The greatest gift that France has ever given me is an appreciation for joy, or as they call it, joie de vivre. I don’t think that enough people allow themselves to experience joy. Joy is not often discussed in daily conversation, and I don’t often use the adjective joyful to describe someone. In fact, it wasn’t until I lived in France that I learned that I actually deserve joy and that I don’t have to buy into the American guilt-based mentality of living.
Joie de vivre is exactly how it translates — it is the art of living joyfully. Simply put, this means that you love everything you do in life. Whatever it is that makes you marvel, do that thing. You won’t win the lottery unless you buy a lottery ticket. You won’t live a happy life unless you pursue the things in life that make you happy. It’s pretty simple, this joie de vivre thing.
The French will gladly tell you that joie de vivre is THE secret to living. It is the secret to their thinness, to their ability to vacation more than they work, and their slow, savory pace of living. If you want more joie and unadultered happiness in your life, then define what it is in life that makes you most happy. If you don’t know what it is that makes you marvel, figure it out. Explore yourself and explore the world, for it is not until you do that you will figure out what it is that truly makes you come most alive.