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Mom Tried To Tell Me This 25 Years Ago


Several years ago, I was in a personal development course, where I heard something that seemed so outlandish that I dismissed it. What I heard was that one of our purposes for being on Earth was to learn how to have fun.

It seemed so frivolous, so unserious, so…not me.

It was like the Tina Turner line, “What’s love got to do with it?”  Only it was, “What’s fun got to do with it?”

Almost 25 years ago, I was in a personal development course in Southern California. I decided to take my mom. We roomed together. My friends in the course loved my mom, especially after she taught them a bit of qi gong.

In one of the exercises, we were given a set of cards, which showed different “callings” that people might have. The idea was to sort through the cards, to find what resonated as one or two or three of your callings. I had several callings. I have forgotten all of them. My mom picked out one card and only one card, on which was written the words, “Bringing Joy”.

I knew that my mom liked to give gifts, but I don’t think I fully understood what this meant for her.

Now, I am at the age where my time is no longer consumed with raising kids or making a living or taking care of elderly parents. What do I do with my time? I have been having fun and creating joy. I relish baking special treats for birthdays and Valentine’s Day and Easter. I like surprising someone with an unexpected package in the mail or a plant delivered to their doorstep. I putter in the mornings, rearranging flowers in different vases and adding new greenery. I clap loudly and pump my fist during a basketball matchup between the LadyHawks (University of Iowa women’s basketball team) and a worthy opponent.  It’s fun. It brings me joy.

It took me awhile to arrive here. My mom, who died in 2021, would be happy for me. She always wanted me to relax more, to have more fun, to be more joyful.

I get it now, Mom. Thanks.


  1. Loretta Huff on March 10, 2024 at 9:02 PM

    In my large family, we all fell into roles. I had two that were very clear: climb on the roof to clean out the gutters when I visited and be the one my mom called when she needed to be cheered up. She taught me many things about joy. Getting lost is a way to meet new people. Laughter will get you through many struggles, even my Dad’s course with Alzheimer’s disease. Sing your favorite songs every day “I’ll be down to getcha in a taxi, honey. Better be ready about half past eight.” Be kind to someone today.

    • Carol Ross on March 10, 2024 at 10:36 PM

      I love the idea that getting lost is a way to meet new people! Thanks for that.

      Laughter, singing, kindness. It sounds like your mother knew a lot about joy.

  2. Dotty on March 11, 2024 at 11:24 AM

    Over the past 90 days or so, I have developed the habit of inner child journaling – specifically to reconnect to having fun, just for the sake of fun… I have a few things that bring me joy…
    Dance breaks in the middle of the day; tickle time with my great niece, snuggling on the couch with either my hubby or my 24 year old daughter, making cookies with my eldest sister who likely will follow my mom and die WAY TOO EARLY…

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