“No one wants to decorate. They just want it to be decorated.”

Earlier this week, I wrote that thought on top of my to-do list that sits on the kitchen counter. I wondered if I was being passive aggressive, but then I concluded that my family is not interested enough in my to-do list to pause and browse the contents.

The truth is, I’m also that person—the one who wants the house to be decorated but doesn’t actually want to decorate. I like to start the process, but I rarely have the stamina to complete the job.

Later that day, I stood at the top of the stairs, untangling some lights I’d picked up from Target. The plan was to hang these lights around the kids’ bedroom doors, but the task felt so daunting. I’d finally gathered the step ladder and the tacks and was grumbling about how the twist ties were taking forever to unwind.

Finally, I finished one strand, inserted the batteries, and started working on the next box. I looked down and thought, “I wonder if I could

get away with leaving these lights on the floor? They look kind of pretty.”

I was joking with myself, imaging spreading them along the baseboards and calling it done. But then I thought, “What if I wrapped them around the stairway banisters instead?”

And so I did. And then I draped the remaining strands around the bathroom mirrors. In a matter of minutes, I’d accomplished the mission of making the upstairs feel more like Christmas and less like a dreary, messy college dorm.

Then, I went online. My nearby Target only had one strand left, but I was able to order a few more boxes and have them delivered.

In the midst of this I noticed how my mood—and my level of motivation—had begun to slowly and steadily lift. And it all started with strands of lights shining on the floor.

Perhaps that’s how joy arrives. In the middle of the mundane moments. When something simple, something beautiful, captures our attention.

Later, I packed up all the other decorations that I’d been procrastinating (avoiding) and put them back in the attic. Insert Marie Kondo joke here: No joy. Goodbye!

Today I’ll open those extra boxes of lights that arrived yesterday and hang them in my office, on a shelf in the kitchen, and anywhere else that could use a little glow. Not too much. Just enough.

If you find yourself dragging your feet, stuck in the mud of your own to-do list and expectations, consider where it might be helpful to simplify.

Perhaps it’s not you. Perhaps you’re not the problem. Perhaps it’s just too much, or just too hard, or just not necessary. Instead of pushing through, or feeling bad because you just can’t, be open to the shift. Notice the one thing that lightens the mood, and bring more of that in.

Have you found yourself in a surprise moment of joy lately? Let me know by hitting reply.


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