First of all, I truly do love retirement. I have certainly written about all of the joys and the freedoms that it brings. But I have to say, there are moments when I just cannot smile. I call it “life messing with me”. It seems that whenever I get on a high or start boasting of the wonders and joys of living a happy life, I get a tap on my back and hear a voice say, “Not so fast”.
All you have to do is to turn on the TV and get blasted with insane, idiotic babble coming from political candidates and that will bring you down fast. You certainly don’t have to look far now to be traumatized by horrific violence around you on a daily basis, whether it be gun violence, criminal violence or daily mass killings. Or get a phone call from someone experiencing trauma or personal issues and you will start focusing on them and their problems and soon lose your joy. Or maybe you will get a feeling inside that tells you, I need to be doing this or that or just maybe reflective thinking that makes you wonder “What have I really done with my life?”
But…I am here to say sadness and stress are going to happen. Anyone who believes you can maintain a constant state of joy is fooling themselves. It is an issue of what do you do when you have those times where you cannot smile or you cannot feel joy. Well here are some tips I use and hopefully some of them will speak to you:
- First, accept the downs with the ups. We live in a stressful, hateful, complicated world where if you begin to focus on it too much, you will find yourself feeling sadness and despair. So I say, accept it and move on. Realize that while you cannot always fix the big picture, focus on that part that you can fix and start there. Turn off the TV. Clear your mind. Stop reading the negatives on Social Media and start putting out some positives. One thing I try to do every single day is to post a Scripture on Facebook. I certainly believe that inspired Scripture is going to speak to someone, somewhere. I don’t know who and I don’t know where, but it will be something that someone needs to hear at that moment. That is how I trust the power of God and His written word. And posting, keeps me on the high road. I can’t trash people if I am telling them how much God loves them, now can I?
- Second, find your joy! Believe it or not even with unhappiness, sadness and despair, there is joy still to be had. All of these negative emotions are authentic but they do no have to define us. Choose joy! Choose happiness! Choose hope! While I can not do this on my own always, I serve a God who is able to guide me and give me the hope that transcends my circumstances. I have always said “While God may not change your circumstances, He can and will change YOU in the midst of those circumstances. I have been going through some emotional, hard experiences of late, but I have given those burdens to God and most people close to me do not see a depressed, downtrodden, or despaired person. Because you see, I know who I serve. I know He is able. And while I may want certain outcomes in life, I trust Him to provide the best in His own timing. So choose joy!
- Third, brush yourself off and move on. What makes any of us think we must be happy always? Sure media paints a pretty picture of happy couples, families and individuals and we spend time wishing we could take that vacation, get that perfect job, save all that money for security and find that special someone. But sitting waiting, hoping and desiring will not always bring about a change. Live your life now! Enjoy each day to the fullest. Recognize with each new morning, you have been given another chance, another opportunity to be better and do better. Bring joy to yourself and certainly bring joy to others around you, whether it be a smile, a kind word or a simple random act of kindness.