What Brings Us Joy

When I’m in the middle of making a big decision, I find the best thing to do is to take one giant step back, remove myself from the details and try to look at it from a big picture perspective.

I don’t mean just “where will this choice leave me in 5 or 10 years?” But more, how does this decision play into who I am as a person? Does is match up with my core values? And this might sound fleeting, but I also ask myself “will this choice bring more or less joy into my life?”

Joy can mean something different to everyone, but in this context I think of it as the things that feed my soul. That make me smile. That make me feel alive.

As part of our decision-making process about this opportunity in Mexico, Luke and I sat down this weekend to make a list. The list is called “what brings us joy.” The goal? To approach decisions about our life with these things in mind.

What Brings Us Joy (in no order)

– Being together
– Being outside
– Being with extended family
– Having experiences over having things
– Having a community to spend time with (friends/organizations)
– Time to explore hobbies & personal interests
– Being fit and healthy
– Being creative
– Helping others
– Fostering spirituality

Now, I know that it’s not realistic that make life just about these things. There are bills to pay. Jobs to work. Obligations to fulfill. BUT I do think we often time lose sight of what matters most to us and before we know it our lives have gotten too far from what brings us joy.

And anyway, who says joy can’t dominate our days? Maybe it doesn’t have to be something we experience for fleeting moments, but something that is a constant presence in our lives?

When we took a step back to look at our list, we realized that we are doing well at arranging our life to maximize some of our joy-creators like:

– being together more (why we moved to Reno and eliminated Luke’s commute)
– being outside (why we chose to live near walking paths)
– being fit & healthy (why we follow Paleo and work out)
– Exploring personal hobbies (why we moved to Nevada to be closer to skiing/hiking)

But we’re also woefully lacking in other areas:

– Being close to family/friends
– Having a community to spend time with
– Being creative
– Helping others

We’re still deciphering what this all means in the context of Mexico, but I feel like this process helped strip away our superficial feelings about the decision. Now we’re approaching it from an introspective, thoughtful place.