What brings you joy? They say life is short, I think we can all agree with that. So why spend your life stressed, unhappy or in a place, job or relationship that is less than fulfilling; that doesn’t bring you true joy? And have you found your joy? What fills you up? I have spent the last few years pondering this question. Journaling almost daily, having an attitude of gratitude (thank you Oprah), reciting affirmations and studying countless courses and books on self discovery. And here is what I have found… only when I finally slowed down to really sit and think about it, it turned out it was way simpler than I thought. It wasn’t money. Although that does make things a wee bit easier and it allows you distraction from these simple, yet challenging questions. It wasn’t getting a promotion or working the extra hour, extra day, extra weekend. It wasn’t having the perfect body. It wasn’t having the newest, latest and greatest fashions. Although looking good is feeling good. It wasn’t and certainly isn’t winning awards and being recognized by my peers. Although that feels pretty spectacular. And it wasn’t being in a relationship. It was waaaaaayyyyyy easier than that.

It is rolling on the floor with my dogs.
Scratching their bellies while their tongues dangle outside their mouths.
Legs kicking the air.
It is holding a baby and watching him sleep soundly.
Patting his bottom.
Rocking back and forth.
Imagining all the little dreams he is dreaming.
It is going for a walk, breathing in the chilly winter air as I listen to my feet crunch through the snow.
It clears my head and heart.
The stillness is so incredibly calming.
And so full of possibility.
It is seeing the sunrise as the world awakens.
It is listening to my dad tell the silliest of jokes while my mom gives him a look of disapproval.
I love this the most.
It is enjoying a cup of coffee and people watching.
It is getting REAL mail in my mail box… bills do not count.
It is laughing so hard I cry.
It is catching up with an old friend.
At a baseball game.
The crowd. The energy. It’s magnetic.
And the beers aren’t bad either…
It is wrapping a gift in the prettiest of papers with the biggest of bows and watching someone open it.
I love giving gifts.
It is spending time with my sisters as they try to outwit each other in a game of Apples to Apples.
It is watching two people fall in love.
It is seeing someone gain their confidence.
To finally see the beauty in themselves.
The beauty that you already knew they had.
It is baking a pie.
From scratch.
All by myself
…. or with the supervision of a really good cook.
Thanks Dave.
Birthday parties.
Giving back.
Bundling up in the freezing cold to go to a Bears game with my college buds.
A little kid’s laugh.
It’s meeting new friends. It’s connection.
It’s becoming more and more like my best friend, my role model and my mom.
It’s climbing into my own bed
in my own house every night
and realizing that I love the life I have created.
It’s waking up each day with a clean slate.
With direction and purpose.
With enthusiasm and love.
With gratitude for my life, my family, my friends.
That’s what brings me joy.
That’s what fills my heart.