• Sarah Joy Cook

They Say Happiness is a Choice

I’m out of words. Me. Out of words. How can that be? I write every single morning. My journal is my safe place. I fill page after page with thoughts, profoundly deep and embarrassingly shallow. It is my lifeline to ME. It’s how I know what I’m feeling. It’s where I discover how to move forward.

Rather than sit here torturing myself about not having a perfect lead-in or some positive story to tell about COVID-19 survival, I’m just going to get to the point.

I’ve struggled to keep my optimistic outlook. I know I’m not alone but that doesn’t really help me to get back on track. So, last week I enrolled in a class on Coursera. It’s the most popular class ever offered at Yale. Yes, Yale. And right now it’s free. The objective of the class is to teach us how to be happier.

One of the assignments in week one is to savor a moment each day. My reaction to the assignment was a bit of a “well, duh”...I already do that. But now that I’ve been intentional for several days, I realize it’s helping. I think maybe the past few months have knocked me off of my game.

The beauty of savoring a moment is that it inks the moment in my mind. I can easily return to it. I can recall the exact feelings and circumstances of savoring the past 3 days and those memories give me access to contentment.

Saturday morning we woke up excited. We decided to drive to Charleston and the beach for a one-night getaway. Aside: whoa! We are only 3 hours from the beach! As I sat with my journal, I noticed the pleasure of my latte (Colin still brings me a hot mug every morning without fail). I felt the comfort of a light breeze from the fan. I listened as he alternated playing the piano and then the guitar, periodically singing along. I was well-rested and in no rush. Contentment.

Sunday morning we got up for a long walk around historic Charleston. The air was heavy with the smell of magnolias and salty sea water. The sun was warm but still low in the sky. We stopped to take photos of architecture and centuries old graveyards. We bought iced almond milk lattes and they were extra creamy. I touched the smooth bark of a Crepe Myrtle tree. Contentment.

This morning, I was happy to wake in my own bed. Another 8+ hour night of sleep so well rested again. The thing that I noticed was how much I love clean sheets. We rotated the mattress and changed the linens last night--white, crisp, fresh. Just a moment, but I savored it. Contentment.

So that’s it for this month. Otherwise, this well is dry. Hopefully more creative energy next month. The restrictions are gradually lifting and so are my spirits. Anticipating the return of no face masks so that I can see people smile.

If you’re interested in the course, you can find more info here:


Sarah Joy

#ProjectRestoreJoy #SavorTheMoment #Coronavirus #Coursera #TheScienceOfWellBeing #ChoosingHappiness

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