Joy in the In-Between

Life is divided into three categories: times that are good, times that are bad, and times that are neither. You almost never have any direct control over two of these three categories. The bad times happen because they are meant to happen. You can’t control the loss of a loved one, a close relationship drifting away, or the negative actions of another person. You can’t control if a job isn’t as great as you thought at first glance, or how much work your teachers lop on and the end of a semester.  You also largely cannot control the good times. It’s difficult to control if you run into sudden luck or if your talents are discovered by someone with power. Big events like graduations and marriages are few and far between, and awards are often achieved through chance. Sure, you can set yourself up for success, but sometimes that isn’t quite enough.

Still, the system is great because those types of events comprise, what, maybe ten percent of your life. The rest of the time you’re just there. These are the moments where things are happening and it’s up to you to determine if things are good or bad. I call this the in-between because it falls, well, in between important good or bad events in your life. They’re times where you’re at work, producing positively for the world. You’re faced with a choice. You can complain about the work and how busy you are, which tends to convey bad things on both your life and everyone around you. Or you can seriously search around you for ways to make your life better. I do that by finding joy in little things. Maybe there is a person who needs some encouragement or some conversation. Maybe there is a chance to pick up a new skill. Very rarely are jobs bad for the sake of being bad. They’re often bad because you make them that way.

It doesn’t have to just be a job. It can also apply to relationships, school, skills, and alone time. Joy is determined not by the nature of the environment around you, but by how you look at the environment around you. So, three things: dream big, think small, and take control of every moment of your life you can. Bad things will happen in your life, and they hurt unimaginably, but there’s no reason to spend the other 95 percent of your life focusing on the pain. Take control of the in-between, and spend your life searching for joy. I assure you, you will find it.

[Photo credit: Morgan Sessions, Unsplash]

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Matthew Estes

Matthew Estes currently exists in the ether between graudate student and full-time worker. One day he hopes to be a full-time novelist and blogger, but until that day comes he spends his time playing video games, eating pizza, and being with his soon-to-be wife. However, he has yet to do all three at the same time. Bucket list stuff, you know.