Getting older is a trip. It can be colored by things that have happened to us creating a sense of joy, pain, frustration, freedom, etc. If we were able to repair the pieces of ourselves that were frayed and tattered then we may be able to enter the next stage of our lives with a greater sense of purpose and joy.
I want to spend some reflecting on joy. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines joy as a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Synonyms are delight, great pleasure, jubilation, triumph, exultation, glee, elation, euphoria, bliss, etc. Take a moment and think about the last time you ever felt jubilation, glee, euphoria aka joy. For me it was when Mary J. Blige came on the iPod singing "Real Love". Chile!!! I was in my office and and started grooving like I was back in the 90's. The groove just made me smile and start getting it! A sense of delight that hit me in my core, moved to my hips and shot all the way up to my face. A sense of joy that was free.
Experiencing joy is pivotal to good health both physically and emotionally. Having things, experiences and relationships with people that do not cost you a dime, financial or emotional energy. These are the elements that refill your cup even when you think you are already full. These elements lift your spirit and empowers you to keep on keeping on.
I bring it back to getting older. I've found that I have a greater appreciation for the little things that really turn out to be the most valuable experiences. Watching little children play. Sitting in the backyard and looking at sunflowers. Cookies fresh out the oven. A good hard and sweaty workout. A pair of jeans that fit perfect in all the right places.
How do you develop or evolve into a mindset where these experiences are more important than the drama and stress of life? Part of getting older is grieving the loss of time spent on things and people that took more from you than they contributed to your life. Recognizing and learning from the mistakes that you made. Rejoicing in the successes along the way and remembering how much joy that came from those experiences. I also think coming to a place of understanding that you deserve peace and joy.
The beautiful part is this revelation doesn't have to happen when you enter your 40's, 50's, 60's etc. It's a process that happens overtime. It happens with the support of good friends, supportive family and opportunities to explore what it means to experience joy. So again, when was the last time you experienced joy, that was free?
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison - a classic that I frequently read. Salt Fat Acid Heat - Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking - Samin Nosrat and Wendy MacNaughton - Clean eating is so delicious and good for the body. Understanding how to pair things together is the key to great food. Shut Up and Run by Robin Arzon - running is a great physical and mental regulator. The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates The Biophilia Effect - Clemens G. Arvay Partnership in Parenting by Kyle Pruett, MD and Marsha Kline Pruett, PhD