It’s no surprise to anyone who knows even a little bit about me that I am currently struggling in life.  While I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m “clinically depressed”, I am in a depression that requires medication that keeps me functioning on a half-way sane level.

I took the week off last week and had a couple of appointments – one with my counselor and another with my doctor.  The doctor doubled the strength of my happy pills.  Not to worry – that was the only option she had with this particular medication.  The counselor listened to my woes and gave me one assignment for the week – find the joy in my life – because it was obvious to her that I had misplaced it somewhere along the way.

So – I’m on a journey to discovering what brings me joy.  Let me tell you, it’s harder than it sounds when you’ve lost your way!  Especially when I was specifically instructed to find MY joys, not what makes my husband and kids happy.

But I have made some discoveries that I would like to share:

I’m a hoarder of physical memories. 

Keeping items close to me that reminds me of a time that brought me joy in the past, brings me joy in the present.  The problem with this is that my house has things in it that I cannot bring myself to part with because of the wonderful memories I have of that item or event.  Case in point – I still had my wedding bouquet from my wedding to Hun.  It’s not preserved, it’s just fake flowers, but it sat on top of my armoire for almost 12 years collecting dust and cobwebs.  It was a mess to look at!

Clutter like this clutters up my house, my life and my mind.  So, I vowed to do something about it, let go of my hoarding tendencies and release the joy back into my present.  I took part of the bouquet and turned it into a Christmas ornament.  The rest of that sad bouquet is currently in the trash.  I now have a memory that will be safely packed away in my mind, heart and attic (after the Christmas decorations are put up obviously!), freeing up space in my home.  My mind is free to think about something else other than cleaning that darn bouquet AGAIN, and the happy memory will become even sweeter in my heart when I unpack it year after year and place it on our tree.

The discovery that I’m a hoarder piggy-backs on another discovery:  Organization brings me joy.

Do you know how hard it is to be organized when you tend to hoard things?  I only know one organized hoarder and I know exactly where I get these traits from.  Thanks Mom!!

So, my new mission to attempt to turn my memories into Christmas ornaments will help with another area that stresses me out:  Cleaning my house.  How much easier is cleaning going to be if I don’t have to move almost 40 years of memories around when I’m attempting to dust?  If I’m keeping something because it brings me joy, how can I still keep the joy without sacrificing an organized life?  If anyone has any suggestions on how to preserve the memory of stuffed animals, please let me know!

These discoveries brought about another that brings me joy:  Creativity

I love to create things.  It doesn’t matter what I’m creating, but my soul longs to create.  Crocheting?  Check.  Painting?  Check.  Gardening?  Check.  Construction?  Check.  Good Food?  Check.  Assembling Christmas ornaments out of everyday items?  Check and double check!

I made one last discovery last week:  Helping others brings me joy.

I love to help people.  I love helping them to create.  I love helping them to become organized.  I love to help them in whatever help they need from me at the moment.  Need help with a plumbing issue?  I’m there to help.  Need help with a craft project?  Let’s get started!  Need help setting up for a party?  I’ll be there an hour early, just point me in the right direction.

Sharing my joys with others brings me joy.  I’ve created several Christmas gifts this year to give away.   It brought me so much joy to assemble them and some of the gifts have already given the recipients joy in receiving them.

These aren’t the only things that bring me joy, but it’s a really good start wouldn’t you say?

My wedding bouquet rediscovered as a Christmas Ornament

My wedding bouquet reinvented as a Christmas Ornament