Yesterday I went down to the waterfront boardwalk near my house on the most beautiful summer day we’ve had so far this year. The water and sky were melting into each other in the world’s most perfect blue, the trees looked fresh, the grass was lush, the breeze was lovely. I didn’t mean to spend as much time down there as I did, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave. I took my sandals off and paddled my feet in the water, had a moment with a swan, and found a picnic table where I could read my book.
After reading Ingrid Fetell Lee’s wonderful book Joyful, I started following both her business and personal account on Instagram. It’s fascinating to see how much she tries to practice what she’s learned about joy and how she brings it into her daily life in ways big and small. It’s inspiring me, and also giving me ‘permission’ to seek simple joys in any way I can.
Because is it weird to say that I think I’ve avoided joy in recent years? Dismissed it as something I don’t need a lot of, settled for less, told myself I’m okay with muted colours and less festivity? The truth is that as we get older, I think we’re told to focus less on “frivolous things” like popsicles and swing sets and rainbows. What I love about Fetell Lee’s approach is that she makes the case that joy is not frivolous. It is essential to our wellbeing.
Inspired by my afternoon yesterday, I decided to make a list of easy joys. I’ll be adding to this list, but here’s a start:
- Swimming, especially outside
- Walking on a beach in bare feet
- Reading while taking notes outside
- Having my nails painted a bright colour
- Fresh flowers in the house
- Sending & receiving snail mail
- Browsing at the library
- Going out for ice cream cones
- Wearing colourful clothes
- Playing with dogs or cats
- Having a picnic
- Eating cherry tomatoes off the vine