With all the bad stuff that goes on around us, to friends, to family members, to ourselves, to the world at large, my new philosophy is that anything that I am doing, no matter what it is, needs to bring me some form of joy.
Apparently there is a book about this somewhere, but I haven’t a clue which one. So we will just say that this is my own personal theory on living your best life. The phrase “living your best life” might come from Oprah. I wouldn’t want to steal anything that Oprah gets credit for….
For example, if you are doing exercise, you should be enjoying it. If you aren’t, try another kind of exercise. I don’t really like running or doing those masochistic burpees — who am I kidding? Do you know what a burpee is? They look harmless when you watch other people do them, but try them yourself, and it is a 911 call waiting to happen.
So I walk. That brings me joy. And it usually brings Husband #1 something he requested from Stop & Shop, because that is where I usually walk to.
Fortunately, all those folks who were walking during the great lockdown of 2020 have stopped walking, so the streets are mine again. Truth is, I can no longer really tell who is walking because I have to go back to my very positive and optimistic eye doctor, so those folks might still be out there.
In any event, the walking brings me joy.
When I ran Camp Babka, that brought me extreme joy. You can really learn a lot from a 2-year-old. Dumping a large container of crayons is a lot of fun. Dumping a large container of Legos is a lot of fun. Dumping a large container of random toys is a lot of fun. And the best thing about it is that when Strudel comes back downstairs to play again, everything is cleaned up and she says, “I clean up.” And I look at her and say, “No, I clean up!” She thinks that is very funny, and that brings me immense joy, and the exercise I get cleaning it up is joyful as well! (We will just go with that. In actuality, when Strudel dumps the crayons, she says with a smile, “Babka sad.” Babka doesn’t like cleaning up crayons.)
This past weekend, we were blessed with beautiful weather. Did you go whitewater rafting? To a pool? To a beautiful park? I was home watching “The Sopranos” and, yes, it brought me joy. The only problem with watching this show is that my dreams have been very, very odd. This also happened with the last show I binge-watched — “Six Feet Under.”
“Six Feet Under” came out in 2001, and it was on for five seasons. It is about a family that runs a funeral home. I gotta say, this was an interesting show to rewatch after having gone through various losses over the years. But, yes, I am going to say it: it brought me joy, and some really interesting discussions about life and death.
Alrighty, enough about that.
Husband #1 is now at the point of the year where everything I say to him is followed by, “It is almost Rosh Hashana.” If I liked to drink, I would turn it into a drinking game. Everyone, take a shot every time he says it.
This phrase, though true and powerful, does not bring joy, because we are entering the time of year that is scary. Though, if you think about it, every time of year is scary because you have absolutely no idea what is going to happen. So that is where my very annoying theory about joy comes in.
Do things that make you happy. Do things that bring yourself and others joy. Eat the cupcake (unless your doctor tells you otherwise). Watch the show (unless your parents tell you not to). Take the walk and enjoy the scenery and find joy wherever you can.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is available for motivational speaking engagements. She is kidding, because public speaking does not bring her joy.