If you’ve been following along, you know that earlier this year (like alllllll the way back, in January) I read the book, “One Word that Will Change Your Life”. It’s all about picking one word to guide your year. I love personal development activities like this and it was a surprisingly quick exercise for me to pick joy as my word of the year. I just kept coming back to it. Don’t you think it’s one of those words that makes you feel happy? I smile just typing it.
Joy? In 2020?
It may seem ironic, looking at the year in review, that I chose joy as my word for 2020. But I think it might have been exactly what I needed. There were many times when I was challenged to feel joy this year — like when I forged my way through postpartum depression for the first time or when I said goodbye to my Grandma forever. There were times when joy was absolutely undeniable — like when we welcomed Nellie into our family. And there were times when joy was shining through the little nooks and crannies of my day — like when Hayes said “I love you too, Mama” for the first time, when I caught Miles snuggled up next to Nellie on the floor of her nursery, or when Jeff and I played beer pong for our date night and had a throwback BLAST.
This year taught me a lot about joy. I learned that just like optimism doesn’t mean you’re happy all the time, a joyful life doesn’t mean each day is full of rainbows and butterflies. I have learned that joy is something that I feel; it’s a feeling of happiness and it’s not exclusive to good times. Since I am in control of my feelings, I choose to feel joy. To see joy. And to be joy.
I choose to feel joy. To see joy. And to be joy.
But hasn’t 2020 been hard?
I am now a firm believer that joy and hard times can coexist. It’s not that I didn’t feel the heaviness of this year or that I’m ignoring it. It was a hard year for so many reasons, I had bad days, I cried a lot, I felt isolated. It has been a mental battle for me. I also consider myself someone who falls somewhere in the middle on many issues — issues that were highly polarizing this year — and I often felt conflicted on what I should be feeling in 2020. I asked myself often — Should I be feeling more? Should I be feeling less? Am I being swayed by other’s opinions? Am I opinion-less? Should I say something? Should I stay quiet? It took me months and months to realize that I feel joy when I accept that it’s ok when my thoughts, feelings, and opinions fall somewhere in the middle. That doesn’t mean I don’t have thoughts, feelings, and opinions.
My joy nudge
My word of the year, joy, was the little nudge I needed to remember my feelings are in my control and to remember joy is sometimes found in the nooks and crannies. I’m pretty positive the lessons of 2020 will live forever with me. Even though I am already picking a new word for 2021, I will not forget joy. Maybe that’s how this pick-a-word-of-the-year thing actually works, you just accumulate them over time until you have personal growth toolkit at your fingertips. I’m going to go with that, couldn’t we all use a toolkit?
Just for fun, here are some of my joyful nooks + crannies from 2020…
- When Hayes runs her hand through her hair just like Elsa during the “Let it Go” song.
- Nellie’s gummy smile. I can’t handle it.
- We completed a beautiful mudroom project and installed (a lot) of recessed lighting. It’s lit over here.
- I discovered Bitchin’ Sauce. (I for real eat it every day.)
- Hayes started to say “I love you too Mama” when I send her off to school
- Call me cheesy, I don’t care — I like my husband even more than when the pandemic started.
- I have had Zoom happy hours to stay connected with so many pockets of friends — something I hope will continue after quarantine.
- Hayes is potty trained!!
- Jeff finally killed a mole in our yard (it’s been a battle).
- When Nellie cries Hayes runs across the house screaming “I coming Memie, I coming”.
- Jeff and I have upped our at-home date night game and it’s so much fun!
- Hayes has taken to dance parties and will hold her hands out and request for you to join her.
- Nellie got two teeth and has yet to bite me (re: my nipples) with them.