My favorite word in the English language might be joy. (With iguana coming a close second because I pronounce it e-guana, as if it were some sort of internet guana, which sounds both awesome and non-existent.) A feeling of great pleasure and happiness. The feeling of the warmth of the sun after a string of frigid days. The feeling of meaningful accomplishment. The feeling of watching someone you love experience joy.
I think of joy often when I write. Is the process bringing me joy? More importantly, will the finished product bring joy to others? I think of how it relates to its close cousin, enjoyment. One word encapsulates the other, but they are very different words. I enjoy watching Let's Play videos on YouTube of others playing video games. I enjoy watching the NBA. I enjoy eating a big plate of pasta when I get home. But none of these things bring me what I consider pure joy.
Pure joy – for me – equates to peace, another one of my favorite words. When I experience pure joy, I am perfectly at peace. That warmth of the sun. That afterglow of true accomplishment. That radiation of joy from others. The one thing they all share is that they are perfectly peaceful moments for me.
Joy – I believe – is different for all us. For me, it is peace. For others, it might be exhilaration. For the literal-minded, it's the non-almond part of a certain candy bar. What matters is finding that joy in our life, recognizing it and – of course – enjoying it. I didn't bother making any New Year's resolutions this year. I've never been great at keeping them and when I do eventually break them, it just makes me depressed. Rather, this year, I'm simply going to try to recognize joy in my life when it bursts forth and bask in it as much as I can.
It's not writing a novel. It's not becoming a city-famous blogger. It's not even writing 100 words a day. It's simply joy. And that's enough.
• Joe Grace is the editor of Going for Gusto. Please support Going for Gusto by liking the Facebook page at Facebook.com/GoingForGusto.
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