Thursday, January 4, 2018

Why You Need Whimsy: How To Cultivate A Life Of Utterly Ridiculous Joy




A year ago (almost exactly to the day), I found myself at the wedding of a good friend in Nashville, Tennessee.  An old friend of my husband's from high school had finally found the woman of his dreams and we were so thrilled for him.  We were also excited to reconnect with some friends from high school that we hadn't seen in over a decade.  Suffice it to say, a good time was had by all.

But looking back on that night, one particular memory has stuck with me and I have kept coming back to it at various times in the last year.  My husband and I were seated at our table with some folks from high school, awaiting our turn to hit up the buffet.  There was some house music playing softly but the dancing had yet to begin for the evening.  Suddenly, our friend Elliot took his date by the hand and the two just starting swirling and twirling all over the dang dancefloor.  

My husband and I started laughing because we couldn't help it...they were having so much fun out there.  They were being silly and dipping and scooping and flipping and it was quite the spectacle, I can assure you.  After a moment, I looked around the room to see what everyone else's reactions were.  Everyone who was paying attention just had huge smiles on their face.  They were joining in the laughter.  They were joining in the joy.  And you know who was having the most fun of all?  Elliot and his date, of course.  Because when your attitude in life is "why not?" instead of "why?" you enjoy the benefits of whimsy.  Moment by moment, day by day, you cultivate a life of utterly ridiculous joy.

I want that.

My all-time favorite Bob Goff quote is this: 

"Living a life fully engaged and full of whimsy and the kind of things that love does is something most people plan to do, but along the way they just kind of forget.  Their dreams become one of those 'we'll go there next time' deferrals.  The sad thing is, for many there is no 'next time' because passing on the chance to cross over is an overall attitude toward life rather than a single decision.  They need a change of attitude, not more opportunities."

I think our friend Elliot embodies this life of whimsy more than anyone else I have met.  Just scrolling through his Facebook page is a reminder that living a life fully engaged and full of whimsy is living a life of utterly ridiculous joy.  His most recent posts include:  Pictures from a crazy fun looking Y2K themed NYE party where everyone is dressed to the nines, pictures from him seeing Hamilton on Broadway for like the billionth time because he knows people in the cast because he's friends with everyone he meets, and a post begging people to vote for his friend's graphic design to win a contest so their family can win a trip to Disney World.  At first, I thought it was Elliot's own design he was promoting because he captioned the photo:  "Make my Christmas!  Vote now!"  But nope.  It was for his friend.  Because his friend winning a trip to Disney World for their family would make Elliot's Christmas.  

You are probably starting to get the picture.  You are probably starting to think, along with me: Wow.  I want that.  I want a life like that. 

But what is it about a life full of whimsy and joy that we are connecting with?  What is it that our hearts truly desire when we are inspired by someone else living their best life?  I think it comes down to a desire for a few things:  confidence, permission to go with your gut, and assurance that you are making the absolute most out of this precious gift called life.

Confidence.  Who among us doesn't want more confidence?  When you are confident, your thought life isn't wasted with wondering what other people think about you.  You aren't paralyzed with fear wondering if it would be weird if you just got out of your seat and started dancing.  When you're confident, you just dance.

Permission to go with your gut.  If we're honest, we all want to be able to do what we feel and feel good about it.  We don't want to be stuck in indecision or anxiety over what to have for dinner, what to wear to the party, or how to spend our time today.  What we really want is someone to say:  "Do YOU, do what would bring you joy in this moment!  Stop worrying about the next one already!"  Well, friends, if that's what you're waiting for...permission granted.  None of your choices will break you.  Fear of making a mistake or having a regret doesn't need to hold you back any longer.  Go live.

Assurance that you are making the absolute most out of this precious gift called life.  What would it be like if you woke up every morning and asked yourself "how can I have the most fun possible today?"  Or even better:  "how can I make sure the people I love have the most fun possible today?"  In his book Love Does, Bob Goff also says:  "I think a father's job, when done best, is to get down on both knees, lean over his children's lives, and whisper 'where do you want to go?' Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure.  It's not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us.  God asks what it is He's made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made.  And then, leaning over us, He whispers, 'Let's go do THAT together.'"  

Oh, my friends...let's go do that together.  Let's answer that whisper with confidence, with our gut instincts, with the assurance that this one life is ours for the taking.  Let's cultivate a life of utterly ridiculous joy, one that's more about our passions and purpose and less about perfectionism and people pleasing.  Let's enjoy the view from the inside looking out when we find ourselves alone on a dance floor, bringing smiles to all the faces.


*** If you love this post, there's a good chance you'll love my book 31 Days to Managing Your Moods.  You can check it out here! ***






   



   
   

   

   





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