Marie Kondo, the author of the best-selling book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing‘ emphasizes the need to do away with items that no longer ‘spark joy.’ I read this book in my senior year of high school. I thought then, that this book was outrageously verbose, given how I drew only two takeaways from it: to throw away stuff that no longer sparks joy, and to fold and stow my clothes horizontally for easier access (without creating a mess in the dresser).
I am in my final year of undergrad now. Though my opinion of the book has not changed, I have had many more experiences to consider the ways in which joy is sparked in my life. Rather than a spark, I feel the joy I experience is better described as flames or as hums that persist in the background of my conscience. Joy, to me, need not be as exciting as passion. It just needs to be delightful, and as such: can be found in things as small as seeing my dog by my nightstand when I wake in the morning.
Haley suggested I draw from my previous blog posts to review the many ways in which I find joy. She mentioned my dog and my love for visual arts as two examples. I hope the following entries will inspire you to try my techniques and practices for finding joy, and that this article will let you give pause and reflect on what makes you most joyous.
Planning can be stressful. It can also be exhilarating to imagine all the things you can do and places you can see. My approach to planning takes on a play-it-by-ear attitude with backup plans for emergency situations. Generally, I really enjoy planning activities and trips for myself and for others. Thinking about all the possibilities for things to do on time off in and of itself already brings me great joy.
Breaking out can also be as stressful. Skin health plays an important part in how I feel overall. If I am wearing an itchy sweater, I feel self-conscious about how I appear to others. If I am experiencing a painful breakout, it may be distracting when I attempt to focus on tasks like reading. But at the same time, I take great pleasure in the routine I maintain in replenishing my skin of its moisture every morning and evening. I find joy in being able to sample new products and to see my skin glow after applying lotion. I also experience joy when chatting about skincare with my friends. We all have skin—and it is likely that we can all learn from one another for how to best take care of our largest organ.
Finally, I also find joy in changing the environment in which I work. Variety is the spice of life, after all! I find that moving from one room to another is a good way to combat Zoom fatigue, which is a common effect of tiredness after attending many online meetings. I find most joy in taking virtual classes in spaces with easy access to food. My kitchen and local cafe are two examples that come to mind.
How do you find joy? Let me know in the comments below, or let the Life at U of T know by sharing your thoughts on social media with the #JoyAtUofT hashtag.