“No matter what adulthood looks like for you, JOY is inside of you. So you needn’t learn how to feel joy, you just have to remember how to access it again.”

Episode 228

How to Find Your Joy as an Adult

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Hello, Gorgeous Soul.

A few weeks ago in my instagram stories, I asked Calm AF listeners to submit questions they’d love for me to talk about on the podcast.

In today’s episode I’m answering this question: When figuring out what brings you joy, like hobbies, how do you go about that as an adult?

I LOVE this question so much because I think it’s INCREDIBLY common the older we get to kind of lose touch with our JOY.

Our society has super tight rules around what a successful life is AND what you have to DO, who you need to BE in order to be successful.

The information we’ve been fed is that in order to be successful you have to WORK HARD, you have to be constantly in action mode. We’ve learned that the secret to success is hard work, discipline, structure, smart goals, achieving, climbing the corporate ladder, the social ladder, the worthy ladder.

We learn that SAFETY is the byproduct of SUCCESS.

And your brain’s PRIMARY role is to keep you safe.

So? You learn quickly that following these arbitrary rules of success are more important than anything.

More important than rest.

More important than self care.

And DEFINITELY more important than the JOY and FUN.

Joy and fun, according to our societal success story, is frivolous and really ONLY acceptable once ALL the work is done, all the responsible serious things are taken care of.

The problem is: there’s always something else, isn’t there?

The to-do list is NEVER done, there is always always something else you could do, right?

Which means you never really get around to the joy.

And when you’ve lived 30 40 50 60 years believing that how PRODUCTIVE you are is equivalent to how WORTHY you are, after postponing joy for most if not all of your adult life, it’s going to feel WAY WAY out of reach.

The reason why it’s hard to access JOY, to remember what JOY feels like in your body, to align with JOY is because you’ve filed it in your brain filing cabinet as FRIVOLOUS, unimportant, and always for later.

And then something happens.

The constant pushing past your breaking point, and punishing yourself and putting productivity ahead of everything else starts to feel like you’re actually just running on a hamster wheel.

Every time you think you’re getting closer to that societal definition of success, there’s something else that shows up and tells you NOPE.

“Not yet. You have not done enough.”

You realize that fun and joy is never going to be earned because there will ALWAYS be more.

And once you see that, you can’t unsee it.

So you decide you’re gonna do it differently.

You’re gonna prioritize rest and fun and self care and joy.

It feels like a full body yes, YES I know that allowing myself to feel JOY is not something I need to earn.

Here’s the thing; When you ask yourself at the end of your life what made you so successful you know what is NOT going to make the top 10 list? How you sacrificed your joy for a clean house. How you chose WORK over laughter, connection, LOVE.

I REALLY hope you are hearing this. I am so tired of people coming to this truth ONLY when they are faced with mortality, their own or someone else’s.

LISTEN. You are going to die someday. And you do NOT know when that day is going to be. How about instead of RUSHING to live a life that feels WONDERFUL to you after you’ve gotten sick or lost a person..how about you just choose now?

How about you trust me that what you will learn when something turns your entire life upside down so that you can ONLY see what really matters in life because you suddenly have no capacity for the bullshit about what society tells you matters is that LOVE AND JOY are the MAIN CHARACTERS in a successful life.

They are not frivolous. They are the FOUNDATION.


It feels like a full body yes… I’m DOING it. I’m prioritizing joy.

So you’re like OK…let’s do it.

TODAY I am going to experience joy by…..

Let’s see…..

Joy, joy, joy.

Things that make me feel happy, joy….

I know it’s in here somewhere.

Hobbies??? Anything???


This is normal.

Remember it’s filed in the FOR LATER file in your brain because it felt less important.

It IS inside of you, though, you don’t have to learn how to feel joy, you just have to remember how to access it again.

So How DO you reconnect with who you really are, find activities that reconnect you to your JOY as an adult?

First, think about when you felt the happiest as a child?

What activities or experiences did you seek out that made you feel free, joyful?

Did you love doing arts and crafts or swimming or being out in the woods?

If you had a full day to do whatever you wanted? What would you do?

Play with your friends? Read as many books as you can? Explore?

I remember when my kids were probably 6 or 7 or something I brought them to my friend’s house the plan was to take them to the park. So, I brought the kids bikes and I just assumed that they would ride and we would walk….that’s always what we did at home. I just hadn’t ever had a bike as an adult, didn’t really think anything of it.

SO when we were getting ready to go, my friend was like “Oh we can ride bikes too…you can just use my husband’s”. And I was like “yeah sure”

So we start riding and I was INSTANTLY reconnected to JOY. The JOY of all of use neighbor kids riding our bikes up and down the dead end. Just riding and laughing and then dropping our bikes at someone’s house to go play whiffle ball. Then taking our bikes to the pond and throwing rocks or looking for turtles.

When it was just me, none of the neighbors were out, I’d play bus driver. Little known fact, when I was little for many years when anyone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up the answer was either a doctor or a bus driver. The JOY of using my imagination, stopping at every driveway to pick up the students on my bus route.

I wasn’t searching out JOY the day my friend and I got on the bike, but it was this INSTANT reconnection…to OH YEAH…this feels like joy.

Now what probably is going to happen when you’re looking back to childhood you might be like “Yeah, I can’t do that anymore” or I don’t have time for that anymore” or whatever excuse your protective brain offers.

Don’t listen. If you would color for hours, get a coloring book and color. It doesn’t have to be for hours.

Second, look for the simple joys. Instead of needing to find a hobby and buying all the equipment or signing up for the classes, start with simple joys. Laughing, listening to or making music, being present in an undistracted situation with people you genuinely enjoy.

A few summers ago, Dave, Emily, Parker and I went white water rafting. Now listen, white water rafting isn’t going to be my hobby but the JOY I felt while we were out on the river was so strong that I literally shouted “I am feeling so much JOY right now”. Like a fucking nerd.

And listen the rafting was super fun, the joy was coming from being PRESENT and undistracted and having FUN, laughing and screaming and being really TOGETHER.

Being present, quality time with people you love who LOVE AND ACCEPT YOU, connection – THOSE are simple ways to start remembering what joy feels like in your body.

Third, ask for signs.

Tell the Universe that you are READY to reconnect with joy, that you are currently prioritizing FUN and that you are open and available for ideas.

And then just be curious as to what shows up. You’ll be shocked how all of a sudden you start hearing about these interesting activities. And they all might not be winners, but they WILL be clues. So make sure every time the universe shows up you say THANKS! It’s always bringing

Fourth, permission to not have a hobby – at least in the way you’re thinking about it.

In the same way that we talked about redefining success, I need you to start changing what you think of when you think of a hobby.

When Dave and I first started dating, he had a very specific hobby. He played the saxophone. It was a thing that brought him joy that he did regularly.

I remember thinking “He has a thing. I should have a thing. Why don’t I have a thing?”

I remember being like “I mean I like reading magazines, but that’s not a hobby”

I love going to the bookstore and finding some random topic that interests me and going down rabbit holes.

I like going out to dinner a lot.

But those aren’t hobbies.

Cooking? THAT’S a hobby.

Going out for dinner? NOT a hobby.

I found myself being really judgmental that I didn’t have like a specific hobby, like gardening or crafting or ANYTHING.

I’d get into things but ALWAYS lost interest.

Eventually I just had to let it go. And over the years I’ve really come to the conclusion that I think there are SPECIFIC hobby people and GENERAL hobby people.

And I am a general hobby person, which means I don’t have ONE thing.

My “things” are always changing. And that’s not wrong or bad, that’s just who I am.

I actually think there are WAY more general hobby people than specific hobby people, or at least in my experience I find that the people I meet OFTEN don’t have ONE thing.

And almost EVERYONE feels bad about it.

So fuck that.

General hobby people UNITE.

If you ask me what my hobbies are my answer will be depends on the week.

And what if – if that’s how you feel too – what if that was fine?

What if that was RIGHT for you?

What if thinking that you NEED a hobby wasn’t true? What if instead you could just find things that you enjoy and do them for as long as you want and then TRUST that when the interest is gone? Something else is on the way.

So, there we go.

How to reconnect to joy as an adult:

Remember what connecting to joy felt like as a child and add that back in OR find a way to recreate it.

Keep it super simple. Remembering that joy does’t have to come from a hobby for it to count.

Ask for signs and then EXPECT TO SEE THEM. Expect to see interesting ideas of things that might bring joy into your life.

And finally permission to let yourself experience joy in ANY and EVERY way that feels aligned for you. THAT can be your hobby, experiencing joy however the hell you want.

LOVE this question so much.

If there’s something you would like me to talk about on the podcast, make sure you send that to support@kristenfinch.com and if you want to take all the goodness from this podcast and start applying it to your life? Calm AF Life is where you want to be. You have SO much access directly to me PLUS the amazing gorgeous supportive community. Weekly coaching calls, monthly special topics (this month it’s how to take care of your body from a place of LOVE instead of punishment), I’m on the community page nearly every day to send support or answer questions. If you’ve ever wanted to work with me, to pick my brain or get coached or just be SEEN, loved and accepted for who you REALLY Are….calm af life.

– Kristen

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