Journey to Joy

On November 25th 2009 my life took a radical turn. I turned 40, had a party, and went to Vegas for the weekend. I covered all the typical celebrations and fun. But more importantly my 40th birthday marked my last day at my job. I boldly left steady employment and started my business…the first step on my road to Joy Coaching. I thought it was quite a poetic move.

So yes I turned the big 4-0 last year. As did Jennifer Aniston and Gwen Stefani. For some reason the importance of this event has hit me in the last few weeks. I realized the journey I have taken over the past decade. So let me indulge in a trip down memory lane…which I am calling my Journey to Joy!

A decade ago, I was so happy to turn 30 because I wanted to leave my 20s behind and not look back. My late 20s were defined by my divorce which turned my world upside down. As I was trying to figure out how to get through each day, I clearly had a thought in my head that everything will be ok. Wasn’t sure how or when but I knew that for sure.

I must admit that my sister and my mom played a huge factor in helping me know this for sure.

So I held on to that thought and moved forward. And now things are so much more than ok. I love the life I have created for myself and the people who surround me.

I thought I would look back at a few of the highlights on my journey.

I was engaged at 18 and married by the time I was 23 years old. So I had spent my adult life as a girlfriend, fiancée and wife. Suddenly I was a single woman and one of the greatest gifts I gave myself was to create a circle of girlfriends. As you know from my other blog posts, my friends bring me so much happiness. And in my 30s they really were my lifeline. The experiences, travels and laughs we had together filled me up.

I entered my early 30s tired and overweight. Too much time was spent at work and I was not looking after myself. So I joined a gym. This may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but for me this took a huge leap of faith and I was terrified. But much to my surprise I liked working out. Within a year I had a personal trainer who helped me see that I was strong and could do anything. I went from someone who would lie to get out of gym class to someone would pay a trainer to kick my butt.

My next step to fitness was joining the Running Room. I started in Learn to Run and was again terrified. By the end of Learn to Run I had completed my first 5k and made three awesome friends. I went on to do many 5ks and even a10k race. And to meet many more amazing people. Because I was never athletic as a child, I used to be in awe of “those people” who ran. Suddenly I was one of those people and could truly say “I am an athlete.” What a joy to discover that in my 30s.  

Soon my new confidence and energy made me want to plunge back into the dating world. Well maybe plunge is overstating it! I realized that the last time I dated was in high school, when finding single boys was a bit easier. My career as a fundraiser was very rewarding, but did not put me in the path of many available men. So I joined a dating service. This was so terrifying to me that I almost had a panic attack the night of my first date. When I got there and my date raised his glass for a toast it took all my focus to get my shaky hand up to clink his glass. But I soon realized that yes I did know how to talk, drink and eat…so I had enough skills to go on dates. I wish I could say I went on many joyful dates. Sadly I did not, but as Amy famously stated in Little Women, “You don’t need scores of suitors. You only need one…if he is the right one.” And I found my right one!

So girlfriends, workouts, running and dating all helped me journey to joy!

What has moved you to joy?

© 2010 – 2011, Janice Cunning. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this posting if you include my contact information. Please contact me if you wish to reprint any portion of it in any periodical or on a website

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About Janice Cunning

As a certified coach and fundraiser, I am passionate about partnering with people and teams to increase their personal and professional Joy Quota.


  1. So what has moved me to joy?

    I must say you have been an inspiration. I watched as you transformed your life, making conscious decisions about what you wanted and went for it. From that I took that I could allow myself to look truthfully at my life and decide what I wanted for my future and make those steps. I must say that on that journey, having friends that stood by me and kicked me in the butt when needed has helped.

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