Lately, I’ve found that my writing has fallen under the influence of the heaviness of the world. Even though I’ve chosen not to follow the 24-hour news cycle for the most part, I cannot avoid feeling as though the world is messy and a bit heartbreaking right now. Instead of dwelling on the harsh realities of our current collective lives today though, I’m going to share a scene of pure joy I witnessed recently.
I was at the pool with my youngest son Alex. He’d been jumping off the diving board, so that’s where my attention was focused when I saw a little boy about three-years-old ready to take his turn jumping into the water where his father waited in the deep end. As expected, he was dressed in the uniform of young children: long sleeve swim shirt, swim trunks, and a floatie contraption that covered the top part of his chest in addition to both arms. But completely unexpected was his approach to the jump. He strutted out to the end of the board pumping his arms and keeping time to the music blaring overhead.
I was completely caught off guard and totally mesmerized at the same time. Would he do it again when he had another turn? Yes, in fact, he did it every time. I started laughing and the woman in the row of lounge chairs behind me laughed too. I finally pulled out my phone to video this kid, knowing I couldn’t share it because I didn’t know this boy or his family, but just to have it because he was a perfect example of happiness. In that particular take, he danced out to “This is How We Do It,” which fit perfectly with his exuberance.
Now, I know this little guy didn’t have any worries in the world. He’s living his best life. His main concerns probably revolve around snacks, playtime, and naps. But even still, I couldn’t help but admire the way he lived in the moment and enjoyed himself in the process. He didn’t care that we were watching him. In fact, he was so into the experience he had no idea he was garnering the crowd’s attention.
I’m self-aware enough to understand that I’m not going to start suddenly living with the happy abandon of that little boy. I’m serious by nature, and it’s hard for me to throw off my inhibitions. You’re never going to catch me dancing down the diving board (literally or metaphorically) – and I doubt I would’ve as a child either. But here was my take-away that day: I need to look for the joy around me. No matter how that joy manifests itself.
It’s easy to get stuck in the mire of life, so we actively need to watch for any small moments of joy. We can celebrate those people and occurrences that make us smile. Instead of quickly dismissing the small joys so we can get back to the business of life, let’s relish them in order to buoy us as we journey through the weighty world. At the end of the video of the little boy, I can hear myself laughing. I need to do more of that. We all do.