I jumped in the hot tub.

As usual my day started with the alarm clock singing across the room. I consistently forget that the alarm I set on my iPhone is actually an alarm not a phone call, so I usually jump up and grab the phone and say hello to my alarm. It’s all very charming. The dog is usually scared, and possibly amused, by this routine. You would think that after a number of days I would figure out what the alarm sounds like. Maybe another day of Project Joy will be figuring out a joyful alarm ringtone.

Anyhow, after both me and the dog recovered from waking up I walked her to the back door to encouraged her to go outside. Sigh. This tiny, loving dog seems to be unwilling/unable to go outside alone. But it’s cold outside now in the fall morning and damnit, I don’t want to go out there with her! But after her lingering on the porch and looking at me with sad eyes, you all know when dogs do that it breaks your heart, I put on the puffy jacket and flip flops to follow her out to the backyard.

And on this grouchy morning, where I was still recovering from a lingering cold, I spied across the deck a rather attractive hot tub. It sat calmly on the corner of the deck with some frivolous grape vines crawling across the deck towards it seductively. It was as if the hot tub was saying, come to me, come to me, it is warm here, come to me (please sing the last part).

My grouchy morning eyes squinted and the thought passed through my mind, “I’d really like to get in that hot tub.”

“You don’t have time to get in that hot tub” Business Lindsay said. “You have to get the dog fed and get ready for work and get out the door in 45 minutes. Just go inside and get going” I chastised myself.

“No”, said a little voice inside. “My Joy Experiment is underway, so I can do whatever I damn well please thank you. I’m getting in that hot tub and I’m going to enjoy it. So there.”

I raced inside and put on my swimsuit and tied my hair in a knot right on top of my head, looking like a hospital escapee. I unclipped the straps on the hot tub cover and folded back the top half and leapt in with the youth of a 30 year old. I actually just turned 30 fairly recently, but I’ve been acting more like a 60 year old lately, so the fact that I could still leap quickly was quite a nice discovery. Ah. It is so nice to be in water 103 degrees when it’s chilly fall weather outside.

“Oh I love my life” I found myself thinking as the water moved around me.

“Well that’s odd, it was only a few days ago that you vowed your life was the worst and there was nothing worth living for,” my little know-it-all mind retorted.

Just then, my Fabulous Neighbor walked out the back door on the way to work and my dog started barking at her and jumping up on her stylish dress and brown high-heeled boots. “I’ve trained this dog so well” I thought.  My Fabulous Neighbor seemed a bit surprised to see me in the hot tub and I childishly looked up at her and said, “I decided to get in the hot tub.” I then proceeded to explain The Joy Experiment, and how when I have an idea that sounds fun, I’m obligated to actually do that fun idea. Because it’s an experiment, and I said I would do it. She said, “So the whole idea is that you do things that are fun, and you don’t do things that suck?” “Yes” I replied, and we both laughed.

We then proceeded to discuss her job and how she’s racing off to work to be there at 8 am because her boss wants her to be there for the sake of “optics” and it seemed like she wasn’t as dedicated lately because she shows up a little later than usual. She explained that she actually is quite happy with her actual work, and always takes on special projects and completes in 2 weeks what her colleagues take 6 weeks to do. The fact of the matter is, she kicks ass, get’s work done and doesn’t need to be tied at her desk all day to get it all done. We talked about how there really needs to be a shift in thinking around the way that organizations think about how employees ought to be managed. If you have a high performer, doesn’t it make sense to let them do their thing as long as the work is getting done with a high level of quality? If it makes their life better to arrive a bit later and get out of the office early because there work is complete, then what is the big deal? There is really something to be said about a real need for evolving our work culture to value quality work rather than minutes spent in a designated chair.

My Fabulous Neighbor said she had to get going, but informed me with a big grin that there was going to be a visible borealis over the SLC area for the first time in years. There was something so mischievous about the way that she said that, and I thought, there is a Joy Experiment moment right now. She is totally alive at the thought of seeing those colors light up the night sky right in her town. That is one of those moments that makes life worth living for.

And so, the Joy Experiment was off to a good start. And guess what, I even made it to work on time.