life

Reclaiming Joy

In 2017 there was an interaction between Congresswoman Maxine Waters in which she coined a phrase, “reclaiming my time”, when she felt that her appointed period to speak was being wasted in idle trivialities with another sitting representative.

This memory surfaced during a therapy session in which I talked about the unrelenting grief I still stumbled under since my Mother died last June. My counselor advised me to take care of “me” and to give myself permission to enjoy some pleasures that made me happy, even if in seeking to reclaim my joy, I might have to let others shoulder the responsibility for their own happiness.

Those who are caregivers (or simply givers) know the struggle that this can be. One often feels guilty when any available time is not spent completing tasks that make life easier for others or if we waste precious minutes on our own personal needs. However, as Maxine was adept in noticing, there is only a designated appointed time in which we live and breathe. To waste any of this time (or allow others to squander that time) is a travesty, a perversion of all that life is and should be.

But, how does one reclaim joy?

First, allow yourself to feel sad. Set aside time to feel the pain of loss. Learn the things which trigger the feelings of despair. Set your alarm for a specified time to indulge yourself in a period of total selfish withdrawal. When the clock chimes, get up, get moving and congratulate yourself for making it through that anguish.

Secondly, make a list of the things that you love to do, things that make you happy. And, after your meltdown, reward yourself with something on that list. Listen to your favorite album. Watch a funny movie or listen to a truly hilarious comic. Read a chapter in a novel by an author you enjoy. Have one scoop of ice cream or 2 cookies. Try not to overdo with the eats, otherwise that creates an entirely different problem.

Thirdly, exercise. Walk around one block. or two. Jump rope. Get back on that bike. Pull out those skates. Watch others exercise on TV. I get the best laughs watching others sweating as they contort their bodies while I eat those 2 cookies.

Lastly, do something for someone else. Sometimes, extending random acts of kindness/compassion to others is what you need to help take your mind off your own troubles. Give a compliment and a hug. Both will be appreciated. The recipients will feel better and you will to.

Then, pray. Meditate on your blessings. No matter what has happened in this life, there is always something to be thankful for. I can not promise you that the pain of grief vanishes, only that over time the intensity wanes. I would be dishonest if I did not admit to being almost catatonic some days when I realize that my Mother is no longer alive. But, there is joy in knowing that she loved me and left a wonderful legacy of service.

Boomer wisdom knows it may take more than a little effort, but, reclaiming your joy is well worth the time. Sometimes, the best tribute we can provide to those we’ve lost, is the joyous life we live in their honor.

Blessings to you all.

Happy boomer gal ( read smart, feisty, quirky, adventuresome, funny, sassy woman of a certain generation) willing to share my journey and advice with anyone who would not repeat my mistakes. Happy to fully disclose the joys and pitfalls of love at any age, the desire to age well, and the joys inherent in every day. Utilizing poetry, photography, and whatever creative entity that would bring a smile to a hurting heart. Writer, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, humanitarian, exhorter, educator, activist, student, Christ-follower, adventure seeker, pharmacist. Hoping to give all and use all I am for the good of others. Come along. The journey may be difficult, but, it will always be an interesting adventure!

12 comments on “Reclaiming Joy

  1. Thanks my friend! God has blessed me with so much joy but at times the tears still fall. Missing your Mom is definitely a heartache you can’t prepare for and hits at the strangest times, at least for me. I am so thankful for your words. Continue to find your Joy!!

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  2. facarter2000gmailcom

    Your article is going to help so many people. It is beyond awesome! It brought so much joy, and peace! As you mentioned grieving is a process that can’t be rushed. We need time!
    I had to chuckle when you made the comment about watching others exercise while you indulge in your ice cream and two cookies. Too funny! 😁 But it helped you “reclaim joy!”

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    • Thank you for the kind words. I’m hoping, no praying, that whether it’s the loss of loved ones or the death of precious dreams, that we all find our moments of joy.

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  3. Delois Fagan

    God bless you my friend and may he continue to remind you of his grace and mercy, for it is always sufficient for each of us, no matter what we go through. Thank you for sharing, you truly have a heart of service and a love for others. You inspire me to keep reaching for greater!

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  4. tylerrose1963

    Blessings believe me. I understand my Mother transitioned July 8th,2019 and I find myself having what I call “trigger moments ” for example when it rains hard, automatically I want to call her, and check on her just to make sure that she’s ok. If I cook something that she likes, I’ll want to call her and ask if she wants some etc… I could go on and on. This is when I rely on God to get me through the fog. This one thing I do know about Bailey, you loved your Mom, and she knew it, anyone that knows you, knew about the love that you had and do have for your Mom. I would have loved to have been half the daughter to my Mother, that you were to your Mom. With God’s help it’ll get better

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  5. evette07

    Thanks for your beautiful message ❤️🙏🏾
    I’m very grateful that we stayed in contact throughout the years. I was 21 when we met, I am now 52….what a blessing it has been.

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  6. Marcella stewart

    When I lost my mother, I was 25 yo with a 3 wk old baby. That was 40 years ago. I am grateful for those 25 years and the love she gave me. I still miss her but I have joy when I think of her. She was feisty, loving, a great dancer and cook, small but mighty, giving, beautiful, and a Christian. Thank you for the opportunity to remember the woman who gave me joy..

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  7. Such a great honest read 📚 I am definitely reclaiming my Joy or trying to daily!

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