Did you grow up hearing dutiful refrains running through your ears, such as:
“First eat your vegetables. Then, after, have your dessert. Not before.”
“Get your work done first. Then you can go out and play.”
“Frivolity is frivolous. Idle hands get you into trouble.”
“Hold on to your money. Don’t waste your time nor money on foolishness.”
Did you grow up with the idea that joy best comes later? Did you grow up with the idea that joy of all kinds is to be denied you until a vague later time yet to be announced? When exactly you don’t know. Just later some time. And so your joy has been pinched, and you may still restrict joy until some day, and some day may never come.
My children are not meant to be in harness and trudge along heavy-footed. Be light of heart and light of foot. May joy be your password into work or play. Why not?
It’s possible that children have the right idea. Joy first. Joy is a forerunner to everything. Restricting yourself may take away joy and sadden your dreams.
Instruct yourself in the idea that joy is your winning number. Deferring joy is not a virtue.
The difficulty with being heavy-handed about life is that you get stuck in seriousness. Sometimes it seems that you believe too much in the concept that, before you can have joy, you have to suffer. The idea has been expressed that you must suffer before you can be beautiful.
There is a difference between working and long-suffering indenture to work as you await to somehow get out from under. Some day. You may even have the impression that restricting yourself is meant to be your main purpose in life. This does not bode well for joy.
Have a work ethic, that’s fine. Yet remind yourself that a work ethic is not the same as love. Give yourself permission to enjoy now. I created you for joy, for your joy and Mine.
Know you deserve joy, and take it. Truthfully, all of life is meant to be joy. Let joy and responsibility coincide. Why not? Both can be beautiful.
All right, I don’t tell you to play hooky from school. I don’t tell you to be irresponsible. Joy and responsibility are not mutually exclusive. You are not to trade responsibility for joy, nor do you trade joy for responsibility. Yet you are entitled to joy. You never want to forget how to have joy. You may have forgotten about the idea of joy, so fraught are you with a heavy load on your back that pulls you down to labor and an absence of joy.
You have a responsibility to enjoy. Unless you are joyful, how are you going to share joy?
You can be an upstanding citizen of the world and be joyful and be — yes, be Joy to the World.
Joy is not to be pushed aside. You do not have to be idle or on vacation in order to have joy and brighten your life and the world.
You are meant to release yourself from restriction, not hold restriction to you for the sake of an idea held somewhere in the recesses of your mind. I never said that sacrifice is a good idea, or that you are to sacrifice. No, where does it say that I suggested you are to sacrifice your joy for a noble life? I do not see virtue in sacrifice.
Consider joy virtuous. Lighten your work with joy. Hold your shoulders up straight. Love the world without carrying the world as a heavy load that dampens your very life.
I know you care about the world. I know you do. Then be Joy to the World.