What brings you joy in life?

It’s an interesting way to phrase the question: what brings you joy? As if to say that it is not something your create yourself but is served to you.

Most recently, woodworking, a new lady-friend, and a visit home to see my family has brought me joy. While flying to and from my hometown, reading on the plane was incredibly enjoyable. Writing, something I’ve long though to be important to me, has been a bit of a chore but it still brings me joy.

These things all have one common thread: the frustrations these activities create don’t impede the experience of joy they produce. Indeed, it’s often in the overcoming of any frustrations or setbacks that results in a feeling of joyousness. It’s the challenge that I enjoy most.

I don’t know, though, that I experience joy while engaged in an activity or after having finished it. I become hyperfocussed when working on a task that I enjoy. The whole rest of the world is shut out and the only thing that matters is what I’m working on. A text message or fire alarm are unappreciated, four-letter-word-producing interruptions. It’s an affront to be dissuaded. When I’m in this zone, I don’t know that I’m feeling anything, let alone joy. How can I be? There’s nothing but what I’m doing.

If this is so, does that mean that joy must exist in relation to something else? Does it need a cause or a counterpart? Does it exist before, during, or after something? Why does it become easier to deal with irritations and annoyances when I’m joyful?


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