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the

joy of life

Scott Jemielity


the joy of life


ii


the

joy of life Scott Jemielity

APC

Auditore Publishing Company

Marsailles, France


THE JOY OF LIFE Copyright Š2012 by Scott Jemielity All rights reserved. No part of the material herein may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For further information, please write: Scott Jemielity 8659 Inyo Place Manassas Park, VA 20111


For my Mother Who stands by me in times of stress, who has taught me to find joy in all areas of life, And who has helped me become who I am today. I love you always.


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Contents Preface

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Part 2

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Conclusion

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Part 1 Part 3

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Preface This book has a single purpose. That purpose is to understand various meanings of joy, and how different people experience it. Many people have different views on all sorts of

subjects in life, but joy is a universal term. Everyone has known joy in one

way or another throughout their life, and I want to explore that throughout the pages of this book.

I would like to thank my mother for helping me decide what I wanted my

book to be about. If I did not have her to brainstorm with, I would not have this awesome topic to explore. I would also like to thank all of my friends for constantly encouraging me and helping me move forward with this

project. A book is not small undertaking, and at times it has been difficult to focus my ideas, and create something that I am truly proud of. My mother and friends have been there every step of the way to encourage me and

give me ideas and pointers. Finally, I would like to thank everyone who shared their thoughts on joy with me. It has been a fascinating journey hearing about everyone’s experiences.

I hope that this shines a small light on the subject of joy to whoever reads it, and I hope that no matter where life takes us all, we may always be able to find joy in some way or another.

SJ Fairfax, VA, 2012

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Part 1

joy through life

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Shani Brandt How would you define joy? Joy is what one experiences when one discovers contentment with, and

therefore love for, one’s current state in life, and the consequential freedom that accompanies that love. When one discovers that love - whether it be

love for one’s job, or romantic love, or love for whatever one’s state in life may be - it overrides the brief moments or periods of sadness, pain, and

unhappiness, which are all natural and necessary parts of every human life. Joy is so much more than just being happy in a moment because you spent time with friends, or because you bought a great new device, a cute new

dress, or whatever temporary pleasure a moment may provide. Those are moments of happiness. True joy is an overall love of life.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? In order to achieve true joy in one’s life, one must not be living merely

based off of what they want to do, but by what is required of them in their position in life. For instance, by being the best parent that they can be, the

hardest worker at their job, or the most sincere lover in their relationship. It

is only when one is doing everything that one is supposed to do, leaving no gaps or pockets of any doubt otherwise, that one can truly experience the freedom that comes with true joy.

For myself, when I am feeling depressed or stressed, I try to take a step

back and figure out what areas of my life I am not fulfilling properly. For 2


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example, in what ways am I slacking at my job? Or where am I being selfish with my family and friends? Then, when I identify the weak spots, I try to change and fix them, and it’s only through honest effort that I am brought back to a calm and contented state.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? I am an Irish Dancer, and it is through competition, and the long hours of practice that are required, that I learned to perceive joy in the way that I do. As difficult as it was at times, I was only content when practicing or

working out properly. If there were any ways that I was skimping, I was

not joyful. While I may have enjoyed and been happy to spend time with friends instead of practicing one day, in the end all I was left with was a

guilt resulting from the knowledge of having failed myself. I learned that I was joyful when practicing properly, drenched with sweat, and with

sore bones and muscles. On the other hand, I was irritable, frustrated, and at times depressed when I was lazy and comfortable. The contentment through hard work is what taught me my perception of joy.

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True joy is an overall love of life. 5


Dance is the one thing that would take my mind off of almost anything.

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Rouba Chabke How would you define joy? Infinite smiles, internal peace, fluttering hearts, loving family, good music, and loyal friends.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? I have a “Feel Good” music playlist on my phone; it’s the first thing I go to when I’m down. Dance is the one thing that would take my mind off

of almost anything. Also movies; they’re a sweet escape. Especially good comedies. Photography is soothing; it helps me see things in a different point of view (literally).

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? My friends have changed the way I look at things throughout the past few years. I have grown close to some people, and have learned their ways

of being happy; especially when it comes to music and dance. Watching

movies was something my dad and I enjoy doing together, and that habit

has stayed with me through the years. Lastly, my older sister is one of the

happiest people I know; it kind of rubs off on you when you’re around her. She is the biggest joyful inspiration in my life!

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Vina Sananikone How would you define joy? Joy is the first five to ten minutes of satisfied silence when food has been

placed on the table. Conversations cease, bellies begin to fill, and there is an unspoken pleasure that comes from sharing a good meal with the ones you love.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? Food: discussing it, reading about it, photographing it, cooking it, and

eating it. This applies to all emotions. Sunny day? Celebrate with a picnic. Rainy or stressful day? Soothe with soup.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? I have a very large extended family, full of people who love to cook and eat.

My perception of joy comes from family get-togethers and growing up with a deep appreciation of the kitchen and all that comes with it.

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Joy is the first five to ten minutes of satisfied silence when food has been placed on the table. 9


Just don’t worry! My personal motto10 is “Hakuna Matata.”


Brandi Hilliard How would you define joy? I think joy, at the most basic level, is being incredibly satisfied with

something in your life. You’re joyful when your wants and needs are not

only satisfied, but exceeded-- it can be something big like getting tickets to see your favorite band, or as small as having a nice sunny day when you thought it was going to rain.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? I think all humans are constantly striving to achieve happiness in every

single decision they make, even if not consciously. It’s similar to economics, where people always seek the best possible personal outcome. So I don’t think I really make any one set of decisions just to become happy. I’m always thinking about my best interests!

That’s another thing-- I think that the ability to be a happy person is one

that depends a lot on your personality. Some people just have trouble being

happy. I personally think that my requirements for being happy are very low, and that’s why I’m so happy all the time! There aren’t a lot of constraints

on my happiness. One of these things is just not letting myself get worked up. Why be worried and stressed when you can just be happy instead? I

don’t worry about things in my future that I can’t change, because that’s

just a waste of energy. If you can’t change it, you can’t change it. That’s that. And I especially try not to be bothered by things that happened in the past.

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You definitely can’t change those, so being upset is just a waste of your time. Just don’t worry! My personal motto is “Hakuna Matata.”

I think another reason I’m an incredibly happy person is that I have a relatively low empathy level. Unless they are my very close family or

friends, I’m not usually influenced by other people’s feelings. Some people can’t be happy unless they know that everyone in their life is also happy-but that’s not me. I’m not afraid to let myself be happy. In fact, I think the most important thing in my life is my own happiness. I’m not ashamed

to do things that make me happy-- I think a lot of people limit their own

happiness because they aren’t comfortable with what makes them happy.

That’s stupid! If money makes you happy, make money! If having a lot of

sex makes you happy, have a lot of sex! If collecting a disturbing amount of coca-cola paraphernalia makes you happy, go for it! You’re never going to be happy if you try and please everyone around you. They probably have stupid opinions, anyway.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? Well, you know... there was this one website... let’s just say that after

spending a few years there, I’m not afraid to be me, and that’s probably the most happy-making thing of all.

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Christine Vu How would you define joy? It’s silly, but joy is that moment when it begins to pour while I’m outside, and instead of wearing the sneakers I initially intended on, I put on flip-

flops. There’s something about not having soggy shoes and uncomfortable feet that makes me feel really good.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? I have a fairly contagious personality, so if people around me are sour, at some point, I’ll become that way as well. Because of this, I try and stay optimistic, no matter what the situation is. Stress is not normally a big

factor to me, as I don’t allow things to push my buttons; if I am stressed though, I try to not dwell on the subject and do something that I enjoy,

even if it’s something as insignificant as singing during my daily commute, or speaking in a ridiculous voice to make myself, and others, laugh.

Unhappiness and stress are just not worth the harm that it does to your body; mentally and physically, it’s exhausting.

Some people I know tell me that crying is a good outlet for stress, but in the end, it honestly makes me feel worse. If there is a choice between crying and doing something that makes me happy, even if the happiness takes

more effort, I’m going to pick the latter. There’s no reason to be unhappy if you can help it.

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There’s no reason to be unhappy if you can help it. Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? My family, in general, are pretty happy people. In particular, my

grandmother has shown me that no matter how crappy of a situation

you may be in, there is always a way that you can find happiness. My

grandmother has recently been admitted into a physical therapy program, but when I go to visit her, there isn’t a moment where I’ve ever seen her

unhappy; the therapists and employees that work with her tell me that she is the happiest person they have met. If she can have that effect on people just by speaking and interacting with them, I don’t see why I can’t, either.

There is also something about children’s perpetual sunshine that forces you to be happy. Being stressed or angry around kids just doesn’t go well. Plus, they always find hilarious ways to brighten your day.

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I love animals. They love me for who I am, no matter what and I love them right back.

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Rachel Newdorf How would you define joy? Being happy, relaxed, and mainly content. I am not searching for something because I know I have it.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? I love animals. Whenever I feel sad or depressed, I always take my dogs out for a walk or to play fetch. I could not imagine a world without them. They love me for who I am, no matter what and I love them right back. They are so care free and just love being paid attention to that you can’t help but

feel happy around them. I love the little surprises they give me, like when

they steal my socks, or cuddle up near my feet when I nap. They are just so goofy and I can’t help but smile whenever I think of them.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? My parents have always had animals. I grew up with dogs in my house so they were always a part of my family. It taught me respect and

responsibility, of course, but they also taught me unconditional love (my parents and my dogs). My parents gave me the greatest gift I could have ever asked for. I cannot think of the kind of person I would be without loving or being loved by my dogs.

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Andrew Curtis How would you define joy? Joy is something you experience when you feel an overwhelming sense of

happiness either from something funny, something that you enjoy seeing or doing, or enjoying the company of others around you.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? Usually I experience joy when I hear/watch something humorous or I am

doing something enjoyable that is an escape to the stresses of my life to get my mind in a better state.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? I’ve haven’t been around a lot of joy in my life. I’ve tried my best to incorporate joy in my life to make things seem better than they had

appeared to be. By having an escape to go to joy it helps my life seem not as bad as I originally imagined.

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I experience joy when I hear or watch something humorous.

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Brittany Higgs How would you define joy? Now that’s a super philosophical question. I guess, generically, I’d define

joy as “being happy.” But at the same time, I think joy is slightly different from happiness. Joy is...purer I guess. It’s more a profound feeling of

contentment--a feeling you get when you are really, truly at peace with yourself and whatever it is you are doing.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? To be honest, when I’m stressed I just let it be. Stress for me is a temporary

state that I usually get over whenever I remove or complete the thing that is stressing me out. When I’m depressed...that’s a different story. Depression runs in my family, so I’ve seen (and personally experienced) how awful it is and the ways it can change a person. I suppose the way I “achieve happiness/joy” is by reminding myself of times when I’ve been at my

lowest, and remembering how grateful I am to have gotten through it. Also, when I’m happy, I try not to question it, and I just try to appreciate the

feeling and make it last. The awesome thing is that this always works for me.

I also think over thinking things and getting worked up over stuff that may or may not be important is a contributing factor to depression and unhappiness. I try to always put things in perspective to figure out exactly why something

upsets me/stresses me out; and if I can’t come up with an answer or a solution,

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Joy is a feeling you get when you are really, truly at peace with yourself. I try to let it be. Even though it’s hard to accept that I can’t change things, I usually feel after I at least try to come up with a solution.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? I mentioned that I know how depression feels, so I suppose my concept of

joy is defined by not feeling depressed. Profound, I know: my perception of joy is defined by not being unhappy. But honestly, I think this is very true.

When you’ve witnessed the extreme of something terrible, it makes it much easer for you to appreciate anything that’s the opposite.

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Mark Medina How would you define joy? I would define joy as the absence of worry or concern.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? I interact with horses. They always seem to appreciate your presence, and don’t care what you say.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? My mom always woke me up with the most awful wake up call. She used

to come in my room and say “good moooooorning!” which aggravated me to no end. Now when I appreciate waking up past 9:30am, I feel a sense of joy. Man I love sleep.

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Horses always appreciate your presence and don’t care what you say.

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Justin Jemielity How would you define joy? Joy is anything that brings you peace, relaxation, and the feeling that you can breathe freely.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? I spend time with friends and loved ones, mostly enjoying activities that

we all like: playing games, watching movies. I like to lie down on the floor and just close my eyes for a while - not sleeping, just breathing and trying not to think about anything. It’s relaxing, and helps keep me calm. I also

sing. Every single time I’m alone, I sing as loud and with as much soul as I

possibly can. That works if I’m feeling sad, too. If I’m stressed out, I usually don’t deal with that very well, and I just freak out a little until things are okay again. Not the best way but it’s worked so far.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? Games and friends have always been an escape for me. My childhood

wasn’t as rosy as some, and it helped to have something to distract me. Keeping my mind off upsetting things was happier than not, and so I

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Joy is anything that brings you the feeling that you can breathe freely.

learned that I could look to my friends for support, and games were always a welcome distraction. All these things helped me be a more joyful person throughout my life.

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Mark Brandt How would you define joy? Joy is that minute by minute awareness that God created me for a purpose and that He loves me unconditionally; therefore I have a great reason for

waking up everyday and the knowledge that eternal happiness awaits me

drives me to smile within and at everyone I meet - all day long- every day!

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? Each morning I wake up - push away all negative thoughts and run into the love of God. I thank Him for creating me and for giving me a new day to

show Him I love Him with my life. I never feel depressed or stressed because I know God is real and He is with me in everything. I can be sad and I have

joy deep within. I can be angry -yet I know everything will be ok. There was a time in my life when I was always depressed - but I did not pray and I did

not believe God loved me. I was the reason nothing worked. God was there. I simply did not allow Him in. When I began to argue with myself and the

negative voices and thoughts and defend the truth that God was there and that He wanted the best for me I began to feel joy - all of the time.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? Joy is supernatural. I do not believe I can create joy. I believe I can surrender to it or ignore it. Music heightens my awareness of God in me and that 26


Causing joy in others causes joy in me!

brings me incredible joy! Seeing people happy, making people laugh,

helping others find joy, playing music for people...that makes me happy. That brings me joy. Causing joy in others causes joy in me!

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Stephanie Ballard How would you define joy? I think joy is complete liberation. It is freedom from anxiety, inordinate attachments, and other things that get in the way of one’s passions.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? I do what I like. I love history, so I do a lot of random research projects

because I’m a total nerd. I also love to dance. Whenever I go dancing with

my friends they always ask me where I “go”. To me it doesn’t matter. There could be hundreds of people around at any number of clubs, but all I pay attention to is the music.

My main issue is a struggle with OCD. I was diagnosed with severe OCD when I was 18, and it has been a huge source of anxiety in my life. It has

been a struggle to reclaim my life and daily thoughts/actions from it. When you live and think a certain way for 18 years, its difficult to re-program your brain to be more “normal.”

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? My family and my faith have definitely helped me to create joy in my life.

They’re such beautiful outlets that I am truly blessed to have. I also had the

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I was moved by the immense love he had for her.

amazing opportunity to study abroad in Florence last spring. I used to look

for joy in big things like celebrations, but Florence taught me to look for joy in everyday occurrences.

While I was there, I met a man named Marco who owned a leather shop

across from a church I went to everyday. He has a dog named Kika, whose back legs are paralyzed. Everyday he would carry Kika from home to the

shop and lay her in a bed he had made for her out of blankets and cushions so she wouldn’t be alone while he was working. One night I met Marco

while he was taking Kika for a walk; he had fashioned a cushioned sling to hold up her back legs and she was free to walk and exercise her front legs. I was moved by the immense love he had, and has, for her, and by the joy

he gets just from having such an adorable doggie in his life. Marco, and of course Kika, taught me to look for joy everyday and if there isn’t any, to make some and share it with everyone around.

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Part 2

joy through family and friends 31


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Joy is something spontaneous that occurs. It is part of what makes it so special.


Natalie Filzen How would you define joy? A lifting fulfillment, a giddiness and temporary forgetfulness of any worries.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? To achieve happiness.... I like to surround myself with fun, bubbly people that I can connect with. I spend time with family. I do things l love. When

I’m stressed, I usually let it out by talking to others about it or I write it out, sometimes overanalyzing. Although, I realize that if one has the mindset that happiness is something to be achieved, that they have to “work� for it, that takes the joy out of life. Happiness probably is less of something to be achieved, but a way of life. And joy probably is not something to

be achieved either, but something spontaneous that occurs--part of what makes it so special.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? Influences in my life that make me joyful are most definitely my sisters, my

brothers, my best friend, and my parents. My goals and achieving my goals also make me happy.

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I spend a lot of time with friends, which results in lots of laughing.

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Laura Calkins How would you define joy? Embracing or delighting in the goodness of a moment.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? I spend a lot of time with friends, which results in lots of laughing, board games, and cooking meals together. We also play lots of pool/billiards

and ping-pong at least once a week, and help each other out with random

projects. Most recently we primed the base of a shark tank for a friend, and soon we’ll be decorating a new apartment. We have study sessions with

7-11 runs, lots of girl’s nights, pizza, hair dying, swimming in the pool in

warmer weather, and rock climbing on occasion. When feeling depressed/ stressed, I go outside, appreciate nature, take walks, pray, hike, bike, and talk it out with friends.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? Friends and family, especially my close friends who I spend a lot of time with, and my brothers.

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Andrea Filzen How would you define joy? Joy is the inevitable eruption of freedom and love that bubbles within our souls and spills forth.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? Know freedom. Avoid the bondage of despair. Options... I suppose my

answers ought to be more practical. To achieve happiness in the practical,

easily applicable sense, I suppose that being among friends, potential friends, and at times immersed within natural landscapes in which I regard trees and squirrels and stuff as friends, would be a way in which I achieve happiness.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? Hm. I come from a large family, so I like a lot of company. But then again, some people come from large families and dislike being around a lot of. Yet I appreciate company a lot, partly because I am hardly jaded by it

(perhaps because I’ve-- and I’m sure I’m not the only one-- experienced

loneliness and am aware of how nice it is to have company.) I also value

others because of what I’ve learned of values through religion, ethics, and

in academia. Teachers teach about values, even in liberal institutions were

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Joy is a fresh new landscape to awe and admire.

conservative values such as family may be perceived as contested. But most educated folk know of the dignity of human beings, and how we ought

to love each other. Anyways, I also like a change of scenery. A fresh new

landscape to awe and admire. And I suppose because I’m from the suburbs, the country/untouched world seems like a nice scene to be submerged

in, at least for a while. Other influences are also my family, close friends, music, travelling, and school teachers.

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Lindsey Smith How would you define joy? Joy is the lightness you feel in your heart - when you feel elated and sometimes nervous all at once. Joy is magical.

Joy is magical.

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What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? To achieve happiness and joy in my life - I surround myself with positive people, stay involved with things that make me happy such as creative

projects, and eat and live healthy (enough greens, enough sleep), AND now that I’m a Mom, ... spend as much time with my baby as possible!

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? I think church was a large factor in my upbringing... learning how to be

selfless, how to balance the different areas in my life. Also, we did a TON of volunteer work and I realized that when I did these selfless acts, I felt so much more joy than I ever felt when I shopped, went to the movies,

etc. And the types of friends I met through my church community were uplifting and I still have them as friends to this day.

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Looking at my beautiful daughter always brings me back from any stress and keeps me joyful. 40


Christina Clark How would you define joy? Joy is not an emotion like happiness, which is dictated by circumstance, but is a beautiful state of mind where life is filtered through peace,

contentment, beauty, gratefulness and love. Practically speaking, joy is

likened to rejoicing. Rejoicing over life and the ups and downs of it is truly the essence of what joy means to me and how I define it.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? Looking at my beautiful daughter and realizing how privileged I am that God allowed me to be her mother always brings me back from any stress

and keeps me joyful. Whenever I feel depressed I take some time to analyze my thoughts. Once I realize that they are centered around myself, I simply shift my focus to others and focus on being grateful for where I am and what I have and happiness is achieved pretty quickly.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? The principles I’ve found to achieve joy in my life, I have found in the word of God. Choosing to be joyful and rejoice no matter the circumstance is a

principle you find over and over again in the Bible, as well as keeping your focus outward as opposed to inward, selfless as opposed to selfish.

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Hayley Roder How would you define joy? Joy is found in those moments of pure happiness when everything is right

with the world. It is often difficult to describe--you know it’s hit you when that feeling of pure happiness washes over you. Joy is found in those

moments you never want to forget because you’re so happy that you wish

every moment in life could be like that. Small children are often the best at expressing it--you can easily see their uninhibited joy through the smiles

on their faces. It often comes from doing something you love, being with someone you love, or having any number of great experiences.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? I try my best to surround myself with the people and things I love, even if I can’t always be in the places I love. I try to stay positive and feed off of the

positivity of others around me. I keep track of the good things that happen to me, rather than the negative things, mostly so that when I’m feeling

down, all I need to do is look back on my collection of happy memories

and great experiences to feel better. For me, joy is found in the small things in life--holding hands with my boyfriend, smelling the sweet spring air,

drinking a really good cup of coffee, listening to my favorite song, creating music with others, spending time with friends, etc.

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I realized that focusing on negativity was not a good way to live.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? At some point in my life, I realized that focusing on negativity and on the bad things that were happening was not a good way to live. I think I was

in high school when I first heard this quote from Joel Osteen: “Happiness is a choice you make, not an emotion you feel.� While this is not always true,

this concept really resonated with me--I realized that I could not necessarily change what was happening to me, but I could change how it was affecting me. I stopped taking for granted the small joys in my everyday life and

began focusing on those little things that made me happy. I became a much

more positive person and was able to find joy in my everyday life. I still feel this way, and am definitely a much happier person for it!

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Rachel Semenov How would you define joy? Delight. A state of happiness that is childlike, unhindered, and a bit

surprising. Like seeing your best friend waiting for you at the train station after a long trip.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? My boyfriend is a major source of joy in my life. Cooking with him with music blasting, that is joy. Sitting around drawing while he does work,

that is joy. I’m also a huge advocate of putting my stresses aside and doing something totally indulgent for a day to get myself centered. But the most

effective way I achieve happiness is by going outdoors. When I’m stressed or unhappy, all I really need to do is go walk around a place that has only rocks, rivers, and trees as far as the eye can see. It’s like hitting a reset button. After a day of being outdoors, I can deal with anything.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? My family has a quiet way of showing love. None of us are very

affectionate people, but we show love in other ways. The main one is spending time together outdoors. We’ve always been willing to drop everything for a weekend just to walk around our favorite mountain 44


After a day of being outdoors, I can deal with anything.

range or to explore an abandoned house. I’ve come to associate nature

with everything I love about my family: Simple, honest, and constantly

fluctuating between serene and chaotic. I feel most at home in a forest so

it’s also the place I feel the most joyful. If my family or my boyfriend can be with me, it’s bliss.

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Part 3

joy through religion

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Kathleen Jemielity How would you define joy? Joy is fulfilling what you are called to do in life by God, being who you

were uniquely created to be, and living for something bigger than yourself. I believe that in giving of ourselves to others through, charity, service and compassion, we can experience true joy.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? When I am feeling depressed or stressed, I try to do something for someone else so I can get over myself and see the bigger picture. I find great joy in learning more of who I am each day by creativity and self-expression.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? I believe that my faith as a Catholic Christian has been my biggest influence in learning what real joy is. I have had examples of holy people in my life

who always exemplify joy and love and I have wanted to model after them. I also have always had a few favorite saints whose lives have inspired me and challenged me to live a better life.

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I find great joy in learning more of who I am each day by creativity and self-expression.

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Rachel Shirey How would you define joy? Joy and happiness are typically thought of as interchangeable. However,

while related, they are actually two slightly different things. I see happiness as more of a fleeting emotion, and joy as more of a pervasive state of mind or being. Happiness often comes about through circumstances, while joy

can be present regardless of them. I can tend to feel momentary happiness

during my day when I eat a delicious meal or make it through three yellow traffic lights in a row. But this soon disappears if I then proceed to bite my tongue during the meal or get stuck in traffic.

To me, joy is a little different. This is because true joy is found in God

and is based on a relationship with Him. It involves delighting in God

and trusting His promises. Since His promises never change or fail, I can

continue to have joy in what I know to be true - even when earthly things in my life seem to be going wrong. Of course, when it comes down to it, this is incredibly hard to actually put into practice because daily troubles can quickly zap my joy.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? I actually feel depressed or stressed quite often. I can tend to lose sight of

the true source of joy - God - and let the cares of my day weigh me down. In order to combat this, I have found it incredibly helpful to surround

myself with other joyful people. They can serve to cheer me up and inhibit 50


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Joy involves delighting in God and trusting His promises. 52


me from sinking into my own thoughts. My boyfriend in particular always knows when I’m feeling down and can cheer me up within minutes. He also is quick to remind me of what I should have been doing in the first

place - praying for joy to the only One who can actually give me true joy.

Only God can create joy in me, so I can pray rather than be weighed down by my circumstances.

Once I get back on track, I also find it helpful to read encouraging Bible verses. When I can remember that my biggest problem in life has been

solved by Christ’s substitutionary death for me, it puts everything else in

perspective. God never promised that life would be happy and carefree, but He did promise that He would never leave me alone in the middle of it.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? My parents taught me that God is the source of joy. In high school they enrolled me in Bible classes that reinforced those principles, and they also provided me with spiritual books on the topic. In more recent

years, though, being around my boyfriend has really helped me grow in

joyfulness. His genuine, pervasive joy in God is infectious and encourages me to strive for the same thing.

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Hilary Anderson How would you define joy? Joy is the happiness I feel inside when I am with my family or sitting in

Church knowing that God is watching over us. Joy is also teaching 7 year olds every day for many years and seeing them grow up to be successful adults like you!

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? To achieve happiness in my life I wake up every morning and thank God for the new day I am about to take on. If I am depressed or stressed I say a prayer and sit outside or in Church and think of all the good thing and

people in my life. I am also happy when I can contribute donations to the poor, especially by providing for the local food pantry and contributing gifts to Church at Christmas for the poor children of my parish.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? My students and friends are the source of my happiness and my parents

and relatives have taught me happiness by the way they lived their lives.

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Joy is something spontaneous that occurs. It is part of what makes it so special. 55


Katie Horiuchi How would you define joy? Joy is the heart’s awareness of being loved.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? Achieving happiness is pretty simple as happiness can be had as a result

of external experiences. I can get temporary happiness out of many things; hanging out with friends, doing my art, reading a good book, eating ice

cream, driving too fast with my hand out of the window, etc. But I think that temporary is the key word here as these moments of happiness are easily dissolved by negative events.

Joy is a little more complicated but I think more lasting. Joy as I said is the heart’s knowledge or awareness of being loved. One cannot attain it in

sensory pleasures and one is not intrinsically deserving of it. The only way we can know joy in an earthly sense is when we choose to love someone and they freely choose to love us back.

Nevertheless our “joy” at this point is still temporary as it is attached

to that other person’s will to love us. If they cease to love us our hearts

experience sorrow. The only way to be sure that you will always be joyful is to always be sure that you are loved and will be for the rest of eternity. The only love that you can be sure of lasting an eternity is a love that is

unchanging, everlasting, in other words by having the love of an eternal

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God. Only by having this knowledge can someone be joyful when even the greatest catastrophes befall them.

So in answer to this question, when I am depressed or stressed I stop, say

a prayer, breathe, and remember that no matter what, God loves me so

everything will be ok. Sometimes when I am really struggling I read my

spiritual books that remind me and encourage me to never loose hope; that an all-powerful God loves me. That assurance is what makes me want to

laugh when things couldn’t get any worse, to sing when I feel lonely, and to dance in the rain when I wanted sunshine.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? Definitely having a faith! My parents raised me Roman Catholic and sent me to a Catholic high school. Those things didn’t give me my faith but

they did lead me to it. Later in my life, I began to want to advance in my spiritual life so I started to read more and attend adoration of the Holy

Eucharist at my church. I think then I always thought that happiness and

joy were one and the same thing. I had always been an optimistic outgoing person and finding happiness had always come easily to me.

Following high school I had my first “serious” relationship and like many firsts it ended with me being brokenhearted. For three months I couldn’t seem to pull myself up out of this terrible depression. I tried to do all of

the things that had previously served to make me happy. I would hang out 58


Joy is the heart’s awareness of being loved.

with friends all the time, I would party, I would shop, I would listen to my

favorite music but nothing gave me that feeling of joy and peace where you know that everything is okay.

One night I was so miserable and so lost in my sadness and I decided to

try and find a spiritual book that comforts me. The book that I picked out that night was called “Way to Inner Peace” by Fulton Sheen in which the

author states that true joy and peace can only be found in loving God and in knowing that you are loved by Him in return; because the love of God

will never fail. Therefore you will always have cause for joy. That chapter

changed my life; and I have continued to practice what I learned that night. 59


Katie Strylowski How would you define joy? Happiness that is independent from circumstances. While happiness is

often triggered by something - sunny skies, good grades, and true love - joy is independent from variables. Joy - true joy - is based on a constant - the constant. Joy is based on God and is unchanging as He is unchanging.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? Prayer, reading scripture, taking time to appreciate every little bit of life I run across, remembering that “this too shall pass�.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? My mother, the Bible, and being an artist (learning to draw, learning to see).

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Joy is based on God and is unchanging as He is unchanging.

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Molly Mullery How would you define joy? Joy: a sort of happiness that runs deeper than circumstances, that wells up

from a surety of God’s goodness and love, that is a constant despite feelings of sadness.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? The two primary things I do are listen to good music and read the Bible.

I find I am emotionally affected by whatever music I listen to, and while heavy rock might be appropriate in some situations, it only drives me

further into the hole when I’m already depressed. Something with a happy tone can lighten my mood and clear my mental clouds, so to speak. The

Bible, though, is where I truly find joy. Psalm 16 says that in the presence

of God there is “fullness of joy” and when I read his words, I find my soul lightened and whatever is causing my distress lifted.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? Honestly it was the hard times that helped me to find joy. Years of painful illness spiraled me into depression in late high school/early college, as

happiness was harder to find. Through those years I learned the difference

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Honestly it was the hard times that helped me to find joy.

between being happy and being joyful, that while happiness was near impossible when in pain, joy was not. Happiness may require outside circumstances, but joy is a state of being.

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Scott Jemielity How would you define joy? Joy is something deep and true to each person alive. I believe that everyone has experienced some form of joy in their lives at one point or another, be

it through people they have known, or belief in something spiritual. I think that joy, at its core, is a love of life and all that it encompasses.

What do you do to achieve happiness/joy in your life? How about when you are feeling depressed or stressed? I am the most joyful in life when I am bringing other people joy. I am an

extremely lighthearted person, so I like to joke with people, talk with them about anything, or even just smile at them to bring them a bit of a better

day. I think a little bit of care can make a world of difference with people, and I like to help that cause. I am also a firm believer in God, and I think that knowledge of Him can be the deepest and truest form of joy there could ever possibly be.

Based on how you achieve joy, what influences in your life have helped you to have this ability to create joy? I have been lucky enough to have some really great role models throughout my life, and I attribute much of my knowledge of God and love of life to

them. Based on these people’s examples, I have been formed into who I am

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Joy, at its core, is a love of life and all that it encompasses.

today, and I am very blessed to have them in my life. As a result of the love, happiness, and joy I have been shown in my life, I am propelled forward

every day with a resolve to brighten the lives of everyone that I encounter. 65


Conclusion I have learned so much about people and joy throughout this book. Additionally, I have learned how people deal with their stress and problems in life, and how joy impacts those decisions as well.

Some people are happy through specific actions that they do, while others find joy in their friends and family. Still others find joy simply when their lives are not horrible, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are many people who find a deep sense of joy through life itself.

Throughout this all, I stand by what I said in my earlier statement. I find

joy in my own life through making other people feel special and important. I am the type of person who enjoys lifting other people up and making them understand their worth.

At the core of all of this, I believe that joy is something that is necessary to life, and everyone knows it and needs it in one way or another. Everyone

understands joy differently, but it has an impact on everyone, and it shapes the world that we know and live in every day.

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This single volume was designed and hand bound by Scott Jemielity. All images found in this book were photographed by Scott Jemielity using a Nikon D300s digital SLR camera and a 50mm Nikkor lens.

The text is set in 11 pt Palatino with Quaver Sans for display. Numerals used on chapter openers are also Palatino.

Printed on a digital press in the spring of 2012. Designed and bound at George Mason University, Fairfax,Virginia.


APC

Auditore Publishing Company

The Joy of LIfe  

senior book

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