As Katie and I have mentioned in our own ways, this calendar year has been a bit of a battle for both of us. My personal story has been riddled with body image issues (including weight gain/loss/over- and under- exercising and binge eating), job difficulty (there is a reason that my profession has the highest rate of burnout), feelings of failure, fear of missing out, doctor's visits, emotional labor, and loss. McHandsome has been undergoing professional certification and I have been enrolled in an intensive grad program. I've held teenager's hands as they've wept over their broken families, hugged parents as they have lost their children (who were my age, both murdered for no reason), hugged people my age as they discover they are losing (or have lost) their parents, and watched my aunt's family lose their business and livelihood in a freak flood. I've watched Alzheimer's take my maternal grandmother, slowly and surely. McHandsome has buried multiple grandparents. Add in the typical late 20-something feelings of marital and reproductive inadequacy ... Yahtzee.
Things were heavy, my friends. Winter was rolling in and the sun hadn't been seen in weeks - literally or figuratively. Forget choosing joy - or looking for happiness - I was struggling to breathe. I was hiding in my car with my phone at 2am just to be in a spot where I could be alone and there were no expectations on me.
I've had periods where I was able to redirect myself to choose to find the positive - I have previously completed 100 Days of Happiness ... so my cynical little self decided that when Katie issued the challenge to #FindJoyinNovember I was jumping in with two feet and buying stuff for the goshdarned giftbasket.
Because you, my friends, are the real gift.
Moments like early Tuscon mornings, quiet country back-roads, perfect fall-leaf ferns, and fuzzy socks have reminded me that warmth can be found in November, and joy can be found in troubling times.
Thank you for letting me tag along - and thank you for bearing with me as I start writing something other than legal documents again.
Thank you for reminding me to look for joy, even when I don't feel like it.
You are slowly, yet surely, re-awakening my inner Penelope Garcia.
And get tagging with #FindJoyinNovember on your social media outlet of choice!