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Why “adapting” is crucial for joy

Episode 423
Wildly Successful Lifestyle

LISTEN TO: Why “adapting” is crucial for joy

Hi guys! Welcome to Episode 423 of The wildly successful lifestyle podcast! You’re awesome for being here, I’m happy about it and I hope you know there are two new episodes every week that are under 15 minutes and help us each find a way to live our own version of a wildly successful life, so be sure to follow and subscribe and share you can do that from the three little dots at the top right of whatever podcast app you’re using.

Have you ever heard someone say my best years are behind me? Or maybe you have had to sit through a conversation about how life used to be so much better when it was the good ole days?

It’s easy to long for days gone by. I hear people say a lot in fact I say it too…that I wish things would go back to how they used to be.

So often we want to hang on to the past because we remember those times as so blissful but that’s a moment in time. There will always be blissful moments as long as you continue living and doing the things that creates the blissful moments in the first place. We have friends that have retired and are kind of sad about it, but we also have friends who retired and who are so excited about it. We have friends that have moved to new states for jobs or for retirement and they were a little apprehensive, hoping they make new friends or hoping they will be as happy there as they were here.
But, As long as they keep living and being active and making new friends and finding new adventures they are going to continue having blissful moments. And as long as we keep living and doing the things that bring us joy we will continue creating blissful lives too. How many people do you know that are joyful into their 90’s even? My grandma was that way. She never stopped loving life. She surrounded herself with beauty and love until she died at 93. She lived staying curious and being social and finding delight in little things and making herself feel beautiful up until she passed away. She kept redecorating her room, she kept reading and doing the things she loved. She never gave up the things that made her grow and feel beautiful. And I believe that’s why she seemed happy up until the day she died.

On the other hand, I had a friend, who passed a year or so ago. She was also in her 90’s. She was increasingly less happy as she got older. When I talked to her she always takes about the past and how life was so good but not anymore. She isolated herself and stopped doing most of the things that brought her joy. She clung to the past thinking that was all she had. She used to tell me stories of how she would get together with friends and it was so fun. But for the last 20 years she stopped all of that. She stopped doing the things that brought her joy and then wondered why she was unhappy.

Life changes. It evolves. People come and go. Friends move away. Family members pass. These are all a part of everyone’s reality. Change is consistent for each one of us. The thing that’s not consistent is what we do with the changes that come.

My sister lost her husband over a year ago. Since he died she knew she needed something to do with her time, she is disabled due to a stroke when she was 35. Steve her husband was her caretaker and was home with her almost all the time. We were really worried about how she was going to adapt. To her credit though, she also knew she had to
Reinvent herself in a way or she could easily fall into loneliness and depression. So she cultivated and developed a love of making pottery. I’ve watched her study for hours upon hours for almost a year now to learn and hone her craft. It’s so fun to see because she just finished her first full firing of pottery and the result was impressive and successful. Not in a way that every piece was perfect, far from it but in a way that she documented every single piece and the method she used with it and exactly how they each turned out so she can duplicate it exactly if she loved it. She is growing and learning something new literally every day now. She is creating her own joy. She really is. I watch her and she can spend hours just happily molding clay. It is truly inspiring. Of course she misses her husband. But she also knows life has to move on and she is the only one responsible for her own joy. I can support her, the rest of the family can support her but she has to put the work in to continue to live and to live a life that brings joy and she is.

As we go through life, we have to adjust and adapt to changes. Yeah, maybe we aren’t always going to be able to ski a black diamond mountain, but there are still endless things we can do, the question is what are they and will we do them?

The happiest people I know don’t cling and mourn for the past. They don’t dwell on what they don’t have or can’t do anymore. They figure out what they do have and what they CAN do now.

They keep doing things that bring them joy. Those things may not and probably will not look the same as the things we did when we were younger, But there are always things we can do that bring us joy. My grandmother when she was younger would grow flowers and pick them so she had fresh flowers all around the house, as she lost her mobility she would simply cut flower pictures out of magazines and paste them onto everything she owned because it brought her joy to still be able to see that beauty.

Whether we have joy or not in our life at any stage, depends on how well we adapt to change and whether or not we keep doing the things that bring us joy.

Adapting to the changes we encounter with grace and agility is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Fighting change or never ending grieving for the past may feel justified but it makes life unnecessarily hard. Adapting doesn’t mean you don’t grieve it just means you grieve AND you’re giving yourself a new chance for happiness and joy.

I read a quote on lifehack.org it said:

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” —Henri Bergson said that.

I want to create myself endlessly and I want to be around people who do the same. Joy is contagious.

My challenge to you this week is to write down 5 things that bring you joy. Are you doing at least one of them every day? If there’s something on that list that is no longer possible for you because of change, how do you create that joy in a way that’s possible now? It may look a little different but you may find the joy you feel is the same. Share this with 3 people who bring you joy. I love you guys, I’ll talk to you in a few days!

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