I’ve been a little quiet these last few weeks. The truth is, I was feeling this flatness that I’ve never quite experienced before. I wasn’t depressed or burned out but I wasn’t as joyful and ambitious as I used to be. I found it hard to look forward to things and it felt almost impossible to focus on anything for an extended period of time. I mostly felt stagnant and a little aimless.
When I read the New York Times article about something called “languishing,” it described me almost perfectly. I wasn’t feeling hopeless but I wasn’t feeling hopeful either.
I decided that I didn’t want to keep languishing, so I took some time to reconnect with myself and ask, “What do I need to find joy today?”
I had always defaulted to traveling and rock climbing when I wanted to have something to look forward to but with an inflamed wrist and other restrictions, I couldn’t do that right now.
I realized that we all need to think about joy differently because the world is a little different now and more importantly, we are different now. We went through a lot of change and a lot of emotions. Even if our lives have pretty much started to look like pre-pandemic times, we’re not really the same anymore.
To overhaul my system of feeling pleasure and finding joy, I thought about the happiest person I know. My niece. She has very limited freedom in life, no money, fewer friends, and fewer opportunities than I do - yet, she is the master of finding joy in small things every day.
During the pandemic, she and her brother had completely opposite experiences even though they had the same external situation. I decided that I would record all the things she found joy in to try and understand the concepts around it. It turns out, it is a rather repeatable process with one simple core principle.
If you have been experiencing this feeling of “not drowning, but not thriving” too, I wrote about what helped me in this article called “5 ways to gain the magical happiness of many small joys.”
As always, whether you need to share your sorrow or your joys, I would love to hear from you. Simply hit respond to this email to get in touch. Have a magical weekend! :)
“Shared joy is a double joy. Shared sorrow is half a sorrow.” — Swedish proverb