Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Disappearing Nine Patch: Color and Design

50 Things that Bring Me Joy: A List

On one of the Facebook groups I belong to (it’s called Skirt Sports Women Who Move if you’re interested), we are doing some reset-your-life kind of exercises. Last week’s was to write a list of 50 things you love right now. Specifically, “50 things that bring you joy.” I thought about this all last week but didn’t sit down to write them because I had a nagging thought: anyone who knows me already knows what I love because I talk about it all. the. time. I worry a lot that people must think I’m weird, a grown-ass woman who shares way too much on social media. But I keep doing it because…well, it is a thing that brings me a type of happiness. I don’t have a ton of skin friends (the term I use for friends I know in person as opposed to friends I have never met outside of the Internet) so the people I’ve befriended online help me feel….well, it always comes back to what Luna said in The Order of the Phoenix: “it’s like having friends.”

(Having met a few of my online friends in the real world, I know it’s not even “like,” it is. Real friends.)

At any rate, my psyche just wouldn’t let me write my list until I wrote this first, so I could silence those “you’re so weird” voices for a minute.

Shhhhh. I’m thinking about happiness.

  1. Morning hot beverage ritual with Kendell.
  2. My white “feminist” mug and Kendell’s black “Papa Bear” mug.
  3. Driving Kaleb to school in the mornings.
  4. My recent newly-found ability to get out of bed and go to the gym before 6:00. (one of the ONLY good things about perimenopause.)
  5. Ballet barre classes…specifically the deep-down noodle leg feeling it gives me.
  6. Wearing my brightest, floweriest capris and/or tanks to ballet barre classes, partly because I love them, partly because everyone else wears black.
  7. Hiking on snowy paths and the way the snow silences the world around you, except for the crunch of your feet in the otherwise-silent snow. 20200112_132641 rock canyon 6x8
  8. The feel of spikes crunching into the ice underneath the snow on a snowy trail.
  9. Pretty wool socks. I wear them all year, but admittedly in the summer only inside.
  10. Black and white floral or paisley prints. On anything.
  11. My new purse. Not so much for the purse itself (I like it but it tips over all the time) but because Kendell pushed me into getting it.
  12. Every single text I get from Nathan, and just the fact that he CAN text now. (Boot camp silence was hard on this momma.)
  13. Austin sending me pictures of Haley, and me sending him pictures back of her when she was little.
  14. That Haley & Austin found each other. They seem good for each other and most importantly she seems happy.
  15. When Kaleb comes and talks to me. He’s in a taciturn, stoic phase so this doesn’t happen often, but when he does hang out and talk, he’s just…he’s just awesome, smart and thoughtful and spunky and just him.
  16. Photos of wildflowers. In winter the world is nearly colorless and I am starting to feel starved for color. I love looking at photos from our spring and summer hikes so I can remember that color, and especially flowers, will come back into the world.
  17. Reading a book I love and don’t want to put down.
  18. Reading a book that speaks to me, so I have to go find a pen to start underlining and commenting, or if it’s a library book I have to go order my own copy so I can start underlining and commenting.
  19. Reading poetry, especially when I find a poem that helps me understand something I couldn’t put into words before the poem.
  20. Flannel sheets.
  21. Flannel pajamas.
  22. Talking with Jake. He has some great insights and interpretations of the world.
  23. Messaging with Becky and Suzette. Mom’s last illness and her death drew us so much closer.
  24. My silver bead necklace. It’s the jewelry I wear most often and has so many good associations it’s like a wreath of happy memories banging on my sternum.
  25. Wearing my mom’s turquoise bracelet. I wish I knew if there is a story to go along with it. Where did she even get it? Did she love it or was it just a random piece? I don’t, though, so I guess I will have to make my own stories while wearing it.
  26. All of my post cards from art museums hanging on the wall in my crafty space.
  27. Perfect corners when I’m binding a quilt. Not necessarily that they’re perfect, really, but the way it feels when that 90° just works.
  28. Looking at old pictures. Kayci found some when she was visiting last week that broke my heart and lifted me up all at once. But also photos of the kids. I’m grateful for every single one of them.
  29. My new cell phone case. The new cell phone is nice, too, of course, but the photos aren’t as amazing as I thought they’d be. (They’re still cell phone pics.) But I love my aqua and white case!
  30. Watching Kaleb’s body language when he makes a bucket in a basketball game. Also how happy his new basketball shoes make him.
  31. Having a protein of some sort prepared and frozen, so making dinner is so much easier.
  32. When everyone’s home and we can eat dinner together at the kitchen table.
  33. Baking: cookies, bread, biscuits. I’m trying to love this less because I know sugar + white carbs aren’t good for me. But I love the actual process of baking as much as I love my chocolate chip cookies.
  34. On Instagram, FB, or my blog.
  35. Email from friends (instead of just endless ads.)
  36. Thinking about where our next travels might take us.
  37. Wednesday nights, about 7:45-9:00. I’m working at the library and usually it has quieted down; it’s dark out and that is when I feel most focused and productive and loving of my job.
  38. Talking with my library friends. Librarians are a unique breed (and for me, “librarian” really has not much to do with what your college degree is in); while we are wildly different we also have this similar thing that I haven’t quite named yet, a way of looking at the world that is informed by so much reading. I’m so grateful to have so many kindred spirits.
  39. A handful of almonds. It is my go-to fast snack so I don’t always notice, but sometimes I do: the flavor, the crunch. It’s tied to eating the insides of peach pits, and so summer and so my childhood and so almonds make me feel a sunny sort of happiness.
  40. Speaking of nuts: when I am snacking on a few from my bag of mixed nuts during a hike and I get to a pistachio. A little, meaty-sweet bit of salty perfection.
  41. Drinking a zipp fizz with Kendell at the top of mountain.
  42. That feeling when there is only about ten minutes left of your run and you’re both relieved it’s almost over and sad it’s almost over. The thought of getting home and stretching gives me a little burst of energy to push on through whatever tiredness I might be feeling.
  43. Stretching after a run. My favorite is stretching outside and I can’t really do that right now, but stretching in my front room is still lovely.
  44. Puffy stickers, especially of the squishy variety. I haven’t done much scrapbooking over the past year but it is still a hobby I will never give up. (I woke up just this morning with an idea for a layout!)
  45. Script fonts. I especially like them on book covers.
  46. Getting packages. It is so exciting to spot it on the porch, bring it inside, and open it. Doesn’t matter what is in the package: new Skirts, a book, scrapbook supplies, fabric, clothes. I wait until no one’s around and make a little ritual of opening and going through what I bought. Is it the most emotionally healthy thing? Probably not. Do I need anything new? Absolutely not. But a package still makes me happy.
  47. The clean, decluttered, simplified feeling of a house in January.
  48. The new kitchen paint. Kendell did a great job and I love the grey we chose. (Now to finish the ceiling, stair wall, hall, and front room. Painting does not bring me joy.)
  49. My creative space. I write, blog, scrapbook, quilt, and dream in here. I know it is a luxury to have an entire room dedicated to doing stuff I love, so I am grateful I get it.

I’m challenging you: If you read this, try to write your own list of 50 things that bring you joy. You might find, like I did, that it’s both harder and easier than you think. I tried to make mine really specific to right now, the middle of January at the start of a new decade, when I am 47 years old and it’s just barely snowing outside. Share with me if you do!



Loved your list, but I especially related to #38. So, so true! I work in a library, and you are absolutely correct in saying that we are a unique breed :)

Keely Boley

Amy, I love lists like this. I hope you plan to scrapbook it.

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