I have an obsession, and it’s kind of a weird one.
I’m not into shopping. Or cooking. Or cross-country skiing.
I’m totally, totally into personal finance.
I do realize the snooze-worthiness of the above statement. I mean, it’s not exactly like I just said, “I’m totally into extreme whitewater rafting.”
But there it is, and unfortunately, that slightly (okay, largely) boring fact about me has to be revealed in order to chat about this next topic.
Two weeks ago, I happily settled myself in for a comfortable, predictable (albeit invigorating, right?) nighttime read about investing, taxes, 401Ks, etc. (Cue happy sigh…) Then… it happened.
Toward the end of Start Late, Finish Rich by David Bach, he asks, “When was the last time you experienced joy?”
What is THAT—a make-me-want-to-crawl-under the covers, totally invasive, inappropriate question— doing in an otherwise fantastic book about finances?
Aggrieved, I laid awake all night because of that book, and my worries had nothing to do with the size of my Roth IRA.
A litany of uncomfortable questions naturally surfaced. “Am I happy? What makes me happy? What am I meant to do? What is joy, anyway? Who gives a crap?”
It really bugged me. Was I really leading a joy-filled life?
However, a week later, I recovered, and I decided that figuring out what gives me joy is crucial to my wellness and well-being.
I think it’s an important exercise for everyone. First and foremost, it’s a guide toward living a life rich with purpose. Can you pinpoint what gives you joy?
In fact, when you figure out what gives you bliss, I truly believe it’s imperative that you catapult yourself toward it, and do it all the time.
If your life has become a series of tasks: wake up, eat breakfast, slog to work, eat lunch at desk, pick up kids, come home, repeat… and that’s all there is… well, be honest with yourself!
But I have another question.
Is it a problem if, when I think of my joyful moments, I prefer to recall huge ones?
If I say to myself, “Recall joyful moments,” there’s a screechy rewind of my memory wheel, then a scanty read out: Our wedding day. The births of our children. Hiking the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park. Tipping my head back in open-mouthed wonder at the Sistine Chapel. Skipping along Eagle Beach in Aruba at dusk.
Why don’t my small moments spring to the forefront? Those supposedly intoxicating moments that normal individuals theoretically recall, such as sipping a cup of Earl Grey in front of the window on a snowy day, or my daughter learning to write her name in wobbly, blocky letters? I can recall these moments, but they are not the first ones that come to mind. Is that okay, or am I doomed to pursue one gigantic high after another?
Am I ranking individual moments against an overall joy-filled life, and in the process, confusing myself?
I definitely haven’t figured this all out, and would love to have a heart-to-heart if you have the magic answer—and if you want to chat about the stock market, too, I’m totally game.
The bottom line is, are you living a joy-filled life? And if not, what are you going to do about it?