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I Wanna Be Joyful...

Jun 06, 2022

Friday night – I was practicing to plan my day ahead of time. As I was trying to come up with things to do with the kids, I came across a school email message about a car wash event on Saturday at the middle school. There was a suggested $10 donation per car, and all the proceeds would go to the Relay For Life Movement for the American Cancer Society.

What a great idea! I didn’t remember when the last time my car was washed. In fact, one of my staff members once teased me that she would write “wash me now” on my car. I decided to drive to the middle school at 9 am, just when the car wash was starting. That way, I would beat the potential crowd and have ample time to spare before my coaching session at 10 am.

The rest of the day was roughly planned. I would prepare lunch for my kids before driving them to their swim meet. After that, we would have dinner as a family and relax. Between work and everyone’s activities, we usually don’t get to have dinner together during the week.

Saturday. I got to sleep in and woke up at 7:30 am (as opposed to 6:15 am during the week). That was definitely a win for me. By the time I washed up and went to the kitchen, my daughter had already eaten her breakfast. I then made sure my younger son ate something.

I announced to them that we were going to the middle school car wash. My son asked, “Why are we going? Do we have to go?” I answered, “I would like to go. We get to have my car washed and it is for a good cause. Besides, it won’t take long.” That was also my excuse to get them away from their electronic devices at least for a little bit.

Time came to drive to the middle school parking lot. As we approached the designated parking lot, We saw a big hand-written sign that read “CAR WASH” with an arrow pointing toward the direction we were supposed to go. At the first stop, we were greeted by the principal of the middle school, thanking us for supporting them. Then some volunteers, both students and teachers, started to hose our car down. Then we were directed to go forward to the second stop. Another set of volunteers were ready to soak our car’s surface with plenty of soap water. A few minutes later, we headed to the third station, where the car was hosed down again. Then, at the last stop, volunteers dried our car.

During the car washing process, my kids and I were relaxing in the car, watching the cleaning process and admiring the volunteers. We were thankful for them. We were thankful for the beautiful sunny day, with temperature in the 70s.

Fast forward to lunch time. I usually have some kind of talk with them before any swim meet. They are not the elite type of swimmers with amazingly fast times. That used to bother me because I was comparing them to the fastest kids in their swimming club. Instead, I focused on my kids. I encouraged them to do their best, to be fully committed in what they do, and to be better than before. I also told them to get out of their own way. I emphasized for them to focus on how much they have accomplished and how far they have come.

I was thankful that even though both kids competed in different age groups, both of their meets were at the same time (at 2 different pools but at the same aquatic center). I chose to volunteer at my daughter’s meet so I could get glimpses of her up close. I actually enjoyed being a timer for swim meets. I get to stay alert and practice my reaction times.

Both children improved, finishing all their events faster than before. Even though they didn’t get any medals, I was so proud of them. Maybe my pep talk worked. It is mostly how you manage your mind to get things done.

On the way home, I asked my kids what went well. I started this practice of talking about what went well with them after reading The Gap and The Gain. How interesting it is that, without prompting, both of them only came up with “I finished with faster times”. With some prompting questions, they came up with, “I did not circle swim”, “I used a whole bunch of effort”, “I jumped off the block even though there was a speaker malfunction and part of the ‘take your marks’ announcement was cut off”.  I was even more proud of them that they were able to come up with their wins of the day.

That night, we got to have dinner as a family. We ate one of our favorites, sushi. Another win for the day! Then my son decided he wanted to watch the movie “Sonic 2”. It is a semi-animated movie based on the video game, Sonic the Hedgehog. I decided to join the movie night at the comfort of our living room. The movie was fun, loving, family friendly and had a happy ending. That is exactly my kind of movie. I enjoy movies which are fun and light-hearted. Just like in real life.

Saturday was a joyful day. I decided in advance that I wanted to be joyful, and I wanted to spend with my family. Counting all the wins, reflecting on what went well certainly help put my mind in abundance and gratitude. I am going to make every day a joyful day. Even though there will be challenging times and there will be unpleasant things, I will always be reminded to count my blessing, to recall and rejoice what went well that day. That way, I will sleep better at night, feel more rested, and be prepared for another joyful day on earth.

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