I was wrong. Well, sort of.
I am actually quite fun.
And, guess what? You are too.
I had this mini-breakdown on New Year's Eve looking back at 2015 and struggling to find the joy. I accomplished a lot and we did a whole bunch of things, including big fun things like seeing college friends for the first time in a decade or wading in a glacier lake or spending the Fourth of July with friends who feel like family. But, I lamented, I couldn't remember if I really, truly enjoyed any of it. (I did, for the record, but in haze of holiday blues, I just couldn't see that.)
After being more intentional about looking for the fun (and capturing it), and becoming more clear on what kind of fun I was actually looking for, I realized, by golly, it's here, all the time. In me! In my house! While washing dishes! While making supper! While putting my kids to bed! (OK, so that last one is a bit of a lie.)
It's easy to lose track of your own definition of joy by looking at your life through someone else's filter. Who's? Maybe someone water skiing behind a swimming unicorn. Or kayaking a river of chocolate and marshmallows. You know, someone doing something that looks a lot like the kind of fun you should be having.
FOMO, yo. It's a real thing. (FOMO is "fear of missing out.") We get it when we see something in someone else's life we don't have.
It's cliche, I know, but life isn't about finding joy, it's about finding your joy.
And, just like anything else good, that takes work, man. It takes intention and careful prioritizing of your own needs and wants. Like I said, work.
Because comparison isn't the only thief of joy. There's a whole gang of thieves and part of finding your joy is identifying the thieves that steal that joy for you -- like perfection or expectation or measuring up or self consciousness or distraction or the countless books and experts that tell you all that you're doing wrong, in my case.
It takes work, like kicking out the germophobe thief in your brain for a few minutes when your 5-year-old asks to crack the eggs.
Even if five seconds after taking this celebratory photo, she crushes the next egg in her hands, necessitating a wholesale cleaning and sanitizing of the counter, the chair, the floor, the girl and the princess dress.
(But, because I didn't lose my cool, a day later, while making scrambled eggs, she didn't remember the slip up, she remembered that, "Guess what? I can do that now!")
It takes work, like bundling everyone up to go sledding, even though it's windy and cold and you should be getting a head start on next week's workload.
And, it takes work to remind yourself that even though it feels more isolated and harsh and unfun than you'd like this time of year, this landscape you chose is beautiful in its own right.
It takes work, like allowing yourself to admit that even though hugs from your kids are awesome, they're not awesome all the time. Like when you're working on deadline. Or, when they're painful. Or when they cover you in slimy snot that makes you throw up a little in your mouth.
What are your biggest, cloaked thieves of joy?