest son moved out a few months later, all I could do was feel lost. I didn’t seem to have the same joy I’d once had. Like all of us who have raised our kids through adulthood, I experienced the sudden deafening sound of silence, the sudden stop to constant appointments and the feeling that life had lost it’s joy.
I couldn’t relax and enjoy the quiet. I guess I just needed to feel like I was still needed. After all, I’d spent the past 30 years taking care of others, that was my joy.
I Found Joy
- One of the most surprising (to many people, anyway) is the joy and peace I find in folding freshly laundered clothes and towels. This practice of folding each item and placing it in the pile to be put away is basically a mindless task. It brings a sense of peace as it gives me time to relax my mind and focus on nothing. I also get a sense of joy in doing a task completely without putting it off. Is there a simple task that you do mindlessly that brings you joy?
- I find myself laughing and being childlike when I spend time with my grandkids as they discover the world. Blowing giant bubbles and trying to catch them. Chasing butterflies around the yard. Watching a child’s eyes light up when they discover a bird’s nest filled with eggs. If you haven’t been blessed with grandkids, spend time volunteering at day cares, libraries and other places you can be with kids.
- Sheets hung outside to dry and then put on my bed is a joy I’ve carried this tradition on from my grandmother. Sleeping on freshly laundered sheets, smelling of sunshine and fresh air reminds me of my childhood. My grandmother, rest her soul, would wash and dry the sheets from every bed, the curtains and pillow covers and even the rugs at least twice a week. I remember this petite 4 foot woman lugging big old baskets filled with wet sheets to the clothesline, snapping them out to release wrinkes and hanging them so the hems were even. When I can, especially in the spring and summer, I’ll launder all the sheets and hang them on the clothesline for a day. Maybe it’s just the memories it brings, but I find joy in this. What memory from your past do you continue that brings you joy?
- I find joy in spending a lazy day floating on the river with my Hubby. Listening to the quiet sounds of nature as the water gently splashes the sides of the canoe, and the plop of the occasional fish. The feel of warm sunshine on my face and trailing my fingers in the water even when the temps rise in the upper digits with triple digit humidy always makes me smile. The rustle of cottonwood tree leaves as a gentle breeze stirs it’s leaves
- I find joy in hugs.What can I say? I’m a hugger. I love to give hugs. But I love to receive hugs for no reason even more. Do you love hugs?
- Holding hands with my hubby after 30-odd years of marriage still brings me joy. Knowing that he loves me just as much today as the first time we held hands is thrilling.
- Curling up on the sofa with a good old-fashioned print book, a warm blanket and a cup of hot tea as the rain or snow falls outside is pure joy.
- Talking and singing with my two Siberian Husky dogs. (They are our children in the house now). It fills my heart with happiness to find unconditional love from these crazy dogs. Or sometimes when I’m feeling especially lonely without the (real) kids, I’ll snuggle with the doggies. They are very astute at what I’m feeling. Do you have pets that bring you joy?
- Baking cookies or cooking a special meal. I have always cooked and baked; with three kids it not only helped stretch the food budget but helped teach them the benefits of healthy eating. Now that it’s just me and the hubby cooking a special meal is just that: a special meal that I put my heart into. And well, cookies aren’t the healthiest food, but since I rarely make them anymore, it makes them special. It brings me joy as I remember the special memories from making them with and for my kids. Do you create special meals that bring you joy?
- The smell of of mother earth’s seasons. It’s scent of freshly mown grass. The first time I mow the lawn in the Spring I spend a few minutes sitting out on the lawn, relishing the crisp, earthy-sweet scent. It’s the same as when the hay is harvested in our hay pasture in the middle of Summer. And in the Fall, it’s the smell of the crispness in the air while in the Winter it’s the smell of snow and pine needles. What about nature brings you joy?
Sometimes when I get a yearning for one of these lovely scents, I fire up my essential oil diffuser with one of Rocky Mountain Oils blends. It’s not the same as the real thing but it’s close.
- The way the air feels after a warm summer rain. The air isn’t humid yet but it’s not the cold feel after an Autumn rain. It feels fresh and clean, like mother nature has taken a shower to wash off the dusty dryness of summer. Have you experienced the joy of a summer rain?
- The first snowflakes of the season on a Winter morning. Sticking out my tongue to catch one or watching the perfectly formed snowflake drift onto my mittens.
- I get excited and have a true sense of joy when I find an old piece of furniture I can creatively repurpose in my home. I love antiques for what they are, the rich history and the stories each piece can tell. But when the piece is beyond repair, I get a joy from turning it into something that can still be enjoyed.
- I find joy in a clean home that lets me relax and be totally at peace. Getting rid of the clutter, dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, cleaning the dishes are things that make my home feel relaxing once they are complete. I recently cleaned, painted and renovated one of the extra bedrooms into my office. Having that room smell and look clean while working brings me a sense of peace.
- Walking in nature, discovering what nature has to offer is one of my favorite ways to relax and find joy. It can be as simple as a walk to the stream on the back side of my property. Or watching the squirrels jump from tree to tree, chattering at me for disturbing their hickory nut gathering in the Fall. Sometimes it’s just a walk around my land, connecting me to my inner spirit. Do you take time to find joy in nature?
Since I’ve become an empty nester, I’ve found that the simple things in life can bring me much joy and satisfaction. Life is slower paced now without the hustle of the kids and all their activities. I’m no longer spending my time being on call for mom either so I have this extra time to sit and enjoy life.
We all know how fast kids grow and life changes from chaotic to almost dull. Instead of having a woe is me attitude about the stillness, why not find joy in the simple things around you?
P.S.S. I love finding and using fresh new essential oil blends and right now Rocky Mountain Oils is having a mystery sale for October 2017 and their newest blends for the Holidays! I can’t wait to try the Christmas Morning Holiday Kit!