Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today with thoughts of finding joy in life, in the little things.
The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, is in bookstores now.
In this fast-paced world it’s easy to lose touch with serious happiness. I think people believe they’re happy without examining their lives too closely. “Today I’m not miserable, so yes, I must be happy.” “Things could be worse.” “Everything’s fine.” That’s not exactly joy, that’s just getting by.
Do we even recognize a state of bliss? The adage “Stop and smell the roses,” is exactly what people need to do. Stop. Smell, taste, feel. Roses, ice cream, the sun on your face (don’t forget the sunscreen).
Maybe it’s an irrelevant subject when we are surrounded by race issues, terrorist threats, climate change, politics and governments being overthrown. The topic might be simplistic to some of you. On the other hand, maybe this is the perfect time to be reminded that there is also the potential for personal joy.
For me, my happy place is on my patio. I feel the breeze on my skin, so rare in this hot valley in July (it’s vital to savor them when they blow through). The palm tree in my neighbor’s yard fascinates as it sways. The rustle of fronds is soothing. There’s a rust-colored dragonfly that visits and a mocking bird entertains me from the telephone pole. Rocking on the swing with a good book and a cup of English Breakfast tea first thing in the morning. The refreshing dip in the pool every afternoon. 600 count Egyptian cotton sheets to crawl into at night.
Messages on my computer (when it behaves) from friends I may never meet. Writers in the trenches with me reminding me I’m not alone. Readers who share a love of books. Others who share a love of cats.
I remember feeling unbridled joy when I was very young. Too soon I became too busy to appreciate the nuances as life came at me like a tennis match. Adolescence brought feelings of insecurity. I enjoyed moments in my 20’s with my friends, usually fueled by alcohol. I enjoyed afternoons of sex. I loved travel but it was usually laced with stress. I remember spring, lying on the grass in front of a castle in Germany with a handsome Army soldier. I remember sitting on a bench in a Puerto Rican plaza watching pretty girls, arm-in-arm, sashaying for the boys. I experienced twilight in Port-au-Prince when young men came out to walk in the park, reading aloud by the last light of the sun (there was no electricity in homes). There was a humid evening sitting on a levee in New Orleans, watching the Mississippi make its lazy way to the Gulf. But to be honest, I enjoy the memories more now than I did when it was all happening.
I even find happiness in dialysis. My companions, looking sleepy in the waiting room, the tech greeting us when the door is opened at 5 a.m. Nurse Gino has upbeat music blaring, sometimes classical, sometimes rock. The routine of settling in, each of us with our blankets, headphones and snacks. Feeling safe, catered to, the needles hardly mattering anymore. We share something unique, strapped in our chairs like astronauts, bundled up like mummies. The soothing whir of the machines. Saying good-bye to friends at the end of treatment. Feeding the birds in the parking lot before going home to feed the cats.
Happiness only happens when it is recognized, nurtured and protected. Time slips away too quickly; don’t lose the joy of now.