Monday, July 11, 2011

Ode to Joy...

Yesterday I took a walk through "Paris."

The Essex Street Pedestrian Mall is an outdoor area of shops and businesses in Salem, well manicured and heavily traveled by tourists. One dance studio in the area will occasionally run its afternoon lessons with the second floor windows flung open to the street below. Beautiful music floods the street and the ears of passers by. One day might find you listening to a beautiful fluid Satie or Chopin composition, the next, an upbeat Django Reinhardt or Gershwin adds an extra spring to your step. I've never been to Paris, but every time that I get this rare chance to pass under the windows of the ballet studio, I am literally frozen in time for just a brief moment. I breathe in, make note of the color cast on the buildings by the afternoon sun, the softness of the air around me, and listen and look at the people, going about their day to day lives, sitting on benches,  walking their dogs, gazing into jewelry store windows nearby. Although, I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting, in that brief moment I imagine that this is how it must feel to be in Paris. And I am filled with joy.

It never ceases to amaze me, the people who pass by this moment, completely oblivious to its charms. Perhaps, the rush to complete their errands is what brings swiftness to their step. Maybe they just don't like French music. Either way, it is interesting to see what brings joy to one person, while another is completely unfazed. Also amazing to me is the knowledge that this ONE PARTICULAR circumstance stops me in my tracks every time and holds me there in rapt attention, yet I pass by a million moments like this every day and pay it no mind whatsoever, or worse, find myself bothered by it's intrusion. How many of us live each moment of our lives with that level of joy, with the full appreciation that it deserves? How many of us, in our rush to get from point A to point B, would rather bypass the scenic route in favor of the undefined highway?

What IS Joy?

According to Websters, The definition of Joy is as follows:
a: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires : delight
b : the expression or exhibition of such emotion : gaiety
c: a state of happiness or felicity : bliss
d: a source or cause of delight

What constitutes JOY? How do we achieve it for more than one occasional moment in time, and keep it in our hearts, learning to live within that joy continuously, so that these random "Paris moments" are not so few and far-between? Is joy learned? Are people just BORN with joy and appreciation, while others are born negative? It is certainly not a conscious effort on my part to miss these joyous moments, so why are there so many half-full moments left unexperienced? How do I get to a place of commonplace joy, without waiting for the other shoe to drop? That is my main goal in life - to get to a place in life that I can find joy without having to look for it,  eventually enjoy a life of gratitude and pureness of heart. I do not expect anyone else will get anything out of this, other than the entertainment of my periodic rants. However, if my words affect your life for the better, PLEASE let me know, and in return, know that you brought an extra moment of joy to mine.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Someday I am going to be "that" lady. The one that ages into her Septuagenarian status with grace and poise, wears loose fitting, lightweight clothing, perfectly coiffed hair and an over-sized sun hat and sunglasses. The one who sits in her bamboo chaise lounger sipping home brewed iced tea and reading “Olivia” to her granddaughter in her lap while the late day sun begins it’s descent back into the earth.

Someday I will have a green thumb. There will be an overflowing English garden in the back yard and fresh flowers in antique vases all over the house, just picked vegetables on the kitchen counter, washed and ready to be prepared for dinner, and gigantic planters filled with exotic greens in every corner, especially in the garden room, off the dining area, where I will retire every evening before bed.

Someday I will travel the globe, seeing Greece, Rome, London, Paris, Ireland again, and Disney. ;-) I will indulge my fun side, my sense of adventure and need to try new cultures and take pictures in my minds’ eye, so that I can show God what I got out of this world he has made for us. I will make friends all around the world, have pen-pals in Thailand, and a vacation villa in Fiji, where I visit twice a year because we loan it out to friends and family the rest of the time. My husband and I will fall in love again and again in every new town that we discover, learning something new about one another every day, even then. Our children will see our childlike zeal with adult eyes and new found respect, and realize that there exist, actual “individuals” that raised them.

Someday, I will knit afghans. I will sip Chardonnay and play cards on Thursday evenings with my girlfriends and  reminisce about our youth, back when I was a scatter brained, foul mouthed, occasional lush, with 3 small kids and a husband with a law practice in it’s fetal stages, living in a 900 square foot apartment and borrowing money from our parents every other week. I will don my rose-colored glasses and remember that it was an easier time, filled with laughter and growth, while conveniently forgetting the lesser moments, when self-doubt made me it’s constant companion and stress tied my stomach in knots. I will bask in the glow of a full life, living in the present, healthy and preparing for the many great moments ahead.

Someday, I will be "that" Lady. For now, I’m just "that" aspiring broad.