Finding Joy

Miracles are starting to happen. I can feel it.

Yesterday I woke up feeling sad, but I did what I needed to do, as time dragged by. I had the day off, so I did some writing, went to Zumba, talked to two friends, did homework, laundry, and then I went to class last night.

The class is called Foundations of Health and Wellness, and the school recommends that we take it our first or second semester, which I didn’t do because I wanted to focus on the hard classes without the distraction of busy work from fluff classes. I’d thought of it as a fluff class, designed to make us feel better, because eventually we’d be taking chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, etc. As students, we stress out about how much of this we’ll need to remember for our clients, and we question how much we can retain—even those of us without a science background.

The professor, who I’ll call Joy, was like a ray of sunshine on a stormy day. She’s just cute. She wore this cute little hat wrapped around her head, with white hair peeking out the front. An unrecognizable accent, half Australian citizenship, half American. She wore a beaded necklace of turquoise with a crystal in the center, and peapod-looking things for earrings. She just laughed at everything. And she was funny. I would write more but I live in the DC area, and I’m going to the Women’s March today. Joy’s going to the march too.

The focus of this class is self-care. How to do it for yourself, and how to offer it as a tool for your clients. She talked about the importance of attitude, and what a difference just a smile can make in someone else’s life. She talked about the contagiousness of laughter, and showed us the video at the end of this blog post. It was true. Her cheerful attitude was infectious. I thought to myself, I want what she has.

Self-care places importance on finding balance in life, and making equal time for sleep, fun, socializing, relationships, exercise, and spirituality, in addition to work. She showed us a pie chart of all the different aspects of life, and said that we need to make equal time for each slice. One student asked what I was thinking, which was how we could make equal time for each of these. And fun? What is that? She’d said most of us make too much time on one of the pie pieces, and I couldn’t help but think of how my whole pie consisted of my relationship.

When I got home I spoke to my friend who I’ll call Molly on the phone about our plans for the march. Her voice was crestfallen, devoid of the excitement I felt at participating in such a historic event that signifies, for me, hope and change. Four years ago, and the four years before that, I could’ve gone to the Obama inauguration but I didn’t, because I didn’t feel as passionate then. I felt like the world was a safe place and the good things we deserved were happening and there was no need to take action. Someone else was taking care of it; I didn’t have to do anything. Now life is different. If you want positive change in your life, you’ve got to make it happen. Be the change you wish to see. And pain inspires change. Not living a comfortable, easy life. I’ve had to hit rock bottom before I tried a different way.

The negativity of my friend’s attitude I took personally. Now she’s in a bad mood, I’m not going to have a good time today, I don’t want to deal with this. The other friend who I’m meeting today posted on Facebook that she guessed she’d be going alone to the march because all her friends and family had backed out. What’s up with the pity party? We had plans to meet there. What is she talking about? Is it just me, the friends I choose, or a combination of the two? Molly’s attitude reminded me of my ex-boyfriend. Everything seems exciting and fun, and then out of the blue it’s a catastrophe. I absorb it like a sponge. Where are all the shiny, happy people? Do I change friends, or do I change my attitude? Or both?

Regardless of who the President is, today will be a day of hope and gratitude. I’ll tell you what Joy told us last night: you have to laugh at life. If you don’t laugh, well then, you know what your other option is. I will find peace and joy from the pain. You can, too.

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