This month I am contemplating whimsical reinvention.

When life gets difficult, one option is making different choices with a light heart. It’s the lightness that’s the challenge.

I recently searched the web for “how to add whimsy to your life.” Results were fun to read. More flowers! Nonsense poetry! Fun music! Bright colors! All suggestions I adore.

Psychology nerd that I am, I was particularly taken with a 2018 study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Participants who ate popcorn using chopsticks reported enjoying it much more than those who ate it in the traditional “finger food” way. Imagining a roomful of participants giggling over their chopsticks skills, I suspect it may involve being goofy in a group.

My life is a rolling example of reinvention, from the fleximug mounted on my wheelchair, past the foam-covered plastic school tray that keeps me upright in the chair, to the bungee cord on my feet that keeps my legs from spasming off the footrest. These are all solutions to illness-imposed problems (mostly suggested and implemented by my creative, pragmatic husband.)

As changes need to be made, why not invite myself to do it with a sense of humor? Adding joy increases my energy and makes life more fun.

In my experience, there is a middle step between problem and solution that can’t be skipped. That is mourning what’s lost. Allowing myself to be sad about what I can’t have or be or do. Breathe in. Breathe out. Feel the heaviness in my chest, the prickle behind my eyes, the wrinkles in my forehead. Breathe. Be patient. Be gentle.

As much as I might like to jump to a solution, lightness of spirit depends on slogging through the mud of difficult emotions first. It may not be a “one and done” situation. I may have to cycle through grief and lightness several times before I can “dwell in the valley of love and delight.”

Whimsy is worth the wait.

In your journal:

  • How might you add whimsy to your life?
  • What challenges are you facing right now?
  • How does grief feel in your body?
  • Can you skip to the good stuff?
  • Draw whimsy.