Why Make Me Joyful?
In our hearts we know that life is supposed to be more than so-so, but all too often we feel stuck, disconnected and overwhelmed. We tell ourselves that we want more but we barely have the energy to get to the weekend, let alone figure out where we’re going in life. We put our heads down and get on with it: teeth gritted on the tube, heart sinking at work and feelings lukewarm in love. On the surface we have everything, but underneath it feels like we have nothing at all.
This makes me sad. In fact, it breaks my heart.
I believe that big dreams aren’t just for other people, that true love isn’t the preserve of the silver screen and that when you smile, the whole world really does smile with you.
I believe that people should be cherished, manners should be minded and that anyone can be cheered by a handwritten note.
I believe that life can be joyful.
You can read more about the Joyful Revolution in the manifesto, but the mission is clear: we can change our lives and change the world one joyful act at a time.
Who am I to be so darn Joyful?
Alas, I haven’t always been. Yes, I’m smiley but for a long time I had the whole smiling on the outside dying on the inside thing going on. I operated under a system of pretense: beamingly enthusiastic about a career, relationship and life that my body knew was wrong, even if my head wouldn’t let me admit to it. I’d studied at Cambridge and Oxford, qualified as a lawyer and yet I was entirely ignorant on the subject of what would make me happy. Enlightened I was not.
And then life started mixing things up. In the space of a few months my boyfriend of eight years proposed, my law firm started making redundancies and my step-father was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. The irony was inescapable: I was frittering away my life whilst someone I loved was fighting desperately for an extra day to live his. Not good.
So, to the surprise of my colleagues I volunteered for redundancy and to the surprise of everyone else, my boyfriend and I ended our relationship. A few self-help books later and Ta Da! Life sorted.
Not so much. It’s taken a few years of introspection and more than a few days of tears as I wondered whether I’d turned my back on the best I could hope for. Though challenging, this time reminded me of what I’d always known. That life is supposed to be more than just ok, that the gold star for quietly doing the ‘right thing’ never comes and that stringing together small moments of joy adds up to a whole lot more.
And so here I am: the Joyful Revolutionist.
8 Things That Make Me Joyful
- Fresh flowers, especially peonies. More uplifting than Prozac.
- Lounge bar jazz that sounds like it belongs on a Rom-Com soundtrack.
- My super-cute, affectionate in her own (slightly indifferent) way: Miss Pudding
- Cake. Homemade. Big slices.
- Films by Nora Ephron. Tom and Meg. Meg and Tom. Perfection.
- Beautiful stationery to indulge my paper fetish.
- Fresh sheets, a great book and the cold side of the pillow.
- Reinstating cocktail hour. The glamorous way to get tipsy.
1. Flowers by Bows and Arrows. Image via nbarrett photography
2. Image via Dave Dexter, Jr. Collection
5. Image via Jane Austen Film Club
6. Image from Rifle Paper
7. Image from Schoolhouse Electric
8. Image via Cush and Nooks