How Much Joy Does It Spark For You? And Does It Matter?

dress"None of the dresses in my closet spark joy." That was the posting on a friend's Facebook feed.

Does it spark joy?  Sooner or later that question will find you, either online, or on TV, or from a friend who is taken by the bug. It's based on the techniques of Marie Kondo for reducing clutter and presumably making life better, happier, and more fulfilling. The Kondo Joy craze began in 2015, but a search of Google search terms for "Kondo" shows the real uptick began early this year. For the uninitiated, the method is simple. Look at each object in your life, (clothes being the main focus) and if it doesn't bring you joy, use any method you can think of to get rid of it.

The whole philosophy doesn't work for me. My relationship with my clothes is too utilitarian, too soulless to bring me any joy. As Barb will undeniably attest to, I hate shopping for my wardrobe more than I dislike going to the dentist. Yes, I get frustrated when I look for something to wear to work or on a Saturday night, but not nearly as frustrated as when I try on seven pair of black slacks at Nordstrom and none of them fit my no longer 35-year-old body with the no longer 35-inch-waist. (Note to self: I do better at Kohls. The stretchy waistband helps.)  The only shopping excursion I can remember enjoying was the mission to find a sport coat to wear to Laury and Alex's wedding rehearsal dinner. Coming the day before a necessary surgery it helped take my mind off the coming procedure.

Do I have a special affection for any of my clothes? A navy blue blazer and gray slacks that were made to measure at a tailor shop in Thailand please me. Although the style is bland, the fit is so good that I do have a feeling -- I guess we can call it joy -- when I put them on with a crisp dress shirt and smart tie. But beyond those few things...

Do any of the objects in my life spark joy for me? My last few cars have thrilled me. Though none of them have been perfect (low gas mileage, clunky electronics) they have transformed my commute into a smooth, relaxing, cruise controlled, power surge. Driving a loaner from the dealer this week has just reinforced how much I like my own car, even as it undergoes a mandated recall.

And then there are a few things that just fit my hand so well they must be joyful; the massive mug I have at home for my English Breakfast tea pick-me-up, and the razor with the vibrating handle I had to search everywhere for.

But for the most part, my joy comes from my people and pets, from making a tough diagnosis that may save a life, from supporting a good cause that may save more lives, from writing a good blog that can influence people to do the right thing, or just from hitting a winner down the line. And being thankful that life is good.

I hope she found a dress she liked--and I am sure there is a whole lot more that brings her joy!

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