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Finding Joy

Let’s face it—adulting is hard. Especially these days.


With everything 2020 has already thrown at us, it’s easy to be feeling low and beaten down. I know I have more rough days lately than I’m willing to admit.


It feels like we just need one big win lately. Maybe for Publisher’s Clearinghouse to show up on our doorstep with a bunch of balloons and a fake check the size of Rhode Island… Or maybe for a recruiter for the dream job I didn’t even know existed to reach out via LinkedIn and tell me they need me at 5 times my current pay.


But we know these aren’t things reasonable people expect. And even if they were, you certainly couldn’t count on them when you needed them most.


So instead, I’m trying to soak in all the joy I can from the little things that happen every day. If I can’t have one big happy, maybe I can combine all my little happies to help even things out a little bit.


This morning on my way to work, I saw a man walking along a very busy street during rush hour. Actually, I shouldn’t say he was walking. This man was full on dancing. He had headphones on and was clearly blissed out to a tune that he loved, and he was letting himself enjoy it to its fullest without a bit of shame. I couldn’t help but smile at how much he was enjoying himself. “He gets it,” I thought…


Obviously, I can give myself some opportunities for joy… I made shirts both for a coworker’s going away (complete with an inside joke, because who doesn’t love an inside joke?) and a friend who could use a pick-me-up (really that was just an excuse to make a cow shirt that said “Calm Your Teats” because cow humor is important to this Wisconsinite).


And just today, we received a copy of friend-of-the-blog James Guttman’s (of Hi Blog, I’m Dad and Hi Pod, I’m Dad) soon-to-be-released book, The Expectant Father’s Activity Book. His publisher sent us an advance copy for us to review, and I’ve gotta say that’s a pretty awesome perk of this blog-writing gig… I’m only a couple of pages in, but so far it’s amazeballs.


But more lasting than a couple of short-lived projects was an addition to our family. We welcomed Donny, a 2-year-old rescue cat, to our clan just this weekend. He’s super social and playful, and he’s already making himself at home. He and Walter are even beyond the point of being cranky about there being another strange cat living with them, and they’ve moved on to play-fighting and butt-sniffing (that’s a good sign, right?). Donny is a rule-breaker, and Walter is starting to pick up some bad habits…


He doesn't like to hold still for a photo, either...

Regardless, Donny is soft, fuzzy, adorable, silly, and probably somewhat murderous. I mean, that’s just how cats work…


But the thing that’s probably helping the most (or just proving how close I am to cracking—it’s a toss-up depending on the day) is laughter.


For example, a coworker’s lotion bottle made an enormous fart sound at work last week, and I’m confident we laughed out loud about it for 20 minutes. Was it that funny? If you’re twelve maybe. But we must’ve needed that laugh because it felt like the funniest thing ever.


Even funnier than that, though, was a couple of weekends ago when Nolan asked to use the bathroom while we were out for a drive. We stopped at a Kwik Trip (always a favorite) for a potty break and cold beverage. It was hot that day, so I had on a sleeveless shirt. As we were checking out and I’m digging in my purse and making small talk with the employee, Nolan suddenly grabbed my arm. The next thing I knew, he was blowing big juicy fart raspberries on my arm. I laughed and made a comment to him about how random and hilarious it was, I and went back to working with the employee. So Nolan went back to blowing raspberries.


When we finally completed the transaction (with the employee totally calm and unphased by the man-child making huge fart noises on my arm with his mouth as if it were just a typical thing she sees all the time), we headed for the door. He got me one more time on the way out, and we were back on the road.


So on a day like today (where I somehow managed to get a wedgie from my skirt?), I do my best to revel in whatever joy I can find. Whether it’s the infectious silly giggle that Nolan gets when he’s had a long day and is overly tired or laughing at my own absurd ability to misremember the lyrics to songs that get stuck in my head (including inappropriate words in children’s songs) or somehow end up with a skirt up my ass, I laugh.


I need to laugh. I laugh at Donny trying to trip us with every step we take and Walter begging for belly rubs in the middle of the kitchen floor. I laugh at Nolan’s daily hijinks. I laugh at the bad jokes I put onto shirts. I laugh at inappropriate bodily noises and bad jokes like a middle schooler. And most importantly I laugh at myself.

If I couldn’t laugh, I’m not sure where I’d be… I’m only sure I wouldn’t be enjoying it as much as I do.

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