Joy is a Choice

This past year has been a year of immense change. In a short six months, I have: moved from the LA to the Bay Area, got married, helped move my mother and aunt to California from New Jersey, lost my stepmother, and finished my debut collection (out and December) and tried to start a family. If finding a whole new social life and adjusting to a brand spanking new marriage and town weren’t enough, I reduced my hours (and pay) at my job to allow time for writing. I tired to fit a full time job into part time hours, all while driving back in forth from LA to the Bay. 

I was living in a constant state of panic. Running from stress to stress, with no free time to breath or cry. No time to ask myself, is this the life I really want. And whenever a moment of reflection was gifted to me, I sobbed: in the parking lot of Trader Joes, lost it on the lady who told my eyebrow appointment had been canceled because I was late, snapped at my mother who was trying to bring me dinner. 

Almost everything I had always wanted my whole life had happened. And I hated who I was. 

I have read that the body can’t tell the difference between a funeral and a wedding; no matter what I did or what I said I was always dressed in black. Mourning the one thing I wanted more than anything, to write. 

Stress pulsed through every cell, the blood racing inside always convinced I had to do more, achieve more. The faster the pace, the more behind I felt. It was never enough. 

On a cold February day, commuting from LA back to the bay, on 1-5 somewhere near Fresno, I cried so hard I could barely see the road. This was not the life I wanted, yet it was the one I had built. One of overcommitment and crippling perfectionism. 

My mother always says, “joy is a choice, worry is a choice, stress if a choice: choose wisely.” Over the past five months, I have made dramatic changes from cutting down on coffee to meditating every morning. I am making an effort to choose more consciously. Reach for love more than fear.

But it is a daily struggle. I am programmed in panic. But at least now, I am putting up a fight. 

This looks a lot different from the old version of me. Success for me was defined by achievement, which translated into business and exhaustion. 

The older I get, the more I realize time is my biggest commodity. Investing in worry and doubt will only make you feel bankrupt. Rest and silence have become just as valuable as the drive for success.

Today starts a new challenge. One where I publicly commit to my craft and choose joy. It will be starting a blog to document this journey, failures and amens.

I hope you join me on it. Looking forward to blooming together. Shine on. 

Kelly Grace ThomasComment