I was somewhat forced into early retirement, due to the loss of my, job due to Covid. Sort of. Living mostly on limited Social Security is not easy. But not impossible. Yet it limits what I am able to do at any given time. My parents have grown more needy since all of this began, and since I am now home. I understand, and I am thankful beyond measure they are still with us.
But, as actually, mildly annoying and inconvenient as my issues are, the world is producing much worse outside my bubble.
There is diseases in many forms. The weather has blown up in ways that has taken lives and livelihoods. Homes lost to hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and more. Humans, while some having always had a dark streak, this has exploded in an ugliness before unimaginable. We are hurting each other needlessly. Whether we are in the midst of a conspiracy, whether the dark is attempting to destroy community as we know it, whether evil is out to destroy the heart of mankind, doesn’t matter. We are each in our own way allowing this and we are allowing it to steal our joy.
I can’t tell others how to express their joy, or how to live joyfully. I can only speak of and for myself. Maybe though, in the describing my way, it will inspire them to find their own joy and live it fully.
My days begin pretty much the same way. I rise, let the dogs out into the fenced front yard then begin brewing my coffee. If the cats are outside, I take them their food and water. I make myself comfortable here and start reading the many blog posts that have been shared during the night. At some point, mom will call and we will chat for however long she wishes. Then, I will prepare my own words from the dirt road for the day. I don’t attempt to teach, mostly share the words and feelings from the heart. If a lesson of some sort gets tucked in along the way, so much the better.
So, where does a sixty-three year old, retired, widow find joy?
I find it in my son and extended family. Even the members that I don’t see often. They encourage me, they tease me, they dare me to fly while attempting to make sure my flights only go toward the sun not into it. They challenge me to step outside my comfort zone into new adventures and I grow stronger with each step forward.
I find it in friends, those who accept me as I am. Those who see and smile through the eccentricities that are all a part of me.
I find joy in my home and yard. In the safe, comfortable place that it is and has always been. In the woods that are a part of family property where I can wander at will and find peace.
In my hikes. Whether it is up a mountain or around a paved path. Finding the peace that waits for me there.
In my hobby of photography, where I can chase butterfly, bees and all of nature forgetting for a time what lies outside of that past time. Seeking to capture and create something special.
In my writing, where I bleed words onto the page. Attempting to share a part of me that may uplift, entertain, or encourage another.
In my faith, where my strength and hope comes from.
For me, simple things bring joy, that special gladness that heals the soul and lifts the spirits.