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  • michelle m. davis

Hidden Joys

Let’s be honest. Nothing is normal, especially the Holidays.

A part of me wants to skip Christmas, celebrate it when the lockdowns are over and this pandemic is under control. But that’s kind of crazy, right? I mean, Jesus’s birth should be honored, COVID or not.

The truth is I’m missing traditions, yearning for the lead up to the 25th —you know, parties, cookie exchanges, Holiday lunches, visiting friends and relatives. I yearn for that carefree feeling where you’re not concerned about masks, infecting people, or becoming sick yourself. But this year is different. Life has changed. And, honestly, it kinda sucks.

Yet, something within tells me that I’m missing the point. Humanity is shifting, and as change occurs, what we have known as normal may no longer be. This does not imply that life will be worse. In fact, it might be quite the opposite. But here’s the clincher — we do not get to choose what stays and what ceases to exist. Instead, our challenge is to allow then accept, a very difficult task.

But how do we have faith and remain positive during uncertain times? What can we do to provide us with some comfort?

Perhaps we can find joy in places we never knew it existed, brightening our spirits and helping to create that feeling we’re missing.

But for this to occur, we must release unspoken expectations — of ourself, others, and our environment — as they limit us in so many ways. When we let go, we can then see untapped elements of joy in our life, perhaps areas we’ve ignored or taken for granted. Look around. Could you shift perspectives and view things a bit differently?

For me, I’m letting myself laugh more. Things which I’ve been oblivious to in the past now amuse me greatly. For example, I’m watching as our nine-pound dog — Bad Ass Bella —slowly grows into her own personality. My mother-in-law treated her like a princess, and Bella gladly accepted that role. But Bella’s lived with us for over two years and she’s morphing, finding out who Bella is. After all, aren’t we all doing the same? She’s showing more facial expressions, plays with Christmas ornaments that fall ono the ground after our lab’s tail knocks them off of the tree, and harasses my husband when she wants to eat dinner. Watching her personality awaken makes me laugh, bringing me levels of joy from a dog I felt challenged to connect with. There’s been a shift with Bella and me, and I like it. Yet had I not stopped to pause and become aware, would I have noticed?

I’m also laughing at myself, acknowledging how quirky, clumsy, and nerdy I can be. As I am becoming more comfortable being my true self, I no longer chastise my dumb ass comments, nor do I criticize my klutzy side when I drop things on the floor. And I rejoice in my love for Sudoku. That’s just who I am. And guess what, it’s OK.

I’ve also found humor in everyday situations and am feeling freer about expressing my own sense of humor. Sometimes it’s raunchy, which takes people off guard. Still, it feels good to laugh. In fact, we were with friends last week, and I found myself belly laughing like I haven’t in years.

Discovering hidden joys in everyday life does not mean that we are changing what is. Instead, we are becoming AWARE of what is around us — most likely things that we’ve ignored in the past — and seeing them in a new light. Some things may not amuse us in the least, but others, often the most unexpected, may cause joy to swell in our hearts.

Yes, I will miss holiday parties and celebrating the season with friends. I’ve accepted that it won’t happen this year. Instead, I’ll dig deeper, look for other bright lights in my life, most likely those I’ve taken for granted.

This year my gift to myself is simple — it’s gratitude — for what was, what is, and what will be.

Sending love, peace, happiness, and joy to all this Holiday Season.



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