I was anti-joy for the first part of my life.
Instead, I was all about STRUGGLE.
In college, I worked part-time as an undergrad and in graduate school.
I took extra-hard courses. I had a secret dream of applying as a transfer student to MIT, so I took electrical engineering, chemistry and physics courses, above and beyond my university’s computer science requirements.
I got married while I was in graduate school, which added in figuring out how to be married, cooking dinner and cleaning house.
I felt like I had a never-ending to-do list and never enough time.
I didn’t quite measure up to my standards (I didn’t have a PhD and I was not on a path to invent anything). Yes, those were my unspoken standards back then!
I reached the end of the line on the anti-joy train at age 28. I looked at my life and thought “IS THIS IT? Because if this is it, I want a refund.”
Although I wasn’t 100% clear where I was going, I was clear on where I did NOT want to be. I ended my marriage and found a more satisfying relationship. I left my secure but unfulfilling job and became an entrepreneur, co-founding a government contracting firm. I got into yoga and meditation. I learned basic Portuguese for a special trip.
Through living in anti-joy, I came to know that life without joy is like eating scraps or living in a box. Being human means I’m meant for joy.
This year, my official business name became Joyful Girl Enterprises.
My NC license plate is JYFL GRL, happily attached to my sexy Volvo, instead of the practical Hyundai.
My business focus is bringing more of my unique genius into my work, and helping other women do the same.
This is all a reminder of my goal now:
Follow my joy.
Be the joy.
Thanks to Ani DiFranco’s song Joyful Girl for inspiring that phrase, back in 1996!