Finding Joy in 2017

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Each new year brings a fresh start and new opportunities and 2017 has been no different. Last year my word to focus the year on was SIMPLICITY which is something I am continuing to try and incorporate in my life. It was a great word for me as I realized that I had too many “priorities” and was feeling pulled in a million directions. As I did my best to find the simplicity I craved, it became more of an exercise in reducing my priorities by completing lingering tasks.

This year I’m focusing on JOY. You see while I continue to love genealogy and the many wonderful people I have met along the way… it is easy to forget why I do what I do. I often get caught up in thinking, “This week I have to get X accomplished and then I’ll work on Y.” I need to take a moment to enjoy myself! What’s the good in doing all of these things if I don’t ever pause and appreciate what I’m doing? That sense of accomplishment is good, but the JOY is in the doing. So I’m going to do my best for the rest of the year to harness that.

I have been busy this first half of the year. While I like being busy, it is also nice to have the freedom to not have every minute scheduled. Often because I work a full time job as an engineer I become so eager to hop into my genealogy “jobs” that I forget about all the other good things to enjoy in my life. Earlier this month I had the JOY of traveling with my husband to Canada. While it was a roughly scripted vacation, there was downtime that was sorely needed. I forgot how much I love to read! I’ve been “reading” audiobooks for years now and it’s rare that I just sit down and read a book. During this vacation I found that joy again. I read two books over the week and a half. And it was FUN! I took naps! I ate good food! I sat and enjoyed the sunshine and nature.  Yes, it was glorious. Even if I did have to sit in the car for way too many hours… at least it was a good time spent with my husband.

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The eastern shore of Prince Edward Island

I have returned to real life and determining how I want to spend my time. We have a new addition to our family, a sheltie puppy named Huxley, that is consuming my evenings when I get home from work. It is fun and draining. It makes me appreciate my other two dogs who are used to my routine. It reminds me of the simple JOY of playing with a puppy and playing tug with a rope for 30 minutes. Yea, that’s all good stuff.

I have a hard time when a new opportunity knocks on my door. It’s hard to say, “No” when it’s something I’d like to do. But luckily my husband helps me with my decision making. He reminds me that I only can have so much time to spend on other things. That if I want to take on something new, I must give up something else. I don’t like to turn things down and I don’t like to quit on obligations so this helps me find that balance that I’ve been seeking. I was talking with a genealogist I admire, J. Mark Lowe, and he shared the analogy of thinking of an egg dish with all it’s compartments for deviled eggs. That each section is something you have in your life and that you can only fill it up so much. My dish is full, but there are new things that come into my life that I want to enjoy. So I have to reevaluate those things already on my plate. What do I love to do? What do I have to do? What could I do less of? Lots to think about!

Life is too short to do the things you don’t enjoy! I am going to take each thing on my plate and think about the JOY that I get out of them. If I’m not getting any obvious joy, perhaps it should not be on my plate anymore? For now, I will take it one day at a time and appreciate where I am at. I have a lot of great people and pets in my life. I have wonderful hobbies like reading, genealogy, painting, and photography. I have a job where I feel like I make a difference and am appreciated. I have my genealogy businesses where I get to help others connect with their family history. That’s a pretty awesome “job” to have. What brings you joy?

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