Let’s face it 2020 was a challenging year. 2020 wore everyone out, stretched emotional and finical budgets. 2021 is going so much better, but everyone I know still wears 2020 as a badge – even if they don’t want to. I tried to reboot this blog at the first of the year, and I’m just now starting to feel like I’ve got some kind of momentum to sit down and write. I know I’m not alone because I’ve heard this from many people I know. We are exhausted and tapping an empty well.
It will take a while to recover from 2020, and we are not even through the pandemic yet. I’ve read many stories about giving ourselves grace, giving ourselves room to be whatever we need to be. While I agree we need that space for ourselves, I have found that doing is helping me. Let me explain because it’s not all doing – it’s very intentional doing. I gave up street photography for most of 2020 because there was no one on the streets. Now, as almost all restrictions have lifted in Nashville, I’ve gone out a few times and taken street photos. The first time was hard, and I did not get any shots I liked. The second time I took my time and just enjoyed being on the streets. I can’t tell you what a difference in attitude I had for weeks after that. A simple act of doing something I loved brought me so much joy.
Another intention that has helped me start feeling normal is taking time to observe. I was one of the crazy people who decided to move during a pandemic. It was just down the road, but a move is stressful even at the best of times. My new house is a bit more out in the country but still very much in a neighborhood. But being out has also given me a nice backyard and front yard with a garden area. I’ve planted lavender, sage, and various other perennials. I don’t think much about what I’m planting other than it makes me happy. The process of watching my plants grow and watching the butterflies bounce has brought a feeling of peace. As I sit on my back porch enjoying the afternoon breeze and listening to my wind chimes, there is peace outside and observing the world around me. Taking the time to slow down and really enjoy looking at the things around you.
There are so many ways to fill an empty well. Maybe it’s going out for drinks with a friend or heading to the local art museum, or perhaps it’s going downtown and shooting street photos. Where you find joy – start doing.
I know some people are very much back to normal, but many of us are slowly enter back into the “real” world. Slow is good but don’t forget to do the things you love. Whatever brings your joy out in the world – go do it.
What are some ways you find joy, and what are your ways of engaging in that joy?