Accomplishment versus joy

My therapist asked me, how much time I spend on “accomplishments” rather than joy. I have been so focused on “doing things” that made me feel like I had accomplished something, that I wasn’t spending any time focusing on things that bring me joy. She encouraged me to try setting up my days so that I have a balance of accomplishments and joy.

What brings me joy? A lot of things, but the problem is that I’m not getting joy from them – or not to the same extent. My happiness emotions are definitely muted, where my sadness emotions are on overdrive.

Things that bring me joy include:

  • a bike ride on a warm spring/summer/fall day
  • paddle boarding and then swimming on a freshwater lake
  • a hike in through interesting natural areas (forests, coastlines)
  • a walk on the beach with Cali, watching her run after the ball
  • baking for others
  • entertaining (e.g., having people over for supper)

Yesterday I had a pretty major sadness meltdown. I started the day with preparing the baseboards in my hubby’s office so that they could be painted. This turned into a much bigger task than I thought as many of the finishing nails were not in all the way, so I had to do a lot of pounding in of nails before I could spackle. It took everything out of me. My body was sore, especially my knees and the tops of my feet from kneeling, but also my back. I was exhausted from the effort, dripping with sweat. When I finished, I took a shower and laid down to watch some TV. Physical effort and exhaustion from such a minor task made me feel really sad. I felt like my body wasn’t letting me do the things I want to do. I was generally feeling sorry for myself, and I was doing a lot of crying. I felt like curling up into a ball and sobbing, which is pretty much what I did, for at least six hours if not longer.

Today I thought more about joy. I had been wanting to get out for a bike ride for a while, but the weather hasn’t quite been ready for it. Having previously reduced the inertia required by ensuring my tires were pumped up, I went out for a ride. I’m not sure how far I rode as my watch died after a couple of minutes of riding. Probably around 20km, which seems impressive until you find out that I was riding my electric bike. Either way, I was out for an hour and enjoyed being on a bike again. I’m looking forward to a time when I’m feeling strong enough to ride my recumbent again. The tires are pumped up and ready for whenever I want to take it for a spin. I just need to feel strong enough for it. It requires quite different muscles to get started. It would be much better on my lymphademia filled arms, but without the electric assist, I will need to do all the work myself!

I also spent some time at the old house digging up plants to bring to the new place. I’ve particularly been enjoying digging up various flower bulbs (mostly tulips and daffodils) and transplanting them to here. Even if they die off this year, there is hope that next spring my garden will be filled with flowers. I am hoping that one day I will look out my windows and see flowers on both sides of the condo.

And then, while making dinner I also made some cookies – almond flour, peanut butter, carrot, chocolate chip cookies. It is a new recipe that I hope turns out. I’d like to give some of them away to show things for some of the work one of my neighbours did to finish up hubby’s office. It is now fully painted and ready for him to start moving his stuff out of my office and into his office. That will make me feel better, as then I will have my own space so I can setup to do my podcast again. I’m thinking of my podcast as a way to get my mind back into instructional design and into what’s happening with AI in that space, so that I’m read to go back to work in the fall.

Today I tried to work on my joy list. My accomplish list is much lower today because I chose to focus on the joy list. I do feel quite a bit better today than I did yesterday.

Tomorrow and Tuesday may need to be more ‘balanced’ days with some accomplishments as well as some joy. I’m hoping most of my time in California (a week) is spent on joy. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends again. We definitely have some joy planned!

  • Becky

One Comment

  • I’m glad you have a trip to California in the near future. We are going on a cruise to Greece and Italy at the end of April which I am very much looking forward to.

    Love you

Leave a Reply