My Little Place
I have a quiet corner in my house. It is ironically positioned near the front entry of our home. You wouldn’t think that this placement could be a peaceful one and yet somehow it has managed to be just that. It is a quirky little corner with all my office odds and ends. A bulletin board of inspirational quotes and beaded garland, my oil diffuser above my bookshelf and plants. From my perch I can look out of my front window into my (usually overgrown with weeds) flowerbed.
Coming right alongside my desk sits the tiny day couch that has been repaired several times because I refuse to give it up. Juxtaposed to my desk and favorite napping place is my sewing desk, T.V. and, as my dear friend so fondly calls it, my “eleton”. (You know for those who can’t afford the Peleton.) This little place carved out just for me by my family has brought me so much joy for many reasons.
Chaos and Uncertainty
When we first moved into our new home it came at the tail end of a series of hectic circumstances during a challenging season. We spent eight months of an in between period that encompassed the COVID lockdown duration. What a funny time in life to be selling a home. Packing up all our worldly goods, searching for both an in between and future residence during a pandemic. I think back now and question the sanity of it all.
We spent four months in an air bnb, one month in a hotel and another two months in an efficiency. The bottleneck of material supply during COVID delayed many phases of the building of our new home. I’m ashamed to admit this, but at one point, the announcement of another delay caused me to take my bedroom slipper and “transfer” that frustration to the dresser. You can judge me after you’ve lived relocating for 20 years as a military spouse and moved 15 times in your adult life. I’m sure you might have abused the dresser, as well, had that been the case.
We now laugh about that time period. It was filled with so much chaos, uncertainty and yet unexpected beauty. I had to dig deep during that season to find joy wherever I could. Taking long walks in the unfamiliar neighborhood while I missed my old park and its walking trails. Rearranging the rusty outdoor furniture of the air bnb patio. Purchasing flowering plants so we could grill outdoors in a sunny, happy spot as a family. We took turns cooking Hello Fresh meals together and watched T.V. sprawled across the pull out couch in the rented efficiency.
I journaled everyday at my desk in between back to back staff meetings, virtual classes and building online learning content. I called my coworker on Friday evenings and had long enjoyable conversations filled with laughter as she drove to pick up her kids from daycare. Wherever I could squeeze in a joyful moment I did. I began to see the collection of those moments throughout the week and feel differently about the season. Everything was not going according to plan for certain, but I sought my resiliency in joy.
Resiliency in Joy
If I could have 15 minutes of fame to say anything to the world it would definitely include finding joy by letting go of unrealistic expectations and embracing appreciation. As a person of faith, I’m still surprised by how many unrealistic expectations I have brought into my personal, career and family life. Maybe I’ve watched one too many Hallmark movies and I definitely read too many Harlequin romance novels in my youth.
I constantly have to adjust my joy meter for realistic expectations. I’m a perpetual dreamer and optimist. Thank God I have a super sensible husband who lives in reality most days and helps keep me grounded. He has such a realistic joy meter while my head is usually off in the clouds dreaming up some big finale to simple events. Having a realistic joy meter means I recognize simple moments that are adding to the overall satisfaction of my life. My husband will often look at me and say, “I’m having a moment.” I know what he means. He’s essentially saying, this is a joyful moment for me even though it wasn’t expected or isn’t over the top.
Simplicity in Joy
I often shake my head thinking how amazing it is that it didn’t need to be a blowout vacation in Hawaii or some other super fabulous event for him to stop and say, “I’m having a moment.” He’s onto something though. He’s discovered the simplicity of joy. In a time of human history where knowledge abounds we tend to forget what used to be simple avenues of joy. I think today we complicate this joy business by looking for it in the wrong places with the wrong people. So many of us today are searching for joy through affirmation from the outside world through our careers, children’s achievements, material possessions and many other places.
When I think about the simplicity of joy in all the quirky, hidden places, I think about my little she nook in my house. It doesn’t seem impressive, expected or even practical but it brings me so much joy to be in it to write, sew, nap, watch T.V. and yes I still daydream. I don’t think I could have ever had so much appreciation for this space had I not gone through eight months of the between. My joy meter goes off constantly and hits the top range of its metrics because I’ve learned to intentionally stop and internalize, “I’m having a moment.” I’m adding them all up in my simple and realistic joy meter.
Read more by Sonja here.