Finding Joy in this Stage of my Life
Most of the time I am very happy, optimistic person, I live with the philosophy of no regrets and I have a bucket list that I am constantly adding things and crossing things off of. So, if you know anywhere I can get in some crowd surfing let me know. But the past couple years have been some of the hardest. Things just weren’t going the way that I had planned and I kept waiting. There were a lot of “ I will be happy when..” It was a lot of ups and downs and when I got the call to talk about this subject it was just a week after I had published a blog post about how I was done being sad and I was done waiting and that the time was now to make a change.
I think the biggest difference between what I was expecting at this stage in my life and what it is actually like is reality. And that is why I think sometimes we have a hard time enjoying the stage of life we are in, we have these expectations and when it doesn’t actually happen we become upset. For instance, I thought that having small children was going to always be fun and games, we were going to play all day and there would be no fighting, the house would stay clean, there would be no financial stress, and that I would have endless energy to everything I needed to. But it isn’t like that, and because of that some days are really hard. We hear often that there is a “time and a season for everything” and when you really think about this I think that it changes perspectives I know that it has changed mine. I have been thinking a lot about how every day I live is the only time I will ever have that day. Tomorrow we will all be one day older and even though I am doing a lot of the same things I did the day before, because being a mother is a little repetitious, I will never have today again and so I start to look for all the little things that make that day great. The fact that I didn’t have to rush my kid to get ready for school because he was up on time or when he picks up a book and can read it to me. I look for things like the smile my daughter gives me when she shows me what she learned at dance or when she makes up her own songs and sings them at the top of her lungs. I realize these moments are precious and that helps me to find joy in this stage in my life. Having this mind set also reminds me to do fun things and to put in a little extra effort.
In the Ensign this month there is an article written about Happiness and I was so excited when I read this because it applies to this talk and a lot of the things that they talk about that bring happiness in life are things that I have recently started doing. I just want to share a few of them.
#1: Surround yourself with uplifting friends I have started going out of my comfort zone to meet people and we have started invited friends to do things. It is nice to have friends who I can call and talk to or get together with when I am at the end of the rope or even when we just want to have fun. And having fun makes you enjoy things more.
#2: Set out to do hard things and accomplish them. I find that for myself if I have something to look forward to or if I am planning something or working really hard on my goal it helps me to feel accomplished and that helps me. Not to mention when I complete that goal it gives me a boost of self confidence.
#3: Attend the temple: This will give you an eternal perspective and it helps me realize that my Heavenly Father has a hand in my life and on the days where I am struggling he hasn’t left me but he wants me to grow and learn and to become better. It reminds me that this life is short and we need to enjoy it now and seek out and find the blessing which he gives us. It also helps remind me that I have someone on my side, which is sometimes all I need.
#4: Be present in your family: At dinner we have a strict no technology or toy policy because it allows us to connect with one another without distractions it allows me to see that I have been blessed by having these wonderful people in my life and it reminds me that I love them and I want to be my best for them and I know that in order to do that I need to be happy. I make it a priority to call grandparents, parents, and siblings just to catch up to see if I can help in any way. It helps me feel like I am giving and even if its not something huge I am l reminding them that they are remembered and that they are loved and that is a good feeling. The family is after all a huge part of The Plan of Happiness
#5: Be a peacemaker: You’ve probably heard that contention is of the devil and I believe that. I have 4 older siblings and each one has chosen a slightly different path in life and that makes us full of different ideas and opinions and sometimes it can get very heated. But I find that when I can calm it down and bring things into perspective and help everyone see that we will have to agree to disagree it brings happiness because we are able to enjoy each other more and we have a lot of fun together.
These all sound pretty easy but do they happen all the time? No. Am I always happy in this stage of my life? Absolutely Not. Do I find myself saying things like, “When this happens then I will be happy..” Of Course But I am trying to live in today and do the things I can today and work on doing the things I need to do now so that I can enjoy this stage of my life.
When I sang with the Jenny Phillips Choir we sang a song called “Joy in the Journey” There is a part of it that says “Joy is in the Journey, Joy is when I’m learning to become like him. So even when I’m hurting and the clouds are grey and swirling I can see the beauty in their hue. Happiness is a choice within me. Joy is in the journey.”I believe that it is a choice to find happiness in whatever stage of life you are in. I will choose to be happy.
It is easy to look back on your life and think of all the great things you did because most of the time we forget all the hard things. Our perspectives change and one day I will look back on the stage I am in now and I want to be able to remember it will positive memories and be proud that I lived it to the fullest because as everyone says, “ One day I will miss this”
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.