"Travel more extensively", "Begun my business sooner”, "Made peace with my father", " Sold more paintings", "Worked less, and played more," "Stayed in school and got a degree”, "Followed my heart”, "Volunteered more”, "Not let others make up my mind”, "Taken more chances with my career”, "Been more adventurous”, "Ended my marriage sooner,” "Stayed together and worked it out”, "Exercised more”,"Managed my finances better”.
These were the comments several people shared when I posed this question at a recent conference. “If you could go back and change one aspect of your life that would've brought you more joy what would it be?”
Most of those in attendance had been through 4 or more decades of their lives and had some definite ideas about what they would change. Many also realized it is never too late to seek something you hold dear.
While we can't always redeem a broken relationship or start activities we may not have the physical capacity to do, there is really little we cannot accomplish if we seek our joy.
In life, joy is critical and the need to experience what makes you smile and feel fulfilled can be the anchor of your day. Once you realize your joy can have a domino effect on other things and people the better EVERYTHING in your life will be. Regardless of your current situation, making some attempt daily to participate in what brings you joy is the secret of life. You may make excuses why you are not able, but everyone who wants to achieve something which brings them joy is able to start down that path if they really want to. Sometimes it takes making a hard but necessary decision to stop and change directions. Sometimes it means putting yourself first without guilt. Sometimes it means to make a commitment and stick to it and sometimes it means to do it because you can regardless of what others say or think.
Your joy is your joy and to really live life you must seek it and share it.
So, what do I wish I would've done?
1. Published more books and earlier in my career.
2. Stopped obsessing about whether my house, kids, relationships, etc. looked like others thought they should.
3.Continued singing in a band!
4.Taken a mission trip
And yes, I am working to achieve those things. Kay Warren, wife of renown pastor, Rick Warren of Saddleback Church says that we must "Choose joy" and certainly it is a choice. Often we let the trivia of everyday life block our joy. We become frustrated and disappointed that we have spent yet another day just going through the motions. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to say, "Nothing, I would not have changed a thing!" when we come to the end of our lives. We can. We have a chance to start today.
Discovering your joy, what makes you smile, what you enjoy doing regardless of the effort or cost helps define the place you are destined to be." So many people wonder what their purpose is, when their joy might easily demonstrate that. Joy might be the biggest fuel for your fire.
If you could change one aspect in your life what would it be?
What brings you joy?
Want to join a tribe of trailblazers who found their fire? Come visit me at KathyBrunner and sign up for the newsletter and to be part of the team.