“I don’t have time for Joy”
Who would make such a statement? Yet we all at times behave that way.
We all have obligations, things that “must” be done and it all can seem overwhelming. And so the things that we really enjoy and that lift us up get pushed back. We tell ourselves that we will get to them when we have time, when the necessary stuff is done.
Why are the things we enjoy the most like painting, reading, going for a bike ride, spending time with friends, dancing not given priority? Well for the most part because they don’t make money or help someone else and are therefore classified non-essential. The obligatory demands of life, of a job, of family, of making money seem to be activities that we can’t avoid.
Should the thing that makes us feel most alive take last place?
For me, there was a large period starting in my twenties when I stopped making art. Life got In the way. It wasn’t until I was in my fifties that I started painting again.
Right now, I am undergoing some big changes. I am selling and buying a house and obviously moving. I have had to pick up extra work to create a financial bridge. I am trying to maintain some social life. And I Just want to stop and do nothing. I need some space in my life. And painting seems to be the thing that got scarified first.
Artwork does not bring in a consistent money stream and I find myself battling against thinking of it as a luxury that I can’t afford right now. Not to mention the time required for auxiliary activities that go into keeping my art in people’s minds such as writing this essay and applying to art shows.
But I and you are wrong when we do this, when we tell ourselves that we do not have time for joy.
Making art energizes me and calms me. It makes me happy to create it and being able to share it with others.
Participating in a passion puts us in a state of flow where time and effort disappear. We feel more powerful and like ourselves.
It is unlikely that you can reach this state when you do the dishes, buy groceries or commute to work. (Some of these chores you personally may well enjoy but I am sure that you can come up with a list of things you must do that are draining.)
When you do the things that you love and get energized, everything else will be better too. To be your best for others and at your job and obligations, you must take care of yourself. You need a charging activity to counter the draining obligations and chores. A life which consists of only requirements is not the life you want although it may be the life you have.
What a shame that for almost 30 years of my life I did not create art.
So even if we resolve to spend more time on our passion, how do we make this happen?
If you think about it, you probably do have time that is available. Although down time can seem pleasant, when it is done because we are exhausted and we end up watching TV or drinking, we are participating in a neutral activity. (Time wasters can seem to be positive since they are at least not energy sinks.)
What if we instead took that time and did something that re-energized us?
The time wasters often occur when we suddenly have some “extra” time when nothing needs to be done right now. So we reach for something easy to do.
To really make time for passion-full activities, we need to schedule it. It becomes one of our non-negotiable block of time like going to work or taking the kids to school.
Make it important enough to put on your calendar. Especially if you can make it a regular day of the week or time of the day. And yes, some other things may need to be reduced like TV time, or sleeping in.
Then when you are engaged with your joyful activity, do not allow interruptions. Turn off your cell phone and its notifications. Make it known to your family or friends that you are not to be disturbed. (Your activity may of course include other people. If it does, do not let them sabotage your time if they can’t make it – you need to proceed without them.)
Then commit to doing it as scheduled. No excuses.
You do need time for joy.
kid from http://fscaston.org/
chore arms from www.choice.com.au
Singer is member of Pimps of Joytime. http://pimpsofjoytime.com