Does This Bring Me Joy?

I had the privilege this afternoon of picking up my granddaughter Aubrey from school, as she nears the end of her first full week of second grade. This precocious child always makes me laugh, and think, in turns, as she unabashedly shares her views about the world. 

Aubrey returned with me to the Keller Williams Realty office, after selecting a drink and a snack, while I completed the day’s work. She is a friendly girl, and she chatted easily with Doris Carlin, founder of our local Keller Williams market center, and with agents and staff, showing everyone her extremely loose front tooth. She asked questions and answered questions, and she was so considerate and thoughtful that I complimented Aubrey on her politeness. 

She leaned toward me and whispered, “Enjoy it, Yaya, because I can’t say how long this is going to last.” 

That’s Aubrey, ever forthright and authentic! 

My work completed, Aubrey requested that we participate in a tradition that we observe every year at this time…checking out potential gifts for her birthday in October. I allowed my granddaughter to take the lead at Toys R Us, wandering up and down the colorful, toy packed aisles, while I followed, snapping pics of the items that interested her. 

This is what I found insightful about watching Aubrey: when something caught her eye…and let’s face it, she’s seven years old…most everything caught her eye…she paused to pick up the toy or game and hold it. If the object was too large to hold, she touched it. After a few moments of careful consideration, she announced, “This rings my bell.”  And I took a picture of the toy. Or she said, “This doesn’t ring my bell.” And back on the shelf the item went, without a photo taken, and she moved on. 

Anyone who has read the best selling book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo, will recognize what Aubrey is doing as she holds each item. She’s checking to see if the object brings her joy. Without being taught, and having never read the book, Aubrey is sensing whether the toy that she desires is in alignment with her, or not. Does it bring her joy? I take a pic of a potential gift. No joy, even if it looks appealing? Move on. 

Watching Aubrey, I realized that many people go through the same process. Finding something that we are drawn to, whether it is a scarf, a bottle of nail polish, or a book, we pick up the item to examine it more closely. Or are we, consciously or subconsciously, handling the object, checking to see if it brings us joy? 

I know now that I do what Aubrey does. I’m giving the item the joy test, and allowing what I feel to help me make a decision. She has enough openness and awareness to use this technique naturally and easily, stating her preferences as ringing…or not ringing…her bell. 

I enjoyed observing this soulful girl as she moved about the store. I captured her chosen toys with my phone’s camera. And I listened to her happy chatter. She’s reached an age where other factors are beginning to influence her final decisions, such as value. She’s more aware of the cost of what she desires, and she carefully weighs that cost against the perceived joy the toy will bring. 

I heard her mutter several times that the toy “wasn’t worth the cost”. And while that shift could be seen as maturity, a part of me was sad that she is already moving beyond letting simple joy guide her. Ah, sweet Aubrey, hold on to your ability to recognize what brings you joy, and what doesn’t. Keep trusting yourself and your instincts. They won’t lead you astray. 

And know this, Dear Heart, you ring my bell. You bring me joy. 

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