Be joyful, we proclaim to each other. But the truth is – if you’re anything like me – knowing what brings you joy gets harder and harder to pin down the older and busier you get. When I was a teenager and later in my twenties, my joy was always within arm’s reach: my besties, my favorite CD and headphones, weekend getaways to Palm Springs to get a tan. Joy was attainable because I knew my joy, intimately.
As I grew up, my responsibilities mounted, and with that, my joy slowly dissipated. The more I worked, the more I achieved, the more things I checked on my list, the less joyful I became. How can that be? Isn’t joy the reason we push so hard? If not for joy, then for what?
It turns out my joy was still there – I had just stopped being aware of it. Much like gratitude, if you don’t make joy a part of your daily practice, even when there are things that are sparking your joy, you won’t know it. Which is why I decided to start a Joy List in the Notes app on my phone. Now, anytime I feel even the smallest spark of joy, I write down what caused it.
Here are a few entries on my Joy List:
Waking up without an alarm.
Having a strong cup of coffee waiting for me when I do.
Shopping in a store where I know where everything is.
Tall glasses of water with ice.
Unexpected texts from friends and family.
A new song that feels like an old song.
A good blowout.
Ripped jeans that aren’t too tight.
Chatting with new people and making them laugh.
Binge watching a new show with someone I love.
Writing poetry that makes a stranger feel seen.
Full bodied wine that isn’t too acidic.
Double dates at fancy restaurants.
My ability to change and grow.
Not being afraid of the future anymore.
The smell of salt at the beach.
Black scoop neck tank tops.
My wireless headphones.
My self love sisterhood, Fred and Far.
The beauty of keeping my Joy List is that not only does it help me become more aware of my joy in the moment, now I have something to return to when I’m low and need a boost. Just reading my list reminds me that joy is within me at all times, and even the smallest things can bring it to the surface.
If you need a reminder to keep your Joy List going, consider getting a Self Love Pinky Ring. Each time you look down and see it sparkling back at you, let it remind me that joy is always available – you just have to open your eyes and feel it.