We just wrapped up watching The Office all the way through for about the 154th time. (The only other show we’ve watched more is FRIENDS and that tally is at least 216 times.) During the last few episodes of The Office, I’m always a sobbing mess. I can’t even tell you how many times Brett looks over at me just to see if happy-sad tears are rolling down my cheeks (the discussion about why he feels the need to look at me every time I’m crying also happens each time…”just leave me alone while I’m crying, dangit!” But I digress).
I’m consistently intrigued by great writing. I would prefer a writer who is daring and controversial over a totally predictable ending. For example, I loved the endings of How I Met Your Mother and Inception. So watching the ending of The Office is always a joy…those writers took a 9 year show centered around a comedic tone and made it even more worth the many hours we have spent watching it.
The last episode includes the cast making statements about why the nine years mattered. Andy Bernard says, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ole days before you’ve left them.”
And that pulls me right in every time.
In fact, it’s part of what I feel called to. What I believe each of us are called to but often miss.
Though I fail often, I feel that I’m meant to live every day finding the good in ordinary things. Working to be MORE? Yes. But also working to be happy with wherever I am? VERY YES.
So often we, in our flesh, are looking to the next big thing. When we get there, we realize how great the previous season was….while still looking to the next big thing.
How do we know we’re in the good ole days while we’re in them then? How do we know that we’re in a great season before it passes? Below are a few ways that finding joy daily has become easier and easier.
1) Read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. She writes in metaphors…lots of them. Don’t expect it to be an easy read, but expect it to be a good one. A heart-filling one. And then start your own list of One Thousand Gifts. My list currently includes “unexpected cool air in the middle of summer,” “a marked-up Bible,” “freckles on a husband’s shoulders,” and “unmade beds.” (Purchase here!)
2) Put down your phone for a given period of time, and do it frequently. The first few times I did this, I may or may not have been twitching the entire time. However, when I finally picked it up after the given period of time and saw that I missed NOTHING that couldn’t wait, it made me feel a little more free. It’s not so much about a “get the phone out of your face” idea but more about the “spend some time alone and just breathe because you can” idea. It makes you notice small things that you wouldn’t otherwise.
3) Often ask yourself “What is happening in my life right now?” This one takes lots of practice and lots of intentionality. For me it works best when I’m overwhelmed, thinking about future things or worrying. When I ask myself this question, it makes me stop and just BE. To notice every little thing around me. And then I scribble it all down on my list of One Thousand Gifts.
It’s so easy to look at others’ lives and wondering how they find joy…instead take time just to be alone for a few minutes today. Just a few. You can work that into your schedule, right?