OT Life Pseudo-Hack: Do what brings you joy. Care more about you.

This is kind of a random post, but it has a reason, thanks to a conversation I had today. I took this picture for you all because of the super gaudy gold necklace that I was wearing during my errands. While people who know me would say I was never that great about fitting in in any sense, including clothes wise, I did used to be more cautious about what others would think. A super crazy gaudy necklace in daytime? That’s not normal. But now I do it, because it makes me happy. 
I wear roughly 30 “hair tinsels” in my hair year round so that my hair sparkles, because it makes me happy. I wear sparkle glitter eyeliner almost every day. Because it makes me happy. If I have manicures/pedicures (rare because of expense/time), they are probably glittery. My iphone has a mod-podged Otterbox glitter case that I modified. Because it makes me happy. Some of my shoes and most of my necklaces and most of my earrings have glitter and/or sparkles on them and/or are gaudy. Because it makes me happy. Are you noticing a trend here? 
Today I commented to a wise friend that “The older I get, the less I care about what people think. If I want to wear this super gaudy necklace during the day, I’m going to do it.” And she sagely responded, “It’s maybe not that you care less, but that you care more, about doing what resonates with you.”  I was struck by this response. I felt like it was a great re-framing, showing the positive, that I do what makes me happy, rather than the negative, of ignoring what others think.
Of course this is not and should not be the case in all areas of life, that we ignore what others think. But in relatively harmless situations, why not? So many of us forget how to play, be creative, and/or make ourselves happy, as we get older. I know for some people it’s a matter of dress code or other good reasons. But my elementary schools don’t mind if my hair and nails sparkle, and my OT kids are drawn to them.  
And most importantly of all, when I look in the mirror and see my sparkles, I smile. It’s the cheapest therapy I have. I’m officially, as a super profound 30 year old (haha), ready to feel good about doing small and harmless things that bring joy. 
For me, joy is in sparkles/glitter, crazy gaudy necklaces, lots of deep beautiful peacock colors, hula hooping (hoop dance), looking for rocks on the beach and searching tidepools, visiting with friends, holding babies as a hospital cuddler, slacklining, reading, laughing, spinning around with bubbles, etc. Like when I feed Stray Cat and have to watch him so the real stray cat doesn’t take away his food (don’t worry, he gets food too), I will spin around in circles with bubble wands, or read something fun, or practice twirling a baton through my fingers, or a new off-body hoop trick, or even do yoga poses that will make me a better hoop dancer. I’m doing a functional and necessary activity but bringing the joy in. 
Maybe I’m dancing while I spend the two horrid minutes brushing my teeth. Maybe I’m reading a report for work while lying on my back practicing twirling the hula hoop on my foot (I do occasionally smack myself in the face but it’s worth it). Maybe I’m working with a kid but we are exchanging silly jokes to help us both laugh while working on something frustrating. Maybe you are feeding your kids eggs with ketchup and you use the ketchup container to make a smiley face on the eggs. Whatever you are doing as a functional and necessary task, how can you make it more fun while not adding time or effort to the task? 
Eventually it becomes part of you. I no longer have to think about adding joy during those tasks, I just do it. It’s part of my routine/patterns, to vaguely bring in some OTPF terms… 😉 Or I take 10 minutes a month getting my sparkles put in to be enjoyed daily all month. Maybe I’m organizing my bajillion OT toys but while doing so, happily thinking about creative ways to use them. Whatever works. These are all things that work for me. (Most of the time. We all go through rough moments/spells!!!)
I hope you think about this for yourself – what can you do in your daily life that brings you joy in a playful, creative, fun, harmless way? Blow bubbles? Spin in circles? Watch clouds? Play a game, or draw in a coloring book? (There are some great adult ones out there). Can you call someone, write something, make something? Can you wear something? 
Think about what resonates for you. What have you abandoned that used to bring you joy? It can be so simple. It doesn’t have to be a new car. It can be silly putty. We all deserve joy on a daily basis, no matter who we are, no matter how busy we are, no matter how OLD we are.We all deserve to laugh, smile, and see beauty in the smallest details of life. Don’t forget your childlike curiosity, wonder, and joy with the world around you. Embrace this and I promise your life will improve. 🙂 And so will the life of those around you! 
*A post is coming soon about “Joy Lists” with specific instructions on how it works…
*School starts back soon so things are going to get busy! :O Catching up on e-mails, comments, etc…and having trouble reading other OT blogs because of Google Reader being gone. I got Feedly but I’m so perplexed with the layout. Anything out there just like Google Reader? 
Aug 15, 2013 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

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