BRENT STOLLER

Writer. Advice giver. Peanut butter and chocolate enthusiast.

30 Days of Joy: Mission Accomplished — But Unfinished

Joyful woman in the ocean

Two days ago, I completed “30 Days of Joy” —my self-imposed challenge to find joy in something, anything, every day for 30 days.

I considered writing about the experience yesterday but decided I wasn’t ready, perhaps because I was anything but joyful.

(Coincidence?)

But now, I’m ready to try.

I imposed this challenge on myself because, obviously, I wanted to bring more joy into my life.

That’s not something that comes naturally to me. At least, it doesn’t anymore.

I think it did as a kid, but years of becoming what I believed to be an adult — serious, conforming, safe — made it that much tougher for me to connect with that emotion.

And while I’ve been working hard to be more grateful, resilient and productive — all worthwhile causes — I haven’t enjoyed much pleasure in the process.

So I figured it was time to change that.

As I reflect on the experience now, my biggest takeaway is this:

Mission accomplished — but unfinished.

Over the last 30 days, I’ve found joy in everything from my morning commute and a clogged bathroom sink to having no social life and shared hatreds with my wife.

These fall under the “Accomplished” heading.

In the past, they would’ve registered as routine, if they even registered on my radar at all.

But the challenge heightened my awareness, which led to a shift in perspective.

The problem, though, was where this shift in perspective originated.

This is where the “Unfinished” aspect comes in.

Instead of simply reacting to something — like, eating a ballpark hot dog or accomplishing a year-long goal — my mind intervenes and analyzes how I’m supposed to react.

Which makes the experience feel a little less natural — and a little less joyful than it could be.

That said, this is how it starts. This is how change happens.

I’m proud of the progress I’ve made in the last month. And I accept that there’s still work to do.

My head got the ball rolling. And hopefully, sooner than later, my heart will eventually catch up.

*****

This originally appeared on 100 Naked Words.

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