Resolving to find joy

My new year’s resolution was simple this year, or so I thought. I resolved to find a bit of joy in each day. The idea is that each day I will reflect on what’s happening in my life and the world around me and pick out the things that bring me joy – no matter how trivial. After a month, I’m finding it to be extremely difficult!

Note: This post was originally shared on my “widowhood” blog, “Frances 3.0: Still in Beta”.

I loved operating Frances 2.0. I was always so happy back then. I was that person who people hated because I was always happy. I was perky and cheery in the mornings; I saw the good in every person and situation; I was the ultimate modern-day Pollyanna! Back then, being sad was a rare occurrence and seldom would that state last for more than an hour or two. Frustration wasn’t an issue; I took everything in stride and just knew that any obstacle I faced today would prove great benefit tomorrow. My entire world was one big joy fest.

Frances 3.0 can’t quite run the joy software though. It’s just not compatible with the gloom and doom programs that came standard with the upgrade and, try as I may, I can’t seem to uninstall all elements from the software.

Since Paul died, I struggle with trying to be happy. I don’t jump out of bed in the mornings full of energy and excitement, but rather crawl out when I realise that I’m going to be late to the office – again – because I just don’t care. I’m apathetic at best about things that used to bring me such joy. I’m not depressed. I’m not crying all the time. I’m not thinking sad thoughts. I’m just not “happy happy, joy joy” at every corner anymore. It seems that when there isn’t anyone around to share your joy with, it fades into the background.

When running Frances 2.0 I was often told by others how happy I seemed. People would tell me that they loved being around me because I just radiated joy. Now, I can feel myself giving off grumpy and sad vibes most days. With 2.0, I couldn’t call out specific days and times that made me happy – life itself made me happy. With 3.0, I can recall with great detail the moments or days when I just felt joy. I can recall a few weeks ago visiting my uncle and learning a new card game with his friends. The game involved a lot more maths than I generally like and I was very confused over the rules but was enjoying learning the new game. When I won, I was so happy that I was literally jumping for joy. It felt so good to feel that way again. I used to feel that way every day.

It seems that there are many days when I have trouble identifying the joy. There is a firewall that won’t let me see past the frustration, sadness, and loneliness. It’s such a reversal because it used to be that the joy wouldn’t let the misery through – it was continually being stopped before it corrupted the whole system.

I am convinced that there is a bit of AI thrown into the mix and eventually the system will learn that joy is good and sorrow is bad. And so, I continue to seek out the joy and I continue to force myself to find joy in things when I really want to be snippy and negative. I’m certain that over time I can make the joy program run from the start menu and will once again be that sickeningly happy joyful person who everyone thinks is high on something.

I miss laughing so hard that it hurts. I miss skipping with joy. I miss singing in the shower. I miss telling silly jokes and just being silly. I miss always being upbeat and positive. I miss being carefree and blissfully happy. I just miss Frances 2.0.

I hope and I pray that the more I look for it, the easier joy will be to find. And I hope and I pray that I can one day find joy without looking because it surrounds my every thought and every action. Until that time comes, I may struggle to see it, even when it’s standing in front of me, but I will keep searching for those small pleasures every day.

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