Monday, May 23, 2011

Expressing Joy

I read something on another blog about how uncool it is to be excited. Unfortunately that is true for too many people. When you look at young children, you see joy in motion. They are not inhibited, and it is often so easy to see that they find many things immensely exciting - they shout and laugh and run and dance. But somewhere during childhood things change. Such display becomes very uncool, and what child wants to be seen as uncool? Look at teenagers - it often seems that being blasé and bored and unenthusiastic is what that age is all about. I know that that is mostly a front, put on to impress your peers with your sophistication (only speculation, but that is what it looks like). But it seems such a shame that the little fires of joy are being put out so often because it is simply not cool to show excitement and wonder.

And that carries over into the adult years. It is fine to calmly appreciate something, but shouting for joy will probably be frowned upon in most circumstances. I allowed myself to be inhibited in this way for too long. And I am very happy to say that with the help of my children I am letting go of this particular inhibition. I do have an enormous capacity for joy that seems almost childlike, and I am not going to hide it any more. For me joy is an intense physical feeling, and standing still while experiencing it is almost impossible. Of course it is easier at home where no-one is looking on. I have a little dance that I do when I really enjoy something - almost like running in one place. My kids love it, and I love it that they love it. It is also easier to show when I am out and about with the kids. They are still young enough to mostly not care what others might think - and we have lots of fun on outings. I am glad to say that I do not care what strangers think about a 42 year old woman who jumps up and down, hugging herself and laughing because she finds a fish or a bird or a cloud incredibly beautiful. That physical surge of joy I experience is a gift, and I plan to celebrate it fully. I will savour the times when I feel the joy start in my tummy and rush upwards to let me catch my breath and spread into my arms and legs to make me dance.

I do know that my kids will grow up and will want to look cool in front of their peers, and that they will probably find me very embarrassing, but I hope to instill in them the knowledge that life is full of beautiful and exciting things, and enjoying it to the fullest is not uncool or wrong. Life is also full of pain and struggles, we simply have to magnify and celebrate the joy we are so privileged to feel.


  1. I see my capacity for excitement as a childlike trait as well, and I mean that in the most positive way. I'm picturing your little dance in my head and it's making me smile :) And you're absolutely right: it *is* a gift.

  2. I so agree with this. I behave like a right idiot sometimes when I am enjoying myself and feel glee. But I don't care what I look like or what others think, because I have enough heart ache and angst and hardship in my life, so that when I do feel joy I embrace the moment and make the most of it. Relishing my feeling of happiness and bliss. To me life is about those moments, and they should be celebrated with abandon. This is why I climb trees and do handstands on the beach etc whenever I can. It makes me happy.

  3. Jane - you climb trees too! I love climbing trees, it is one of the most calming and at the same time exciting things to do! The best is being high up in a tree when the wind is blowing, and swaying with the tree.