A few thoughts about joy. The times in my life that I was the most miserable were marked by want. They are also not remembered as a time of gratitude. At one point I was actually a ‘borderline hoarder.’ I would describe it as more of a ‘collector’ mentality but it doesn’t really matter that much. Don’t get me wrong; I was grateful for the house I was living in and abundance in my life. I was just too focused on what needed fixing/upgrading/expanding. I was also filling all of my spare time with a variety of hobbies and side projects. I don’t regret any of those pursuits just the poor example I was setting for my kids. I guess you could say I’ve always had issues with balance it’s just ironic that now my physical balance is so shot that I’m in a wheelchair.
Eight years ago we made a decision as the kids were grown and the house was too big for just the two of us. We downsized into a two bedroom apartment, then again to a one bedroom apartment. We’ve moved around a bit since then and I think we’re found the size we’re comfortable living in. In the process we sold a few things and given away much more. The funny thing is when you have less stuff you really appreciate what’s still there. Lots of people have made this observation. I’m hardly breaking new ground here! I also made the transition from valuing experiences over possessions. And I prefer small homemade gifts over store bought trinkets.
That said, sometimes you just can’t avoid those physical possessions. A couple of weeks ago we sat in a car dealership spending time with a daughter and two grandsons. I treasure that time much more than the monthly costs incurred! We have four years of lost time to catch up on with our daughter. And I’m so thankful to have the ability to give her a car! More than anything else I’m happy to ensure she can take care of herself and her sons no matter what else may happen. The absolute greatest joy in my life is being a mom. My idea of a simplified life brings me joy. Doing things for myself makes me happy even if I’m doing chores. I didn’t really appreciate it before because who doesn’t take walking for granted? That’s the hardest part of using the wheelchair; asking for help! I know how hard it was for my daughter to ask for help. I just hope she remembers how much joy it adds to my life to be able to provide that help. And I want her to know how proud I am seeing what a great mom she is!
The bottom line is this: the difference between a miserable life and a joyful one is in mindset. Its about gratitude and helping others more than having ‘enough’.