Late last year, I realized that my word for the year was going to be that of “joy”. And, I have been determined to remind myself of my word each day. I also have been set on not letting others take my joy. One has to take the initiative to be joyous and also intentional. There is much in the world that may, at times, conspire to take one’s joy. I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I just know, have seen first-hand, how some individuals take joy in making others miserable. But I am not here to focus on those sad individuals. The joy leechers, as I call them. Reminds me of that supernatural episode called Purge where Sam and Dean apply for jobs at a wellness spa so they can investigate the murders of guests who have had the fat sucked out of them. Apparently, that was a bad thing. Anyway, I am digressing. The irony is that these extra bits are probably things that some would say I have to cut out or discard, a la Marie Kondo, but they bring me joy.
Marie Kondo is an organizing consultant and author who focuses on tidying up and purging extraneous items from one’s home. She has a popular Netflix show that I have yet to watch I will actually never watch. Honestly, I don’t need to watch someone tell me that I need to organize or need to throw out things that are cluttering my life. First off, it sounds a bit judgmental to me. Yes, I get that it is a focus on decluttering one’s physical and mental space. I get it. But what may seem like clutter to one person is to another a life fully lived. As someone who several times lost everything she owned, I now relish everything I own. Even if it is a trinket I bought at a seaside town I treasure it. I like looking at these things and coming up with stories. I like looking at these items and then digging into my memory bank. We have so many moments lived that we have forgotten. And any little thing can help bring forth a long-lost memory.
Today, a song by Pink came on the radio and reminded me of a mentor I lost ten years ago. Then I came home and I came across and unpacked a Rockwell dish that used to belong to him. And, I get that Ms. Kondo advocates for getting rid of things that do not bring one joy. It makes sense. But to me, not everything brings me joy on a daily basis and yet can bring me joy for two minutes as I reminisce about a great mentor I once had. And this is something that I cannot easily replace. Nor does it mean that I am living in the past as she hints at in her books.
Because this is my year of joy, I will do the opposite of tidying up. I am not going to shop and buy tons of unnecessary items. That is not what I am talking about. I am going to find joy in each corner and bit. I am not going to look for things that do not give me joy. I am going to find joy everywhere. I will be purposeful and intentional.
And what truly doesn’t give me joy and that never will, I will go ahead and discard. For instance, I just came across my old binder for my dissertation analyses. I had held onto this for a while. I thought that maybe one day I would want to do something more with my analyses and maybe one day publish those results. This week, I put them in the garbage. Its not that they didn’t give me joy. Its just that that is no longer me and maybe never really was me. That may sound odd. But I have veered quite far from academia and found my joy in such a different space. I also have no need to publish or make known my results. I have an impact in a different realm. And, with that I just finally threw it all out. I didn’t have any grand feeling of liberation. But I do have more space for a new pair of shoes.