In my previous column, I mentioned that I have been giving presentations titled, “How to Create Ageless Joy.” This is the second column offering ageless joy suggestions.
• Joseph Campbell said, “Why do some people float in the waters that drown others?” My answer to Joseph Campbell would be, “Your attitude determines if you sink or swim.”
• If you enjoy inner peace and joy, outside events or people will not determine your state of mind. It also means you are responsible for your joy or lack of it in your life. To create ageless joy, you have to let go of negative attitudes, such as anger, revenge and jealousy. These are dumb emotions because they create harmful results that take you down. Joy cannot hold hands with harmful emotions.
• Joy is upbeat and optimistic. Joy is living in the present — this hour, this day. When you experience inner joy, you waste very little time regretting the past or worrying about the future. You can’t control the past or the future, so why devote time and energy to them?
• You do have control of right now, the present. You are the shot caller of this hour, this day. It’s possible for joy to grow in the present.
• For joy to become your friend, you need to let go of old and present fears. When you confront fear, the fear no longer lives, and you move forward. Joy doesn’t do well in a world of indifference. Joy thrives when you make decisions and solve problems. When you attack your fears, instead of avoiding them, joy is possible.
• Living a life of indifference means problems are never resolved, and the truth is rarely talked about. A marriage of indifference means both parties accept the way things are in the marriage and feel no need to rock the boat. There are very few highs in this relationship, and lows are denied for the sake of “getting along.”
• I guess it’s possible to have a marriage of indifference for 60 years if joy is not important to the wife or the husband. Perhaps a little bit of joy, occasionally, is better than divorce to some people.
• Life is too short to allow indifference to prevail in your marriage or in your job. Indifference means intimacy never existed or it died a slow, boring death. I believe it’s better to have highs and occasional lows in a relationship then it is to avoid intimacy for decades at a time.
• Indifference means you have given up on love, and the status quo is tolerable and uncomplicated. Couples prefer to avoid arguments rather than speak their minds. Giving in is easier than creating joy or having the courage to really speak your mind.
• Indifference also means that dreams are out the window. These indifferent couples are often financially secure but no longer see emotional and/or sexual happiness as possible in their house.
• The Buddha said, “Do not allow an older person to enter your body.” I personally think that exercise keeps you feeling younger, and ageless joy rides in the body and mind that feels good.
• Recently, a tennis injury resulted in my avoiding tennis and aerobic exercise for 12 days. By the twelfth day, I felt stiff, tired, bored and old. I had allowed an old person to enter my body, and he decided to stay.
• When I work out regularly, I sleep better and have lots of energy for everything. There is ageless joy in staying fit physically, and ageless joy is much more possible when you feel and react like a younger person.
• If you give up on exercising, your Lazy Boy chair becomes your soul mate, and daytime and nighttime television dominates your waking hours when you are not falling asleep in your chair.
• There is plenty of joy out there, folks, but you have to go after it. Joy makes the difference between a boring and a fun life. If you are bored, do something about it before it is too late.
Bob Billingsley is a columnist at the Mountain Democrat. His column appears bi-weekly.