Jen and the Art of Finding Joy

It is never too late to be who you might have been. ~ George Eliot
I stepped on the scale today for the first time in about two months. Holy hell, I gained seven pounds in two months. In almost-correct (read: Jen) math, that's about a pound a week, which leads me to believe it wasn't all the Halloween candy. Nor was it all Thanksgiving leftovers. I made a conscious decision right around the 1st of October to refrain from allowing my A-Man-in-Every-Portugal painted toenails to light upon that damn silver-and-glass messenger of triple digits. (Nobody wants to kill the messenger, after all. Nor chip their pedicure.)

It's funny how my concerted effort to ignore the scale served as the perfect foil for a not-so-great result. I tried to ignore something in order to gain nothing. Hmmmn, no, that's not it. Rather, I chose to pretend that not measuring something would make it not even count. Yeah, that didn't really work out for me... I should, maybe, never be trusted with math.

It's like a lot of things I've come to realize of late: I think people are programmed to sometimes overlook their greatest assets and dreams because life gets in the way. To forget what you're all about in order to focus on what that given day's about. Problem is, days add up. And I'm starting to think that life, and dreams, and assets can all learn to hang out, drink a case of Corona, string some Christmas lights, sing fa-la-la, and peacefully get along and get lit. And stay lit, all year long.
I read "Eat Pray Love" a few years back and finally saw the movie the other night. [Editor's note: I saw it for the first time on opening weekend in the theatre with a good friend but... enter Corona and good company, and movie becomes third wheel.] While Julia Roberts would definitely not have been my first choice to play the lead, and, as always is the case, the flick did not measure up to the novel, I still enjoyed it.

I thought about the "word" the characters discussed that describes every city and, ultimately, every person. They chose sex as the one word to describe all of Italy. Achieve for NYC... Elizabeth Gilbert finally chose the word attraversiamo ("Let's cross over") as her own word to describe everything about her. I have yet to choose one for me. Exhausted certainly works today. It's hard to choose one word, however, that describes every single thing about me, but I readily accept the challenge. I'm leaning toward optimistic, though if we're gonna do the Italian thing here, I'm also fond of sognatore... Or adagio... An old friend of mine once coined the word Mephistophelina as that little thing that makes you want to scream "%#@!" aloud in church, be just a little naughty when you're called upon to be nice, and think of only silly things during a very, very serious conversation. Yeah, mephistophelina is definitely my word, too.

While we're thinking about thinking, I read O magazine the other day. (Sounds like a confession, which it partly is. While I am oftentimes frightened by the mighty Oprah's audience and their vim and vigor, let there be no doubt, I do thoroughly enjoy her magazine. Perhaps no Mephistophelina exists as Editor, but optimism definitely prevails. There's a great message in that magazine.) There was an article this past month about finding one's true calling. Now, if I were a sprightly little thing, I'd jump off of my couch right now and go and grab the issue from my bedroom to fact-check, etc. But, and that's a big butt, it's 11pm and I have seven extra pounds weighing me down. Ahem.

According to O, if you close your eyes and think back to all of the times you've been thoroughly joyful, you can find a window through which you can see your one true calling. Sounds easy at first, but it's really not, for me. And it's not that I haven't experienced joy. But it's tough for me to tie the two together into one, cohesive calling, per se. I am joy-filled when I am with AJ and Lila. But that's got nothing to do with a professional career. I experience the greatest joy when it's afternoon in winter and I'm alone on a beach in New England, but I honestly doubt there's a job on for that. I was on a sailboat this one time, in this one particular harbour, and closed my eyes to breathe in the salt and wind, and I experienced such great joy. But I can't sail and I don't own a boat.

I know I'm not going about the O experience correctly. I should be thinking about an action that I was 100% involved in and that I found great joy in. OK: I love brainstorming about ads. I love choosing photographs for creative work. I do find joy in creating things. And in writing... It's a start.

So. I guess I've been thinking a bunch. About a lot of really important things. But I also allow my mind to go for stretches with no thought but that of my Id, which whispers to me "happy" every time Lila gives me a big flopsy hug. My Ego still sighs with relief when AJ tells me, "Mama, you're beautiful." (Superego can go suck it.) And joy, joy, joy!!! when we can all be up in New England for Christmas. Perhaps I'll walk on a snowy Connecticut beach in the afternoons... Maybe the adagio of the choir will drown out Mephistophelina's giggles during Christmas Eve church service. We'll most definitely be spending New Year's Eve with a bunch of sailors... There will be joy.

Ahh, so maybe I'll keep the joy I already have, and then just find some more...

The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me. ~ Ayn Rand, "The Fountainhead"
h a p p y    w e e k e n d !


SwedishJenn said…
Wow, you went deep with this one. Like real deep. Like I can't hold my breath long enough to follow you down there. But after rereading it a few times, cuz that's what us shallow peeps have to do, I found the profound messages. What I didn't find is my Oprah joy. So I think I'll go with your approach. Except that I have 25 ppl invited and coming to my husband's 50th birthday party/Christmas party and not only is my house too small but I have no idea what to do for food. And this is weighing me down, kinda like your 7 extra lbs. It's killing my joy. So I will be joyful when THAT is over.
Kelly said…
I love peeking into your sweet heart and learning more about what's inside; it's beautiful and special all around!
Jen said…
Jen-you are going to think this is weird but (aside from the two of us living very different lives - no kids/kids/ no husband/ husband) you have many times blogged about the exact emotions I am/was feeling. Today is one of those days. I swear, I got on the scale yesterday- something I try not to do- and gained 6 pounds. I am "not myself" right now but can't put my finger on why.. and ironically, I turn to my monthly subscription of O for help in these times.

Bottom line is not to share my woes, but to thank you for blogging. It is so nice to know that someone I miss and care about (you) may have a day like I am having or may be struggling a bit like I struggle.

Thank you so much. Keep them coming. Hugs,

PS> the photos of AJ and Lila for the holidays are GORGEOUS.
Anne Church said…
Ohh I do love these thoughts. Joy is so elusive, so present, so easy to miss. You and Oprah both have it right. The night you were born, I held you and wanted to name you Joy.(I was into J names hee)I still do. xo
Heidi said…
im comin back. im getting ready to have lunch with you at chick filet. thats right...get up and ready. see you there in 45 minutes bizotch!!!

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