Caring for yourself when you’re a carer #MoreJoy
Last year Alyson asked me to write about finding joy in the meantime while caring for my mother through cancer. It’s been a while since my last update because I’ve been struggling to sound like I’m ‘joyously’ seeking joy, when the whole pursuit of joy-in-the-meantime is a desperate attempt to survive my personal shit.
I am not alone in this pursuit. There has been a lot of interest recently in ‘sparking joy’, be it from your clutter, or in all areas of your life as seen in The Kit’s ‘More Joy Please’ series. Personally, I find morsels of joy in the tiniest things, which are unremarkable to others but a lifeline for me. For example, losing myself in stationery browsing. I get that going-back-to-school-new-stationery thrill every time I find a beautiful brass Midori ruler, or a cleverly re-designed notebook by Montreal brand Couple d’Idées… and don’t get me started on my love for a fresh Moleskine diary…
To help improve joy-in-the-meantime matters, I’ve set up a monthly #JoyGoal for myself all throughout 2019. If couples can schedule sex, I can schedule joy!
To ring in the new year, I took my mother to see Mary Poppins Returns. While the excursion was a tad exhausting for her (she fell asleep midway through), I re-connected with my inner child and the younger Banks family. Inevitably, I shed a tear when Mary Poppins sang about loss in ‘The Place Where Lost Things Go’, but joyfulness quickly returned watching Disney’s animated bits and the amazing costumes.
In February, I indulged in some self-care by watching more than my usual share of Oprah Winfrey Network shows. Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore Oprah. Her roster of SuperSoulSundays and inspirational guests keeps helping me get through some doom-y moments – like when Bradley Cooper talks about finding joy in everything. I live in hope of future sun-filled vacations but, in the meantime, I’m learning to enjoy the ‘now.’
My March joy goal was to see Ellen Degeneres live in Toronto. I know this makes my make my life sound like I fell down a chat-show hole, but full-time carers and their less-able charges will tell you how joyful an hour of Ellen’s feel-good humour can be. In the concert-style Q&A she talked about her recent return to stand-up on the Netflix special ‘Relatable’ and how following your joy can make the impossible possible. Ellen’s overall message was that it is never too late to live in a way that makes you happy – be it at ages 45, or 60, or older. She argues pursuing your dream life and enjoying your work will help you live longer, enabling even more joyful opportunities.
My life is still unpredictable and largely at the whim of my mother’s health, but I am looking forward to my future monthly joys and the boost they are providing. I urge you to plan your own using some newly purchased stationery, then share them with us at #TNMAmorejoy
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