Get a Daily Dose of “Vitamin Joy”

Sunday morning, San Miguel de Allende.

From a dead sleep, the cacophony of clapping, singing, and unusual musical instruments wakes me out of a deep sleep…

“It’s really close!” I think to myself.

I amble down the stairs in the direction of the sounds, they get louder, in fact they seem to be just outside my front door.

I had arrived home the night before, after a long week of both business and fun, into a thunderstorm-ish airport.

Delayed flight, delayed luggage, slower-than-usual customs clearance…

When I travel, it reminds me of my life before discovering a portable income…the need to be on time…all my stuff packed just right…my papers in order.

It was 1 a.m. by the time I dragged my luggage through the door…ready for bed.

Now the sounds outside are getting louder and more festive.

I grab my smart phone, confident in the knowledge that this kind of “noise” always presents wonderful photo moments.

Cracking the door, still half asleep, I’m greeted by a wild and colorful group of papier maché heads bobbing down the street. It could be the basis for a bad nightmare, but in this case I was drawn into the joy, whimsy, and pure, un-adulterated fun that seemed to stretch a block or two up the street.

For the next 20 minutes I was treated to the best “wake me up” in recent memory…better than my favorite Guatemalan coffee!

There were the papier maché heads, which are legendary in this area as an essential part of almost every celebration. Then there was the semi-organized dance routine punctuated with occasional, crowd-pleasing solos.

Whole families from the neighborhood joined in the fun, kids in slippers, parents in pajamas, walking among the papier maché heads, joyfully dancing and singing along and the crowd’s gleeful relish of just about any sound that came out of a musical instrument.

When the last of the “parade” passed my door I had a few “capture the moment” photos and a contagious feeling of joy.

(I’m still not sure what we were celebrating!)

As I finally settled in to my first cup of coffee I sat down with a smile on my face and started making my to-do list…an article to write, a presentation to finish, a few emails to answer…two to three hours of what I used to call work now seems more like fun…a little easier to tackle and part of the natural ebb and flow.

Now that I’ve had my coffee and my daily dose of “joy” vitamins the day seems brighter, the air seems fresher, and I reflect on how different my life is today.

Seven years after going “portable,” I’m glad I live in a culture that provides endless doses of Vitamin Joy.

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