When I was a young child, there was a stream of excitement that ran through my body about nearly everything I encountered… an empty box, a new toy, going for a ride in the car… these were epic experiences. As I got older, I noticed that the things that brought excitement to me started to become fewer and farther between. In my teens, the most exciting circumstances included two components, no parental supervision, and being granted a late curfew, and like most kids at that age part the excitement was less about the object, or the circumstance, and more about the joy of living in the moment.
Now I’m thirty-five, and I have to say, in retrospect there were long blocks of time after my teens where I lacked the excitement of anything in life. One might say, “well you didn’t embark on any exciting activities… “, but that was not the case. The reality was, I didn’t choose to find excitement and joy within the experiences my life was bringing me, and that was one form of self-deprecation I no longer wanted to encourage.
Now, in all honestly, I kind of stumbled upon this new awareness a couple of years ago when I began the inward journey and concentration of experiencing more joy in my life in general. On this path I have discovered that I can find joy in what most would explain to be the most mundane, irritating, or boring circumstances.
Case and point, yesterday I received the iPhone 6 via FedEx. Remarkably, it was delivered the day the phone was released, and I can’t tell you how excited I was for the FedEx guy to arrive. The funny thing was, I was more excited to be excited, than I was to get the phone. It’s as if the phone was merely a catalyst to experiencing joy in my life, and I wanted to milk every moment of it.
Later that afternoon, I received a knock at the door, and I knew it was my long awaited phone. I opened the door, and did a jig for the FedEx man that probably looked a hybrid between the electric slide, and a seizure (note to self, work on those dance moves). When he encountered the joy I was experiencing from receiving that phone, he lit up. My joy was contagious, and he couldn’t help but partake in the energy that it created. I closed the door, reveled in my new purchase, and realized that my next trip was down the street to the Verizon store to get a phone case, which is equivalent to finding the latest, and most stylish outfit for your child, and since I am presently content without one of those… I was pretty amped to get my phone suited in the latest gear. What would best express who I am as an individual? Hmmm, I’d have to go see.
I arrived at the Verizon store, and it was pandemonium. A crowd of cranky, irritated people were OUTSIDE the store. What was going on, I thought. I approached the door, still raging with joy, and the manager explained that they are only letting so many people in at a time due to the new phone release. Um, there were literally 10 people in the store at the time. I said, “Buddy, I just need a phone case, and screen protector.” He said, “Ma’am, you’re going to have to wait about 20 minutes. I will try to get you in sooner, but please step to the side and be patient.” Really? At this point, I was at a crossroads, was I going to let this situation steal my joy, or was there a way to create a fun and joyful environment despite the ridiculous circumstances I was encountering?
No debating necessary, I chose to make “fun” of this situation, and encourage anyone within the vicinity of letting joy in, join in. I began talking to the security guard who was diligently guarding the door with his walkie talkie and weapon of pepper spray. I said, “Buddy, what’s the deal? Why is it so difficult to get in this place? I feel like I’m at a club. Do I need to get on the guest list or something?” He said, ” I don’t know, I guess they are monitoring the amount of people going in for security reasons.” I said, “That is hilarious. I mean, come on, there are 10 people in there.” As I was finishing my sentence a man walked up to the door, and the manager unlocked it from the inside to address his request. He said, “Hi, can you let me in, my wife is in there?” Boom, instant access. I turned to the security guard and said, “Is that the equivalent to.. I’m here with the DJ?” He laughingly said, “I know, right?” The security guard was loving this banter, and I could tell, that just like the FedEx guy, he was becoming enrolled in the fun I was making out of the circumstance.
After a short wait, I was granted access to the store, and boy did I feel like a VIP. All those angry faced people waiting outside with their less than joyful attitudes were still perched on their branches of self induced purgatory, and I was riding the highway to phone case ville.
I walk in, and no joke, a store associate took one of the new portable speakers they are selling, cranked up the music, and placed it in the middle of the store. He said, “This speaker is so great, you feel like you’re at a club.” Umm, I had no words, the club analogy I literally created outside somehow permeated the interior walls of the store. I couldn’t help but revel in the moment.
I ended up getting the last screen protector they had in stock, and a phone case that is the perfect expression of who I am… transparent, solid, and without apology always expressing my inner color.
Hugh Prather said, “Happiness is present attitude, not a future condition”, and as I left, I couldn’t help but wonder what opportunity will present itself next.