You guys, life is good.
My (completely unplanned) focus word for 2017 is joy, but the year certainly didn’t start out that way. I didn’t make a new year’s resolution. I had never done focus words before and, frankly, I didn’t really understand them. I didn’t set out to start any new hobbies or change something about myself or anything (other than starting a gratitude journal, read that story here).
But, life had other ideas for me. About a month into the new year, I had an epiphany ( 😉 ).
I had spent the first few weeks of semester (so early to mid-January) in a constant state of anger and annoyance. I had zero patience, was tense all of the time, wasn’t sleeping, and could have been set off by any little thing. I’m still not entirely sure why I was like that, but it was not a good start to the semester or to the year.
One day, though, I was done. I finally snapped, but I snapped at myself. I was fed up with how I was acting. Honestly, it was ridiculous and I knew it. I knew it all along, but I finally decided to take a hard look at myself and fix my mindset. Literally all I did was start changing how I was viewing my life- I decided to start seeing every aspect of it with appreciation.
I didn’t read every cliche self-help article in existence to learn how to be happy. I didn’t look myself in the mirror each morning and try to convince myself life was perfect. Doing anything like that won’t magically make everything better. I know, fooled me too.
You can read the full, original post on the why behind making joy my focus word here. If you read my post on Mark Manson’s new book, I made a lot of references to it a few months before that post went live 😉
So how have joy and I been doing over the past six months?
Y’all, I have such a love for life. It’s such a beautiful gift we’ve been given, even on our darkest days. And, let me tell you, I’ve still had my share of darkness.
There have been moments where I felt like my life was falling apart (#engineeringschool).
There have been moments where I felt like no one wanted me.
I absolutely love people, but there have still been moments where I needed to ignore all of the social media notifications and be buried under a million blankets at 6 o’clock on a Saturday night.
All that being said, my life is still completely changed.
I feel renewed.
I feel empowered.
Really, I feel happy.
Seem contradictory? Being happy doesn’t mean living in a dream world. I don’t ignore any negative emotions and I don’t pretend I’m happy all of the time; that’s not what living joyously means to me. Living joyously is learning to roll with the punches. It’s not avoiding the bad, but accepting it and understanding that you are the only one responsible for how you react to it. Choosing joy doesn’t mean you can’t be sad or angry sometimes. Choosing joy is seeing real life with stars in your eyes. It’s letting your heart soar while your head stays rooted. It’s being grateful for all that you have while maintaining your ambition to go after the future.
Something clicked for me and I’ve been trying to live my life with more purpose. I focus more on what I see as the important things in life. I put more time into my relationships with other people and I’ve grown so much closer to them. I also put more time into me while spending less time putting myself down. I open up more quickly and easily. I try to compliment everyone I interact with every time I see them. I finally found what I’m passionate about. I’ve become even more of a morning person (and yes, I enjoy that 😉 ).
I’m making it a point to live life to the fullest and love every second of it. I’m glad that my self-proclaimed giant self-realization wasn’t just a phase that quickly faded away; the relief and simplicity I feel is still very present. Don’t get me wrong, I never stop working for it, but I promise it’s worth it. I’m choosing joy every day and it’s never too late for you to do the same.
If you ever want to talk about my journey or anything else, don’t hesitate to reach out!
~Did you choose a focus word or make a resolution for the new year? How is it going?