Its a simple enough question but, since the lockdown started, I have sometimes struggled with it. On a dark day when I feel lonely and sad my husband will touch my hand and say, ‘do the things that give you joy.’ Its a wonderful act of kindness and he is telling me to stop worrying about working, tidying, cleaning, cooking, finance, or looking after any other aspect of our life.
He works from home every day so, as we approach the weekend, the thought of not having to worry about work or anything else gives him joy. He is capable of reading a book whilst there are dishes on the side that need to find their way into the dishwasher.
Very sadly, on Tuesday, I learnt of the death of a man who has been a mentor and coach to me during my 26 years in business. I liked him a lot and respected him. We didn’t talk often, but when we did it was normally deep, wide ranging and illuminating. I feel sad that he continued to work right up to his death and whilst enduring cancer treatment. I feel deeply saddened, that someone who helped me plan my retirement will never see his own. I felt sadness for his family, work colleagues and for the other people, like me, who benefited from his diligence, warmth, sometimes harsh critique but always support.
I notice that it is important to know what sadness is, because then, if I can feel that, I can also know joy.
About an hour ago, as we were having lunch something pinged on my phone and for absolutely no reason I started to cry, uncontrollably. It lasted for 10 minutes. My husband offered some sage advice and ended it by suggesting that I do whatever gives me joy. He suggested that it may be an idea to sit in the garden and read a book. I agree that is a good idea, it always gives me pleasure to read. So that’s the solution then!
As I contemplated a cup of tea, I got to thinking about ‘What gives me joy’ and the answer is simple. Its conversations with people, ideally, in person. The conversation doesn’t have to be lengthy but it has to be meaningful. It can be a discussion where we have to agree to disagree and it will still give me joy. It could be a conversation with someone in a work setting, someone who asks for my advice, that always gives me joy. I had a few of those over the past few months and every single conversation has given me joy.
So, thank you to everyone who called for a chat, sought advice, had a coaching session. You give me joy. x