When I was in high school and even college, I lived what I now see as a charmed life. I was NOT spoiled by any means, I worked, I was a very serious athlete, and I was very active in my church’s youth group. But my parents did not allow any ‘adult’ worries to plague my sister, brother or myself. Luckily, my family was in a position where kids could be kids and the adults got to worry about everything else.
I did not know this until I became an adult. I remember waking up in high school and college with butterflies in my stomach…daily. I was just excited about whatever was going on in the day. I had energy, peace and joy…often! Now, of course, I had the regular stresses of any other teenager/college student. I got made fun of at school, experienced peer pressure, competed and lost some great races, did not date a lot and when I did , I do recall feelings of heartbreak. However, most of my memories are full of excitement and appreciation and hope! Then the ‘real world’ happened and slowly, I lost that connection to those great feelings of true joy, every morning.
I noticed about 3 years ago that I don’t wake up with butterflies in my stomach anymore! Gasp! This was a big loss to me. When I really started to think about this, I thought, “Well of course, I have bills to pay, job stresses, a (one at the time) kid whose life depends on me 24/7…I am just too weighed down by my obligations to be ‘excited’ about my day.” I sat in my puddle for a while, but soon I decided that this thought process was crap. It became a challenge for me to figure out, no matter what was going down in my ‘adult’ life, how could I wake up with those excited butterflies in my stomach again….I yearned for that true joy again to wake up with me in the morning!
I refused to believe that I was to never going to experience those butterflies again just because I was an adult and a Mom. I began to focus on what I would need to think about or do, to be excited about my day…to be full of happiness and eagerness, just to wake up and approach the morning with energy and enthusiasm. Yes, at first, even I thought I may need to get a psych evaluation…but…a weird thing happened. After thinking about this for a week, I woke up one morning, excited that I had some cool stuff going on at work that morning and then I got to play with my kids that afternoon. A balance that truly gave me joy and excitement! The stuff going on at work or playing with my kids was not new. But something had changed…and it was my focus. Was it that simple…just focusing and thinking about the prospect of waking up joyous, let me do so? Maybe it won’t always be this easy, but if you don’t focus on it yourself, then you’ll never know.
When was the last time you felt true joy?
When was the last time you woke up with excited butterflies in your stomach?
What can you do to focus on waking up feeling truly joyful?