On Joy

At the end of last year, I had picked 3 words for 2017. They are Faith, Create and Connect.

Now I’ve decided to change the last one to JOY.

I have been doing this “3 Words” thing for few years, (like my friend Chris), but this is the first time I’ve decided to change one of the words after I’ve picked them.

I’ve written about the Tea Leaf Reading I went last week.

It was a lighthearted, fun experience-nothing serious or life-altering, but I keep thinking about what the Tea Leaf Reader -Rachel- had said to me.

She told me to embrace JOY. She also told me that word she kept seeing was “Simple”.

Keep it simple, embrace joy” might sound too generic to some of you. I don’t think this is the first time I heard an advice like that, but for some reason, it resonated with me so much perhaps for the first time. Like I was finally ready to take the message seriously.

As an entrepreneur and also a freelancer, my life is always in chaos. I have about 3-5 different type of work I do at all times. ESL agent (helping Japanese international students), Writing, Translation, Consulting, Freelancing, etc etc.

I’ve been pretty good at saying no to clients who doesn’t pay well, or to people who’d steal my time. I got that one covered.

But, for example, I have this one client I do translation for, and they’d email me and ask “Hi Yukari, I have a one-page translation for you. There are only 3 lines. Can you quickly do it for $10?”

Of course, if I don’t have time, or if the project is too big for the pay they offer, I’ll always say no. But my problem was when I happen to have an hour, and if it’s only 3 lines, I used to say yes, because why not make some extra money, even though it’s only $10?

Now I know that’s wrong for me.

I could have used the hour writing. Or reading. Or painting. I might not make extra $10 for writing or reading, but that is much better for me because it will bring me joy. I used to be so practical and pragmatic, and I always thought I might as well work if I have some extra time. I was wrong.

Rachel told me I should always do projects/events/hang out with people only when it makes me real. And then the energy would flow. I should only be doing the things that would ultimately serve me. I shouldn’t waste my time, I should go straight to what I want to do and what I want to accomplish. Life is too short anyway.

So I have started to only do things that will bring me joy. I don’t take on projects I’m not keen on just because I have the time. If I have spare time, I would use it to do something that will bring me joy.

If you read Brené Brown’s books (if you know me, you know I am a HUGE fan), you know joy is so important. People feel vulnerable when they feel joy. Maybe it’s why joy is so undervalued. You know, we treat it like it’s a “fluff”. Joy is important. Just as being brave and vulnerable makes you feel alive, joy also makes you feel alive. Just like Faith, which I’ve written about the other day, leaning towards joy is also an act of courage. Because it is terrifying to actually feel the joy. When you lean into joy… and what if it’s taken away? If you’ve ever loved someone you know the feeling. (More about that on this video)

(Side note: I LOVE the movie “Joy” with Jennifer Lawrence. I saw myself in Joy and resonated with that movie SO much. I know, I know, call it confirmation bias if you want.)

But I’m serious when I say joy is important. Do you feel joy in your life?

With everything that’s happening in the world, we need joy more than ever, don’t you agree?