Do you have enough joy in your life?
What do you do that brings you joy?
Right now there are days where for the life of me I can’t think of a single thing that would actually bring me joy – not anything realistic anyway. I mean, winning the lottery would be totally amazing, so would a free trip somewhere exotic. Finishing my novel would surely bring me veritable fits of joy – and maybe someday I’ll get there but for now I’m not even close, so that leaves me pretty much back to square one.
No question, being a mom often does bring me great joy (among other things, lol.) My kids can completely delight me on a regular basis just by being themselves. I'd say delight is right on par with joy. Fulfillment, too, is at least a close relation to joy. Probably my most fulfilling moments in all of my life have been as a mother.
In the last couple of years or so my other moments of fulfillment have mainly come from writing, in one form or another (the slow progress of my novel not withstanding). I do sometimes find the actual practice of writing itself joyful-ish, to a certain degree. But truth be told it’s also equal parts maddening and agonizing depending on the hour. Apparently I’m in excellent company: I recently read that when Virginia Woolf was asked about her love of writing she retorted that she loved having written.
Still, I do get a thrill writing something profound or witty…I've even had the rare experience of writing something that took my own breath away. However, touching another person in any way with my writing is probably the most profound joy outside of motherhood that I’ve ever known. Those moments can be rather few and far between…occurring just often enough to keep me going, but not nearly often enough to keep me "joyed up" for very long.
The last time I remember actually being joyful for reasons beyond motherhood or writing was…well, I don’t remember but it was no doubt probably before cancer. And I’m also guessing it was fleeting. I think I was regularly happy…happy blogging here, about getting my novel underway, about finding more time for poetry…happy in my marriage, with my children (always) and even getting there about myself. Frequently my life achieved a satisfying rhythm that often brought me a certain amount of contentment…but it’s hard to remember now when looking back thru the lens of cancer if I felt much joy before my diagnosis.
But then again, what is joy anyway? How do you describe it? Is it like pornography, indefinable but you know it when you see it?
Would I still know it if I saw it?
For now joy remains elusive. Happiness is not a frequent visitor either. It was two years ago yesterday since finding the damned lumps and I still feel like I’m in the thick of it. Cancer duties linger…there are scans, appointments, maintenance. Michael now has his own set of appointments, scans and research…he’s the one in a holding pattern now. In between I try to reassemble my life. But I feel like components are missing. Pieces of me were taken away with the scalpel that contained more than flesh, tissue and cancerous tumors. I think they contained some of my capacity for joy.
But I'm still looking for it because you never know. You just never do. It could be anywhere.