Joie de vivre

Today I asked my friend if she had made any New Year's resolutions. Immediately she answered, "Well, I know I should eat better." It struck me that it was as if I asked if she were starting a diet. Like
New Years Resolution = New Diet. Our culture is really, really preoccupied with this. But here's the thing - we all indulge over the holidays. That's why they are called 'holidays.' Its a treat. Then January rolls around and its all Juice Cleanses and Shedding Holiday Weight madness. What if instead of cursing ourselves for indulgence, we celebrate it, because it is only for one part of the year? Eating is a big part of celebrating together, and I don't think we should feel like it is a bad thing. There are so many real things to be miserable about, holiday indulgence is SO not one of them.
She is the third person in the past week I've given similar advice to: Increase the joie de vivre in life. Instead of thinking how we 'should' be disciplining and altering ourselves, how can we explore pleasure? How can we maximize our enjoyment in daily living? How can we expand our minds in the coming year? What new music is waiting to be discovered? What new food? What new books or stories?

I recognize it is easy for me to look at someone else's life and tell them to relax and enjoy it, because I come from a strange perspective. I have a two-year-old who eats through a feeding tube, throws up most day and night, and occasionally quits breathing and needs my intervention to preserve her life. Living with the real knowledge of death's proximity has definitely changed the way I see things. I feel like the world needs to relax, eliminate the noisy chatter, and connect with divinity through beauty and pleasure. More mindfulness. More joie de vivre.


  1. Kind of reminds me of this, which is a good segue to my own goals for the year. (There is no resolving to eat better and lose weight when you are 8 months pregnant and still just settling for whatever food will stay down.) http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/10/opinion/sunday/when-can-women-stop-trying-to-look-perfect.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

  2. I love this post, Shelley! My goals for the new year often revolve around a way that I can live life more fully, be happier, or learn new things. I'm like you.

    I can understand how people would resolve to exercise or make changes in their diet and feel like those goals are still in a "joie de vivre" type of vein. Most people view those things as a chore, but I can see how some people could connect happiness with exercise, well-being or health. In the future, when I do make attempts at eating more healthily, I hope that it is with the aim of experiencing the pleasures of healthy eating.