I’ve listened to the Hamilton soundtrack almost non-stop for the last month and a half.
As each workday has neared its end, I’ve noticed the time and found myself excited about my long commute. Instead of thinking a string of expletives about my drive, I’ve thought, “It’s almost Hamilton time!”
The recording translated a cost to a benefit.
It invigorated me.
I met my new doctor early last month.
A couple of weeks after we met, he provided patient instructions incuding the following: “make sure you take time for yourself every day – personal time – to relax/do your favorite activity – even if only for a short period.”
I rejoiced his compassionate instruction, but I was also perplexed: What do I even enjoy anymore?
It had been so long since the question even seemed relevant.
It took me a couple of weeks to realize my heart already recognized the answer my head did not: I enjoy the hell out of Hamilton.
I didn’t bother long with wondering why. In light of my doctor’s prescription, the joy was far more important than its rationale.
For months, I’ve wanted to host another guest post series, but I couldn’t find a topic. That, I found on the freeway about a week ago.
A cherry red offspring of a racecar and convertible whizzed past me on the 405.
I caught the briefest glimpse of a grin on its passenger’s face before she was gone.
I beamed, invigorated by her enjoyment.
I wanted to witness even more.
As I wondered how to introduce all of this, I contemplated joy.
I felt unspeakably grateful to have had it prescribed to me.
I wanted to throw the term “guilty pleasure” out the window and start prescribing joy for others myself.
As the perpetually overwhelmed mother of two young boys, I’ve heard one single piece of advice more than any other:
Just hang on.
This advice is well meant. Its supportive speakers almost certainly mean, “This won’t last forever!”
Unfortunately, when you’ve been dangling from a ledge for what feels like forever, it becomes hard to imagine ever actually climbing up. Letting go feels a little easier by the day, especially when the only apparent alternative is to just keep hanging on. Just in case.
I used to advise others to hang on. Now I’d say this only in the most immediate term: Hang on. I’ll be there in five minutes.
Beyond that, please don’t just hang on.
Reach toward joyful things.
Seek out and savor that which brings you closer to joy.
Prescribe yourself joy, and enjoy its sweet taste on your tongue at least daily.
I didn’t grow new survival muscles just hanging on day by day. Instead, I taxed my quaking endurance muscles a little further by the moment.
Hamilton was the set of tunes I heard through a far distant window that made me strain to rise up … for it, and for me:
What is this glorious feeling, and how do I make more of it?
I now own three musicals on CD. A fourth is on the way, and I’ll be ordering a fifth shortly.
I’ve told my husband I’m going to write a musical, and I will. It won’t happen quickly, but it doesn’t need to.
More and more by the day, I find gratification
neither in the attainment nor its speed,
but in the seeking.
Please stay tuned for info on posting here in my new Prescribing Joy series.