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Remember Having Time for Joy

Remember Having Time for Joy

Remember when you spent days just experiencing joy? You never said, “I’ve Always Wanted to Spend Each Day Alone and Lonely!”

Don’t think you need to do this now, or ever. Plan for Joy. You deserve it!

You were tired of the daily work schedule, so you retired. Now you have no schedule . . . unless you create one. There you are alone at home day after day. If this isn’t a recipe for potential loneliness, I don’t know what is. How do you avoid it? You make a plan for doing all those things you waited to do.

Do you do them all at once? Of course not, you can’t. But take that bucket list and put it in order so you can get started on it. This is what it is for. First, order the items by their importance to you, not just medical importance, but real “I’ve wanted to do this for years” importance.

Make Your Joy Priority List

Make your top ten or top five joyful activities. These should best be yours and yours alone, not someone else’s priority for you. Then identify what is close and possible. Take the trips out and make that a separate list, then plan a trip schedule into your calendar. Now, look at the nearby activity items and set up a plan to do them each week or each month.

If you want to be with people, either make a call or email list and decide to contact someone each day if you can. Schedule your people activities first so they happen at the time of day you would otherwise be most lonely. For example, eating 21 meals alone every week is just plain unhealthy. You can schedule one meal every day with others. Even if you both make “shakes” and take a walk. This may need to go on your schedule first.

Then you can schedule exercise or outdoor activities with someone you enjoy doing them with. Pick a walking partner. Pick a lunch-by-the-lake partner. These things are so easy that we often forget to schedule them. But if we do plan them and put them on a calendar, then our days are not alone and empty. All your other errands can be scheduled around them.

Start a Service Business or club

You can start a business if you want. It can be simple. If you don’t own a dog perhaps you can walk someone else’s dog, if you love dogs. They might love the support and the dog surely would love a new friend. Even if you have a dog, dogs might like a playmate just as you would.

You could make it a club. The club can meet at a particular time to walk dogs each day, or anything else like playing cards.

You may have a particular class at your gym that you love and need to put in your schedule first. Do this before you can use the excuse of other things getting in the way. This is the time for the things you love the most to take over your life. That’s a great idea! Let them take over your life.

Sort Happiness Into Your Schedule

Sorting and cleaning up your home is another good idea, in moderation. There is a sorting technique for clothing that suggests you hold up each article in your wardrobe and assess whether it “sparks joy.” If items in your closet don’t do this, then you get rid of them, sell them, or pass them along to others. This idea is from Marie Kondo's Books that help you "Spark Joy" as you sort your posessions.

Now, a spin off on this idea is to clean up your schedule the same way. Make a calendar and clear off anything that is not medically required. Think before you add back each of your activities — does this "Spark Joy"? Fill your calendar with only the things make you feel happy and filled with joy!

You can do many things for others that fill you with joy — this does not mean just to include selfish things. But think about the concept of bringing joy to yourself and others. What would you think if you got up every day and cheered because you could do something that brought you joy. Do it. Remove the things that make you sad and bored and lonely and fill every day with at least one activity that brings you joy. You can do this. Grab an empty calendar and try it.

What Brings You Joy?

Have you identified some things to do that bring you joy? In addition to adding them to your calendar you can make a "Time for Joy" list. Figure out what times of day that you feel the most alone and see how much time you have available then for joyful items instead.

Now, take your list of things that fill you with joy and add a "Time for Joy" column. Note down the time next to each one that you would like to spend doing the activity. It can be as small and instant as a smile or as long and large as a three-hour spa session with a manicure and pedicure or a golf game. Next, you can fill in your calendar more specifically with the activities that fit into your available time, the time you want to fill with joy. Five minutes one day and two hours another day works well.

Be playful with this simple idea. Plan specific items in your days that you can look forward to and bring you joy. Make at least one entry each day with a “Time for Joy” item. You can make a lovely balanced checkerboard on your calendar with time for many different joyful things.

At special moments when you are feeling down, you can also check that "Time for Joy" list and just spontaneously go do one of the joyful things that fit into that time. You finally have all the free time you have ever wanted. Now, plan it. Fill it with joy. You will not have time to schedule another hour of miserable loneliness into your days anymore.

Article Written by Pepper Peterson Oldziey

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