By now we’re all a couple of weeks into our New Year’s Resolutions, annual goals, or the various challenges we’ve opted to participate in. At this point, we may be finding that some goals or challenges just aren’t made for us or we may have found just the opposite to be true – keeping our resolutions really is making a difference. For me, using my Bullet Journal has made a huge difference in my motivation this year. I think having the ability to see our accomplishments in colorfully ticked boxes appeals to me most. I actually look forward to sitting down with my bujo and box of pens each night to chart our progress.
Our main objective this year is to refocus our attention on happiness and make 2017 a year of gratitude, triumph, and peaceful joy. Joy – such a big little word. Besides being the name of my younger sister, just what is joy anyway? And just what brings us joy? These are some of the questions I’ve been pondering lately – especially during our walks. You might actually say I’ve been pondering it because of our walks.
One of our goals for this year is to walk 1,000 miles together. We’ve always been outdoors people and when we lived in Florida, it wasn’t uncommon for us to walk the beach or hit the trails 2-3 times a week. We loved it. Last year, we felt as if we just didn’t get outside enough. We put this goal on the list to encourage ourselves to go outside more. We didn’t put it on the list expressly for health and fitness, though that’s a nice side benefit.
On Monday, we had to run to my mom’s house to pick up a salad. She lives next to our favorite park so I suggested we go for a quick walk to see if the ducks were out. Just before we pulled out of her driveway, it began to rain.
“Well, I suppose we can go to the rec center,” Angie said. “We still have our membership til March.”
A few days prior we had gone to the rec center to walk. Around and around in a circle I went, staring at the pale blue walls, listening to the walkers around us talking about shopping, fad diets, and their marital problems, for what seemed like forever and all we accomplished was 1.2 miles.
“Why are we doing this exactly?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” she replied.
“What is the purpose of this walking goal of ours?”
“I think it’s part of our happiness plan. To do things that make us happy, like walking.”
“Does walking in a mindless circle where we can’t even carry on a conversation make you happy? It doesn’t me,” I said.
Angie thought for a moment and replied, “You have point. We shouldn’t do things ‘just because’ – like, just because it’s on our list or just because we think we need to or just because we can’t do what we really wanted to do. We wanted to walk in the park today to see the wildlife, not just walk for the sake of walking. So no, I’m good not going to the rec center. There will be other days when it’s not raining and besides, we’re not racing to get 1,000 miles just to say we got them. The whole point is not to do something unless it sparks joy. I mean, that’s what that decluttering lady says, right?”
I laughed. As my mom likes to say, Angie doesn’t always say much but when she does, it’s usually pretty spot-on.
That decluttering lady (Marie Kondo), The Minimalists, and many other simple living experts do indeed say that everything you choose to keep in your life should bring you joy. Whether it’s a physical object, a relationship, a habit, or even a newly constructed goal, it needs to “spark joy” in your life, otherwise it’s really just a waste of your most valuable resource – time.
By mid-week, the sun was out. It was a warm 70 degrees. And it was Work-Free Wednesday. So we walked…along the greenway by the creek…for what seemed like no time at all, laughing and talking…and what we accomplished was 3 miles.
How many other things in life do we do ‘just because’ – just because we’re bored, just because we have time to kill, just because it is convenient, just because we don’t know what else to do? Wouldn’t life be at least some degree better if we did only those things that truly bring us joy? I’m inclined to think so.