Is there something that really makes you happy in life?
I say chase it. Make space for more of it.
It’s an especially dark and dreary December in Seattle. It’s the holiday season, which can easily be a grind of activity and obligations rather than an opportunity for true happiness. My professional world is full of challenges and stress. And I recently found some unadulterated joy.
Where? The US Swimming Winter Nationals recently hosted near Seattle at the King County Aquatics Center.
A calm pool awaits the start of evening finals.
I love swimming. It was my year-round sport in high school and part of college, until bum knees helped turn me into an assistant coach rather than an athlete. I’ve been to a World Championships with my lovely bride (Montreal in 2005) and other big meets with my kids at the King County Aquatics Center, including nationals and NCCA championships. When Olympic swimming is on TV at my house, it’s a big event.
This national meet was a 3-day affair, with my schedule allowing me to attend one night as a father-daughter date with my whip smart, sassy, beautiful daughter. That day, I found myself anticipating the experience with a passion that I realized is not present enough in my day-to-day life.
Sophia and I enjoying some good seats!
Why that anticipation?
Was it because some of the greats of the sport would be competing that night, such as Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, and Natalie Coughlin? Kind of. But, that cast was really just icing on an already sweet cake, because my passion for the sport runs that deep.
Michael Phelps behind the blocks before the 100 meter butterfly final. The greatest Olympic swimmer in history was rocking a sweet, neon suit!
Don’t we all have something that awakens our soul like that? But how often do we actually get to engage with the thing that stirs such passion?
Maybe it’s relationship. Maybe it’s a job. Maybe it’s family. Maybe’s it’s a hobby or personal pursuit. It’s different for everyone.
Are you really chasing your joy? Is there enough of it in your life?
There’s not in mine. I realized that starkly on the day I took my daughter to that swim meet.
No, that doesn’t mean I’ll chase my joy simply by traveling to swim meets. That’s totally unrealistic, though you can bet I’ll seize chances to attend them wherever I can!
What I can do is be more intentional about chasing joy in life? I’m teaching yoga once a week now. I really enjoy that. Maybe I should do it more.
Over the holiday season my lovely bride and I have decided to go on yoga field trips, having dates centered around traveling to studios we previously haven’t experienced. We both enjoy yoga and time together in those kind of environments, plus it informs our ultimate reality of owning our own yoga studio (and juice bar!).
There’s more for me to do as well, and I’ve had time to think about that with my wife and daughter on a girls trip to New Orleans this week, but you get the idea.
So where do you need to chase your joy? Is your work life too draining? Is your family life more chore than love? Do you have enough of your personal interests and passions in your regular routine?
That’s a tough question to answer when our default is to put on a good front that everything is ok. Our life is good.
We do that because we’re afraid to let everyone know it’s not ok.
What if it’s not? Or what if it’s kind of ok, but your passion is slowly dying.
I’m guilty of all that, even as I’ve awoken inside to who I want and am meant to be. That’s what daily living can do to you if you’re not intentional.
So, I say chase your joy.
Fearlessly. Even if that means not just little changes in your life, but changes that could inspire more fear.
To hell with life influenced by fear.
I’m committed to chasing my joy. I hope you are too.