What Makes You Come Alive?

Waffles by Stella Blackmon

On this Tuesday afternoon, let’s just talk about something fun. I want to ask you: What makes you feel alive? My list includes taking bike rides on cool evenings, watching ballet dancers on Instagram, and getting waffles at the diner with two sweet little boys.

kids with chipped nail polish
babaà sweaters
cacio e pepe
books you stay up late reading
beating Alex at gin rummy
the first 12 hours in a new city
cold ocean water
when you can’t tell a joke because you’re laughing too much
the hot priest in Fleabag.

“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”
Mary Oliver

What’s on your list these days?

P.S. Heart-clutchingly beautiful poems, and what has inspired you lately?

(Photos by Stella Blackmon.)

  1. Sarah says...

    A sip of beer after a long swim in the ocean
    A break for lunch during a day of snow skiing
    Waking up to snow
    Reading a good book under a quilt in the morning with a coffee and no interruptions
    My husband’s blueberry pancakes
    Returning home after a long trip
    Wine and cheese with a good friend, never running out of things to talk and laugh about
    Babies in footie pajamas

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      love these :) babies in footie pajamas!

  2. Ellen says...

    Among other things:
    -smelling something that instantly brings back a memory
    -walking along and having the sun shine down perfectly through tree leaves
    -talking to someone you’ve known for a long time and having it feel like an effortless home that always was and always will be
    -doing something by myself that I may be nervous about (driving a long distance, going to concerts, plays, sporting events, art classes) and having it go well and knowing that I can exist in the world on my own

    • Adeliana says...

      All of these !!!
      It’s amazing how these moments are so personal and yet are the very things that make us feel that electrical energy we want to share with the anyone we come into contact with.

  3. Jodi Eckhardt says...

    love daily practices…dry brushing, carving out precious morning time to yourself…walks in nature.. cup of coffee and a good list making session..and so many more. i saw a post asking , what self care practices are you using? It matters.

  4. Abby says...

    Laughing uncontrollably with happy tears running down my face
    Running after someone while being hit by a crippling laugh attack
    Floating on my back, eyes closed, in a body of water
    Feeling the sun soak on my face while walking on city sidewalks
    A hot makeout session

  5. Growing flowers and seeing their beauty from start to finish
    Picking veggies and fruit – seeing the work come to fruition
    Road trips where you’re not on a schedule
    A great sandwich
    Ice cold beer from a schooner
    A fishing shirt
    Flea Markets and Garage sales / treasure hunting
    Magic Hour
    First day of fall – crisp, football on – doors open

  6. Eliza says...

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU for turning me on to Fleabag and Andrew Scott. I didn’t know what I was missing, and now I can’t get enough!!

  7. Kyla says...

    Learning how to play an instrument
    Pushing my body to it’s limit and then past it to find new limits I didn’t think I was capable of creating
    Feeling the absolute fear of something and standing strong despite that feeling
    Laying in the middle of the road on the warm summer pavement at night in the middle of nowhere to look for shooting stars
    Having a good long cry while taking a bath
    Saying something awkwardly to a stranger and them responding in the most generous and understanding manner
    Telling my sisters secrets
    Observing my sisters laugh at their ridiculous inside jokes
    Seeing my mom laugh herself into happy tears(usually at her own joke)
    Going for a walk in the warm sunlight after being in the kind of physical or emotional pain where you think you’ll never feel ok enough to exist in the world outside of your bed again and then you just do one day and it’s alright
    Thinking you could run the last 200 feet up the top of that Colorado mountain trail and finding out what being winded really means
    Making something with my own hands that is just how I pictured it or surprisingly different/better than I had pictured it
    Making friends when traveling
    Understanding why you’re here and then forgetting and then finding a new why
    Realizing I didn’t know I’ve been having a deep love affair with life until writing this list
    Feeling incredibly grateful and connected to everyone here, COJ comments are the best…love getting a glimpse of the poetry of all your lives :)

  8. Alexandra says...

    -Walking barefoot in dewy grass
    -Eating food fresh from someone’s garden
    -Reaching the peak of a mountain on a challenging hike
    -Waking up in a new city
    -Feeling the brisk morning air on a clear and chilly day
    -Taking the first cold sip of a refreshing drink on a hot summer’s day
    -Walking through a city at night in the rainfall
    -Soaking up Golden Hour lighting
    -Dancing to live music on a sidewalk or in a square
    -Reaching the top of a new route while rock climbing
    -Immersing myself in water, whether a lake or an ocean or a pool
    -Sitting outside in a garden or patio in the sunshine, closing my eyes and feeling the sun warm me
    -Laughing so hard I cry with a friend or loved one

    This is making me want to make sure I soak up as many of these moments as I can this summer!

  9. Mildred says...

    Long country rides
    Sitting on the porch on a summers evening

  10. Mildred says...

    Sitting on the porch on summers night
    A country ride on a beautiful day
    Watching a great movie

  11. 'Becca'lise says...

    “Scheherazade” by Rimsky-Korsakov, “Mars, the Bringer of War” (from the Planets suite) by Holst, “Rhapsody in Blue” by Gershwin, and many film scores by John Williams. A powerful and iconic piece of music gives me goosebumps head to toe, especially when I get to hear it live performed by an orchestra. It’s my absolute favorite thing.

  12. lana says...

    Having my family together
    Family vacations
    Exploring new lands
    Making art
    Seeing my plants sprouting new little plants
    Seeing sunsets that are so bright and colorful I need to take a picture
    Doing my annual cannonball into our pool unabashedly
    Sitting at church marveling at nearby children while worshiping
    Realizing a prayer has come to fruition
    Fro-yo with my favorite toppings
    Smelling citrus
    Walking my pup on a crisp evening near Christmas and seeing the various decorations
    Smelling homemade cookies baking

  13. Lucie says...

    Reading poetry

  14. Emily says...

    walks outside on summer evenings
    a refreshing ice cream cone on a hot day!
    sitting on the beach with the sun on my back and my toes in the sand
    laughing at dinner with my family
    cooking a delicious dinner to enjoy with my boyfriend
    phone calls with my best friends
    dancing to good music
    bike-riding along the coast
    pizza from my favorite place
    having one of those amazing, ‘I’m killing it’ days at work
    diving into a good book
    watching movies on the couch with my family with my head on someone’s shoulder

    happy thoughts… xo

  15. Dana Johnson says...

    The first strawberry of the season I spotted in my garden last night while watering!

  16. Hillary says...

    The smell of salt air
    A book I can’t stop thinking about while reading it
    My kids’ laughter
    Ripe peaches
    Cold lemonade on a hot day
    Afternoon naps
    The cool calm of art museums
    Playing cards with my wife over drinks
    Chunky baby thighs and cheeks
    Iced coffee or hot tea (weather depending)
    The feeling of exhaustion and accomplishment after a good workout or cleaning the house
    Perfectly blue skies
    Sentimental jewelry and home decor
    Music that fits my mood
    Petting downy soft dog ears
    Having a kid fall asleep on me
    Wearing a perfectly comfortable outfit
    Comedy that makes me cackle
    Perusing a perfectly curated local shop
    Shoes that require no breaking in
    Extra, super sharp cheddar cheese
    The fine curls at the nape of my daughter’s neck
    Turning over and cuddling up with my love in the middle of the night
    When one of our foster kiddos refers to our house as home

    • Kamaile says...

      When one of our foster kiddos refers to our house as home.

      Love this! What a wonderful thing to hear and even more wonderful that you are fostering. ❤️

    • lana says...

      That almost read like a poem!

      You sound like a beautiful human

  17. Genevieve says...

    Am I the only one who thinks the priest from Fleabag (Andrew Scott) looks like Mark Ruffalo??

    • Kellie says...

      I can see that- I also got Sam Rockwell vibes!

    • GLORIA LORD-KING says...

      Funny, he got compared to Ruffalo in the latest episode of a podcast I listen to! I fell for Andrew Scott as Moriarty in the BBC’s Sherlock. Spellbinding.

  18. Deb says...

    OMG Andrew Scott! I saw the most amazing play with him in, can’t remember what it’s called but it was so powerful his acting is just incredible. Yes to Andrew Scott!!

  19. Ashley says...

    I keep an ongoing lists of my “bestest favorites”. (That’s my daughter says.) when I’m having a rough day Iay in bed and read through them and it always makes me smile.
    Simple pleasures aka bestest favorites

    Hot black tea with milk
    Kissing baby cheeks
    Fresh sourdough bread with melty butter
    The house before everyone else wakes up
    When scripture hits you right in the heart
    A clean empty sink
    Fresh clean hair
    Dresses with pockets
    Beautiful packaging/wrapped presents
    Answered prayers
    Baby giggles
    Hardwood floors & furniture
    Watching Emily read
    Paige’s tiny little nose & the way she melts when she cuddles
    A good memoir
    The way a hot bath makes my toes warm
    Slow quiet days
    Heavy blankets
    Cabbage growing in a garden
    Graceful flowing Pilates
    Big oak trees
    Giving gifts
    Baking in the morning
    Holding my husband’s hand
    Listening to the kids play together

  20. gigi says...

    reading my childhood diary with my four-year-old daughter, which we both love and enjoy. It feels magical, an encounter between my girl and my old childhood self, who as though came back from the past to tell my girl my stories. It’s like time travelling together with my girl too, to revisit those moments I don’t even remember at all in such detail. We giggled and laughed together.
    Writing a journal too makes me alive again, giving myself chances to put into perspective and just hear my own voice. I am trying to do it now as a mother and I highly recommend keeping a journal even just for a period of time. It’s a treasure for self and I hope too, for my child one day. I want my girl to know me, the real me, even my struggles as a person and as a mother. and I wish us can revisit those moments of joy again one day.

  21. big fat LOLLLL at the “hot priest”!! I dont watch Fleabag (yet?) so I just googled “priest Fleabag” and then literally puckered my face up in repulsion and said “MORIARTY?!” loud enough for my husband to wonder what the heck was going on. Im gonna go download now to see if it changes my opinion.

    But like….also…. Moriarty..??

    • Abbe says...

      YES!!! I feel like I can’t get past the fact that he played Moriarty in the past lol. Maybe I need to watch Fleabag to get past the association.

    • AJ says...

      Agreed!! It took me a full episode to stop thinking of him as Moriarty!!! Fleabag is amazing though and worth the watch.

      My husband and I binge watched Fleabag like right after I wrote that comment ^

      Can I just say that I. fucked. up. I was so wrong about Andrew Scott. I got past him being Moriarty SO fast. Even my husband was like… “okay…” #HotPriestAlert

      I’m a believer ??
      Thank you Jo for introducing me to such a funny, sad, beautifully written show!! We absolutely loved it.

    • Kelli says...

      lol, this follow-up comment = me dying of laughter! Now obviously I have to go watch this show…

    • YES!!! What a zesty, joyous, talented human being!!! Love me some Lizzo! (Terry Gross is pretty faboo, herself!!!)

  22. Isabelle says...

    – Going to sleep/waking up on a lazy weekend morning realizing that my dog has snuggled/wedged his way between my husband and i, and it’s become a three way snuggle
    – long walks listening to podcasts
    – weekend days with no plans
    – morning coffee, the smell, the way it feels like a warm hug
    – rainy evenings
    – finishing work late and biking home in the dark when it’s warm – it feels like wonderful solo time
    – unexpected 5-7 drinks and nachos
    – kissing the big soft cheeks of my friend’s babies
    – getting into bed early and reading a great story
    – almost all desserts :)

    • Brittany says...

      love this

  23. Nic says...

    -The silky feel of my hair when I’m rinsing the conditioner out of it
    -The first time wearing a new perfume
    -Glancing in the mirror after a glass of wine and feeling beautiful with red-stained lips
    -Getting 8 hours of sleep!
    -Meeting eyes with a stranger on the street
    -Drinking enough wine to let loose and dance
    -A giant ice coffee with a splash of soy milk and vanilla
    -When a man I have a crush on says my name
    -Cooking unnecessarily elaborate meals for my parents every Sunday night. They always tell me I don’t need to, but it’s my way of thanking them for all they’ve done for me.

    • Lauren says...

      I love the little things you notice. I agree with all <3

  24. Callie Dinolfo says...

    This is funny for me to say – but the opening scene of the Lion King gets me EVERY time. There is something about the animals and the music and the majesty of it all, it brings me hope and nostalgia and full body chills. Sometimes, if I’m having a crummy day, I say to the kids, “I need some circle of life of right now.”

    • Scarlett says...

      I got chills just reading this!! Haha, same!

  25. Fiona says...

    oooooh and kittens. Definitely kittens. <3

  26. Fiona says...

    – Walks at sunset with Jim to “our” park
    – Evening rides on my horse
    – Waking up to a river/lake/mountain view outside the tent
    – REAL laughs in the presence of others
    – Oversized sweatshirts with long sleeves that keep my hands warm and hoods that make me mysterious
    – Roses and lilacs at nose height

    • “Oversized sweatshirts with long sleeves that keep my hands warm and hoods that make me mysterious”. YES. Being comfortable while being mysterious is super important <3

  27. shade says...

    Sudden dark thunderstorms (happening right now!)
    Salted caramel ice cream
    Hugs and kisses from my 5 yr old son
    The tree view outside my apartment
    The plants inside my apartment

  28. Shannon says...

    A vista!…standing on the edge of a cliff or hill looking out across the great wide open, or peering out of an airplane window. There is something so wonderful about literally seeing & feeling your smallness in the big, big world, but nevertheless knowing that I’m here, taking up my space within it.

  29. Lori says...

    1. Yes to that (holy hot!) priest
    2. Opening a bottle of bubbly. How can you not smile when the cork pops or a glass is passed to you?
    3. The first warm day after a long winter… or when you start to see signs of green, tulips, actual plant life!
    4. Finding a book or show that really feels like me and you can settle in so comfortably.
    5. Catching up with a friend when the conversation feels easy and funny and effortless.

  30. Lisa says...

    I’m definitely a morning person. So, this time of year when the sun rises early, I absolutely love grabbing a few minutes at around 6:00 a.m. to be outside on my porch, having coffee and watering my plants. It is just pure joy for me. It’s the sensory part of it – the smell, the soft light, the coffee, but also just knowing that the rest of my family is still quietly sleeping is very comforting.

    • Susan Y. says...

      Lisa there’s nothing better than that early morning stillness and being outdoors and taking in the freshness of a new day.

  31. Karen says...

    During the spring and summer months, our northwest facing bathroom is flooded with light during sunset. The tiny room transforms into a gold-soaked haze, and I often find myself lingering at the bathroom door, gazing in awe at the transformation, or even taking luxuriously long showers. Thanks for reminding me to pay attention to the fleeting present and the moments that make my heart feel like it’s going to burst with joy.

  32. Ana says...

    If I feel the wind in my face, I feel alive.

    There are many, many sweet little things that make me happy, but a crisp, cold wind never ceases to stirr something essentially restless and vital in me.

  33. Jessie says...

    -watching my almost three year old boy get really “into” playing with cups of water on our apartment patio in the sunshine on a warm Portland afternoon
    -watching the people I love love each other (example: my 3-year-old feeding my 41-year-old boyfriend some of his mac and cheese, but instead of holding the spoon with his hands he decided to hold it with his teeth and they both giggled like maniacs the whole time)
    -the first sip of really cold water on a really hot day
    -being in the woods where the only sounds are birds and wind
    -my feet in the ocean

  34. Alison says...

    I don’t know if I’m feeling this extra right now because its been one long cold and grey winter/spring in Boston BUT – the smell of grass in the spring and when it finally warms up and everything is green and bright and it feels like the whole city comes alive with you to spend as much time outside as possible.

  35. D says...

    – The way that toddlers react to music. I am an early childhood music teacher and the way that toddlers light up and dance is just incredible. Also just their sweetness, innocence, and earnestness. Best job. I did a workshop with a pre-k class yesterday, and at the end of class a girl I’d never met before came up to me and said, “I love you!” The amount of love and affection that my job includes is magical.
    – I saw this in another post, but yes! When a bad mood breaks. Sometimes anxiety for me is such a chemical thing with no rhyme or reason, and when it breaks I’m so incredibly grateful.
    – Acts of self-care that take effort but the pay-off is so big. Meal prepping, a fridge full of healthy snacks, a good sweaty run, tidying up my room, taking the time to moisturize head-to-toe before bed.
    – I’m back in school for the first time in ages (grad school!) and seeing grades posted has been really rewarding. I’m working hard in school in a way that I haven’t before, because I really know why I’m in school and what I want to get out of it.
    – A good, deep, juicy talk with a female friend where you just get to the heart of it all.
    – Having a fun party or date to look forward to.
    – The difference that a little bit of red lipstick (thanks Jo for the NYX Monte Carlo rec!!) and mascara make on occasions where I want to feel extra pretty.

  36. Jen N says...

    Those heart-bursting moments of realization that… damn. for better or for worse, this really is YOUR LIFE! :)

  37. Karli says...

    finding a new show (Longmire. Swoon!)
    red chocolate licorice
    pinky sunsets
    my students’ neat handwriting
    fresh pjs
    cool mornings

  38. Irene says...

    – getting into my pjs after a long day in heels
    – a crispy croissant on a weekend morning
    – getting a glimpse of the “new yorker” cover in my mailbox
    – a text alert from someone, at the exact moment you were thinking about him/her
    – finding something underlined in an old book and remembering exactly why it sounded so beautiful to you

    (this totally reminded me of woody allen’s “why is life worth living?” in manhattan – boy do i love that movie)

  39. Lottie says...

    The priest in Fleabag! Yes! So much!!

  40. Lottie says...

    The priest in Fleabag! Yes!

  41. Lilla says...

    sitting on my front porch during a thunderstorm
    when my 3 year old reaches to hold my hand with her soft tiny hand
    that first sip of coffee or matcha
    sunrise at the beach
    bakery smells
    cooking with local and fresh produce when its in season
    making my husband laugh (he’s funnier than me)
    potluck meals with friends
    kindness from strangers
    standing under enormous trees
    that moment of sitting down right after you’ve cleaned your home
    watching my parents play with my daughter

  42. Kerri says...

    Oh boy, I could write a long list but at the top would be “the small ways in which people choose to show their love and care”. My sister is moving across the country at the end of the summer. She is smart and lovely and also private and would prefer it if the rest of the world would keep their mushy gushy feelings to themselves ? Anyway, recently we were at a shop together and came across a candle that we both loved and I told her that we should both get one so that after she moved we can FaceTime and both light our candles so that it will feel like we are in the same room together. I’m pretty sure she audibly gagged at that suggestion and her eyes threatened to never return to normal positioning after their epic roll. Two weeks later a surprise package was delivered to my door, inside was the candle. I totally didn’t cry. It’s fine. Ugh, sisters. ❤️

    • Lori says...

      This story! Eyes are watering.

    • Caylin says...

      Wow – I have a lump in my throat AND I’m laughing because my sister (who lives across the country) would do the EXACT same thing! We (me, my sis, my mom) have a lamp that glows “her” color when touched and it really has made me feel more connected to them!

    • Julie says...

      That is such a great way to be with one another!
      I live in Boston, my parents live in Pittsburgh, and my niece (1 yr old) and nephew (4 yr old) live in New Jersey and we all got these Long Distance Friendship lamps. Each lamp gets it’s own color and its a small fun way to let each other know you are thinking about one another.

  43. Alex says...

    Boat rides, flower gardens (lol check out my IG @gardenstalker), sniffing my dogs fur haha, coffee in the morning, duh.

  44. Tina says...

    The cabin
    Doing something spontaneous with my kids
    Time catching up with old friends
    A good bag

  45. B says...

    -Being the little spoon for weekend morning snuggling
    -A long walk after dinner, especially if it is a walk and a chat
    -When the books I put on hold at library become available
    -Reading those books before bedtime, in a hammock, by the fireplace — every season has a place to read
    -Dramatic nighttime rainstorms when you are already in bed
    -The first day of spring that you can open all of the windows
    -Colorful umbrellas
    -The nearly burnt cheesy edges of a lasagna
    -Fresh bedsheets
    -Cut flowers in a mason jar
    -Spicy pickles
    -The words my daughter cannot pronounce, the pronouns she mixes up — “I want you to sit in my yap!”
    -When my baby boy falls asleep after feeding, cheek to breast
    -Our gentle dog, the most loving creature on four legs

  46. Meredith says...

    I went to my first therapy/counseling session today and making a list like this is literally my homework for the week ☺️

    • Lori says...

      You got this!

  47. Tessa says...

    Figure drawing class. A group of people do a timed sketch of every line, crease, bulge, scar, and curve of an ordinary nude person. When the timer goes off, you take a step back to appreciate the vulnerable human form you transferred to a piece of paper. For me, it’s the seeing of beauty in the otherwise ordinary that makes me feel alive.

    • Jules says...

      In college, I was on the other side :) modeling for figure drawing was the best-paying job on campus, and I enjoyed it so much. It was empowering and also relaxing, somehow, to just lie there and wait to see how the artists were going to interpret me on that day.

  48. VP says...

    Dreaming of a faraway place and then making plans to go there.
    Cooking and eating South Indian food.
    Hearing my older daughter asking me to stay with her a little longer at bedtime and telling me I’m her best friend.
    Seeing my younger daughter’s sheer excitement and joy when I come home from work.
    Standing up for women.
    Watching a gorgeous sunrise over a body of water.

  49. Ann says...

    seeing my 2 year old come down the steps bedhead beautiful in the morning, hand in hand with her papa, asking me if I’ve eaten all the cereal or if there’s some for her.

  50. Sherry McLaughlin says...

    A really weird thing………finding antique or vintage fabric no longer produced and I buy it! And my dog! And sunshine and flowers……….

  51. Caitlin says...

    – Hot Texas summer nights by the river with the locusts chorusing
    – Jumping into Barton Springs
    – Quiet meals alone (at home or at a restaurant) with delicious food and a good read
    – That moment on a walk when you can just breathe it all in and appreciate all the life around you
    – When you finish bingeing a really good TV series and feel sad to say goodbye to all your “friends”
    – Hanging with people you love (or maybe just met!) and just knowing it’s such a good moment that you try to soak every moment in
    – Coming home to my dogs and watching the wiggles and the squints and the ruffs
    – Having friendship moments with my family
    – Dinners with my boyfriend where we get a little drunk and mushy
    – When my nieces like something I introduced them to
    – Getting in the zone and not realizing you’d been working for 3 hours straight
    – Lists like this! (I really love seeing all the responses!)

    • Christine says...

      -a latte with homemade almond milk
      -open mouth kisses from my one year old
      -having really fun sex worth thinking about for the next week
      -snow on the ground, hot tea in my hand and the fireplace on while watching a good show/movie
      -girls night
      -finding a pair of jeans that makes my butt look ?
      -attending and presenting in board meetings(I am a 29 year old female and am always the youngest in the room and many times the only female… I love proving people wrong)
      -standing up for other people

  52. JN says...

    A sun ray coming through the window.
    A hot cup of sweet coffee.
    Running the morning after it rains.
    Cuddling up with my kids to watch a movie.
    Setting out my kids’ clothes (3) while they still let me.
    Swimming in ocean water that is just slightly cooler than the air.
    Journaling early in the morning before everyone gets up.
    Reflecting on the year during July 4th fireworks.
    The same happy hour date we’ve been doing for 10 years <3

  53. katie says...

    jumping in the lake
    a stolen kiss
    cold soil; hot day
    cooking by feel
    impressing myself w/silly feats (making a tight connecting flight; flipping an egg w/o breaking the yoke)
    beating my Dad at Trivial Pursuit (one time & counting!)
    typing fast without having to look at the screen or keys
    omg on that note: 10 key!
    a beer in the shower on a hot summer night
    oldies on, windows down, long country road

    • Caitlin says...

      yes to the typing!!

  54. Stacy S says...

    -Fresh sheets on the bed
    -Watching my son learn new skills (he’s 9 months and just figured out how sippy cups work!)
    -My cat all sprawled out, absorbing all the sun beams coming in the window
    -Watching a storm roll in on a hot humid summer day from our back deck
    -Sitting in the theater after a Marvel movie, waiting for the end credits scene, with all the other die hard fans!

    I love CoJ and the comments section so much! It always brings me such joy to read the articles and comments everyday!

  55. Jody says...

    Wonder makes me feel the most alive. Recently, I was laying on the couch with my husband and all of a sudden I felt overwhelmed with how INSANE it is that I can just lay my head on his chest and hear the organ that is pumping blood throughout his entire body! I’ve been watching Our Planet on Netflix and my mind is constantly blown at the incredible creatures and plants, but I think the same can happen on an evening walk or when you look at someone you love. Earth is such a magical place when you pay attention and lately, I just feel giddy that I get to be part of it. Also, being an auntie :)

    • Claudia says...

      holy smokes thank you so much. this is incredible and giving me LIFE

  56. KB says...

    Hi CUJ! Love this post, thank you for sharing so many treats with us, always! One comment/suggestion…given that you’re so great about supporting small and values-driven businesses, would you consider linking your book links to an independent bookstore instead of to Amazon? (Books Are Magic, etc!)…it would be great to drive business to these folks instead of the Amazon monster.

  57. jennifer mulson says...

    – When a bad mood suddenly breaks.
    – When the sun comes out from behind a cloud on those slightly chilly days, and warms up your face.
    – When my dog and I gaze at each other. Oxytocin high!
    – A conversation with my friend who knows no political correctness or boundaries, and says it like it is.
    – Buying myself flowers.
    – Making small talk with a stranger that suddenly takes a deeper turn.
    – Watching people do nice things for each other. Being the person doing something nice for somebody. Expecting nothing in return.
    – Learning a new word.
    – Taking satisfaction in all the birds flocking to my backyard feeding and watering oasis, especially the Western tanagers, who only pop by for a week or so come spring.

  58. TNT says...

    Planning a trip
    A milky cup of coffee
    Food: talking about it, making it, eating it, planning to make and eat it
    That funny back-and-forth hug you give a friend you haven’t seen in ages
    Laughing so hard you cry or your cheeks hurt
    Eating (told you) near any body of water. Ideally the ocean with toes in sand, but on a lounger next to a pool does just as well.
    Snuggling my son while we watch a movie
    What that song comes on (“that song” is many different songs)
    Doing something a little scary and enjoying it
    A really, really good book or show
    The sound of a champagne cork popping
    Putting on heels just before going out

  59. Cassidy says...

    There is a bridge in Wiscasset, ME that we drive over every summer to get to my family’s vacation in Boothbay Harbor, ME. Before the bridge there’s always a long line of traffic as a result of foot traffic from the famous Red’s Eats lobster roll stand right by the bridge. The traffic opens up at the bridge and as we drive across I always roll my window down to feel the cool sea breeze on my skin and smell the salty water below. As we drive across the bridge the stresses of life go out the window and all that lays ahead is vacation by the sea.

    • Tara says...

      Such a pretty bridge~ now I’ll think of you & your comment rather than get annoyed by the traffic :)

    • Angela Thompson says...

      This sounds so beautiful.

    • Erin says...

      YES! I know exactly where you’re talking about, and that exact feeling as well. You described it so perfectly. I’ll think of this comment when we’re driving over that bridge on our way to Boothbay Harbor for family vacation in August. :)

  60. sarah says...

    running on the trails in the mountain town i call home with my dog
    netting a fish that put up a fight
    staring into a starry night sky
    a hot cup of coffee on a cool summer morning
    taking the first few turns down our town ski hill in the early morning
    waking up somewhere new next to the one i love

  61. Jen says...

    -the way my best friend and I hug goodbye
    -getting into a really productive groove during the work day
    -the first time I had dinner outside in the Atlanta heat
    -sleepy dog yawns
    -the smell of coffee grounds when you open the jar
    -going home to my childhood home and noticing my parents have kept it exactly the same <3
    -looking at my 93-year-old grandmother's nightstand- her glass perfumes, framed black and white photos and beautiful jewelry
    -when my mom puts extra icing on the cinnamon rolls we eat for breakfast over the holidays
    -the moment you become aware that a lingering dinner has run late, not wanting anyone to get up or make the move to end the evening!
    -getting dressed up for date night
    -the feeling right before a first kiss
    -conversations that last way late into the night
    -sipping wine with friends

    • Christy says...

      Ah this one really got me “when my mom puts extra icing on the cinnamon rolls we eat for breakfast over the holidays” – those little things moms do to make life special mean so much

  62. I love the exercise of thinking about this! It’s inspiring me to take a bike ride tonight…but also 1) swimming in the cold ocean 2) drinking coffee and staring into my sunny year 3) petting a sweet dog or horse 4) witness the innocence of children.

  63. Simone says...

    -Knitting. The feel of yarn in my hands.
    -My sweet husband of 7 years who makes me a latte every morning.
    -Gardening with my two little boys. My 4 year old has a corner of our garden full of weeds that he beams with pride over and waters daily. Seeing the dirt and plants from their perspective is enchanting.

  64. Gabriella Doob says...

    Watching old movies before bed, giving clothes away, fall weather, nights that take on a life of their own, when I introduce friends from different circles and they become friends, impending thunderstorms, having no emails to respond to, Irish music, street food, having exactly the right amount of wine… :-)

  65. Meg says...

    fist-pounding anticipation before a meal when I have a really good appetite

    a little danger (the time we tipped a small sailboat. the time we almost tipped a large sailboat.)

    the rush of luck: recovering a lost item. a near miss.

    walking in the still cold, red cheeks in the mirror

    open water: swimming in the clean, cold. Sailing.

    • Irene says...

      “the rush of luck”: so, so, so true.

  66. jessica says...

    the feeling of water all around me
    summertime in boston
    driving in warm weather with the windows down and music up
    movies/tv shows/books with a really strong sense of place/atmosphere
    lush greenery, canopies, ivy, outdoor spaces that feel like a hidden retreat
    interspecies animal friendships
    the feeling of nostalgia i get with music and smells associated with the past
    nighttime cuddles with my dog, who is always at peak sweetness/love/vulnerability near bedtime
    the feeling of being utterly engrossed in a book
    a good nap

  67. ana says...

    Mine is making my Dad really laugh and pizza in all forms.

  68. Kim says...

    -Coasting super fast on my bike
    -going out in the rain, or cold, cold winter weather. The kind that makes my cheeks rosy.
    -working out and stretching out my muscles
    -the first few sips (or gulps!) of hot coffee in the morning
    -the overwhelming love I get thinking about or being with my kids and husband
    -sadly, pain and heartbreak also make me feel alive, and grateful that I am.
    -staying up way too late with a page turner
    -drinking really cold water

  69. Sharon in Scotland says...

    -Getting a “you up?” text at 2 in the morning
    -Driving from the east to the west coast in Sutherland, early in the morning to get to schools for 9.30 and binging on the views
    -Getting my hair cut really short
    -A warm wide hand on the small of my back
    -The first sip of ice-cold ice wine
    -Getting the fire going on only one match
    -Catching a small ferry to a small island
    -Dancing until I’m sweaty and laughing
    -Gail force winds
    -Taking corners slightly too fast
    -Catching the faint honey coconut scent of gorse flowers on the warm air when I go home in the evening
    -Seeing ALL the stars on a clear night, feeling teeny-tiny but awed

  70. Laura says...

    – swimming
    – food that is sweet, sour and spicy all at once
    – planning things and making lists
    – makeup

  71. Brooke says...

    From my week:
    + A cold drink on a restaurant patio on one of those first sunny, warm-enough-to-eat-outside spring days
    + Pulling painter’s tape off to reveal a perfect line of color separation between wall and trim
    + Watching Little League: those little kids who slide into base completely unnecessarily and at every opportunity because it’s fun and they just learned how to
    + Sleeping with the windows open
    + My new but now broken-in Swedish clogs
    + Texting with my husband – funny texts, sexy ones, sweet ones, even the boring day-to-day-life texts because they remind me how we make a great team

    • Tara says...

      ❤️ painters tape

  72. Rachel says...

    One of my dearest and oldest friends, a piece of me, just passed away earlier this month. We were on a group text with two other friends that we grew up with. In April, one of the women posted this question to the group and my friend who passed shared the following:
    1. Slow start on Saturdays with y’all drinking coffee and waking up telling stories
    2. Wind in hair/on face like Tash
    3. The feeling after traveling by yourself- the accomplishment
    4. Golden Retrievers! Duh.
    5. Massage
    6. Tasha scratching my skin and head- I’m fantasizing now
    7. Taking off my bra!
    I wanted to share her words because talking about her and her thoughts and ideas is a way of keeping her alive.

    • I’m so sorry to read about the loss of your friend. How lovely that you have taken the time to quote her. I can see that you each enriched the other’s life.

    • Sofia says...

      Thank you for sharing Rachel. I’m so sorry you had to say goodbye to your friend.

  73. -Hearing my parents/brother/nieces/nephew friends laugh
    -Korean barbeque
    -BTS’s music, anything related to BTS forever and ever
    -finally a really good photo of myself
    -the transformative power of a haircut, new lipstick, properly applied blush
    -when someone says I did well
    -traveling to a new place

  74. Marcie says...

    -When you finish a good, hard workout, and you drive home with the windows down.
    -Drinking cold wine (or a margarita) on a restaurant patio
    -Double hugs from my boys and looking down at their matching brown hair
    -Seeing my puppy race around our backyard excitedly
    -Coming home after a dinner out and realizing you don’t have to clean the kitchen
    – Ice cream cones in summer
    -A snow day!

    • Yes! I grew up playing competitive soccer and would drive to and from practice I’m my Ford F-150. Anytime I can recreate the feeling of exhaustion, music of my choice, and windows down – it’s a total win.

  75. Dina R says...

    I love these posts so much, and there is always something magical about the comment sections in them!
    I was born and raised in Israel, a country that has basically grown out of the desert, so rain is not such a common thing there. Which is probably why the thing that makes me feel alive the most is rain…
    + sitting in a cozy room with a book when it’s raining outside
    + taking a walk in a light drizzle
    + the smell of wet grass after a rain that has been a long time coming
    + the swishing sounds of rain in the crowded streets of Tel Aviv as the traffic rolls past

    I live in Atlanta now, where it rains all summer long, and that feeling of precious rain is sometimes replaced by annoyance. Even so, just now thinking of all those rainy days back home makes me feel alive.

  76. – this salad i’m eating right now, my bf packs it for me five times a week: hard-boiled eggs, diced avocado, supremed (sp?) orange segments, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced black olives, pickled red onion, a blob of whipped feta, all on a bed of sliced kale
    – climbing
    – dancing
    – watching dancing (the dance sequence in the umbrella academy–unnngh!)

  77. Christina says...

    We closed on our first house just a couple of days ago, a small ranch by the beach. We brought the kids that night and they excitedly ran around in circles. My 5 year old son, while running around, kept yelling, “I found the kitchen! ” I found the bathroom!” It was so funny and cute.

    I can’t wait to make memories there with those two little maniacs.

  78. Autumn says...

    things that make me feel like every atom of me is alive:
    -standing knee-deep in a cold-water stream
    -rambling through the woods on a slow hike
    -waking up to birdsong
    -kissing my cat on her little kitty cheek
    -driving with the windows down in my Jeep on a hot day
    -talking about life dreams/wishes/goals with friends
    -having a one-woman karaoke session while cleaning
    -wearing my favorite perfume, Ralph Lauren Midnight Romance

  79. Jordan G says...

    – the joyful humming sound my 3-year old makes when he eats his favorite foods
    – plopping face-first on top of the covers, sunlight streaming in, for a midday rest
    – laying on my back in our backyard, watching the trees sway in the wind
    – long stroller walks with the husband at the end of the day
    – the Downton Abbey theme song
    – an unexpected iced chai latte
    – the way my 3-year old daughter pats my back when she hugs me
    – going to bed before 10 pm

    • Hilary says...

      The downton abbey theme song! Love this!

  80. diana k. says...

    Going to the movies by yourself.
    Getting breakfast with a friend before work.
    Getting breakfast with a friend after a night out!
    Running out for snacks before a snowstorm.
    Theme parties.
    Onion dip.
    Roller blading (this is a note for me to pick it up again)
    When you try a new recipe and it kind of looks like the picture.
    Dogs with human names.

    • SC says...

      Diana, I love your comment b/c we’re maybe the same person? But you’re me prior to the debilitating pressure of trying to get pregnant, a me I really miss and hope and plan to return to this summer.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      rooting for you, SC. xoxo

  81. Jessica says...

    Nothing, but nothing, beats being on or in a river in the summertime.
    Kayaking, swimming, just sitting watching it pass by and off into the woods. Nothing makes me feel more present and alive than a river in summertime.
    Close seconds:
    Taking a walk to nowhere in particular and talking about nothing much with my husband.
    Riding a bike in the springtime and fall.
    “Hiding” under the covers with my toddler – even though there’s no one who’s going to find us.

    I’m sure there’s more, but it’s a good list to start with!

  82. diana k. says...

    Bike joy is real. I started commuting to work on a bike a few years ago and it brings me to life. I strapped a little speaker onto my basket and play a little motown as I go over the Queensborough bridge. I experience a whole different world on my way to work! I see the same faces walking over the bridge every day, one guy lets me know “you’re late!” based on what part of the bridge we pass each other. Something as simple as wind in your hair is a real mood-booster.

    I’m currently abroad for work and away from some of my regular daily joys. My friend and I started a movie club. We take turns picking a movie for both of us to watch and then we get on the phone and skewer/praise each others picks. It really helps for me to not feel so alienated from my friends and avoid those empty-feeling “how was your day” chats.

  83. Lana says...

    -The smell of coppertone and the feel of sun-warmed skin.
    -belly laughs with my friends.
    -finding just the right word when I’m trying to explain/write something important.
    -fresh highlights and pink lipstick.
    -soft steady windy walks.
    -cold cocktails.
    -watching my kids “get” something. Aha!
    -mezza platters. Give me alllll the hummus!
    -Paul Simon songs
    -the smell of corn fields on a cool summer night
    -looking up and seeing my husband reading with his glasses on.
    -fun earrings
    -pour over coffee
    -inside jokes

  84. claire says...

    -when my big, fluffy dog gently buries his head into my lap wanting to be hugged and pet
    -long drives through winding mountains listening to folky music (and then listening to that same music at another time and having that feeling come flooding back)
    -sitting outside having a drink when first traveling to a new city
    -laughing until i’m crying over things no one else gets (or finds funny) with my sister and mom
    -a bike ride as the sun is starting to set with my husband
    -a hike
    -a book so good that it makes me sad when it’s over
    -thinking about being a mom one day
    -a day with no plans, that ends up being memorable

  85. Kristiana says...

    I love these posts + reading the comments SO much. This helps me pause, reflect, and be filled with gratitude and the pockets of goodness in the sometimes rough + callous mundane days…
    + when done with a strenuous hike and back at the start point, looking upward and seeing what I’ve just accomplished
    + making my best friend laugh
    + those rare feelings of contentment with where life has me right now
    + seeing the time and energy spent at the gym equal results
    + singing the correct pitch and notes on a difficult song
    + seeing things come full circle in life

  86. Holly says...

    I’ve been refreshing this page all morning to see every new little response pop up. It’s been fulfilling and made a rough day at work a little easier.

    -Farmers Markets
    -That first sip of red wine after a long day
    -Live music on the streets that bring a random group of people together
    -Hot Yoga on Saturday mornings
    -Happy Hour with some of my oldest and closets friends
    -Seeing my man’s face light up when I walk through the door
    -A caramel latte with oat milk before 8 am
    -Bubble Bath lit by candle light
    -Sunday family dinner
    -Solo trips that make you fall in love with yourself again

    Thank you Jo!

  87. Katie says...

    One thing stands above the rest for me: my first bite into a nectarine each summer. ❤️

    • Chloe says...

      Yesss Katie! Absolutely agree.

    • freya says...

      so simple and great

  88. Ellie says...

    In this current season of life: The warmth of the sun; Thunderstorms; Eating healthy, but not foregoing dessert; An episode of Call the Midwife; Petting my dogs; Curling up on a particular chair in our living room with a good book; The free Dunkin Donuts latte from T-Mobile Tuesdays.

  89. Sam says...

    Being outside in any form. But definitely the smell of fresh cut grass and mulch — it transports me back to summer mornings as a kid, slowly waking up from a good night’s sleep.

    • Katie says...

      Yes, freshly cut grass!

  90. sarah says...

    Love this post– thank you! Here’s another addition of poetry:

    The Day, by Peter Everwine

    We walked at the edge of the sea, the dog,
    still young then, running ahead of us.

    Few people. Gulls. A flock of pelicans
    circled beyond the swells, then closed
    their wings and dropped head-long
    into the dazzle of light and sea. You clapped
    your hands; the day grew brilliant.

    Later we sat at a small table
    with wine and food that tasted of the sea.

    A perfect day, we said to one another,
    so that even when the day ended
    and the lights of houses among the hills
    came on like a scattering of embers,
    we watched it leave without regret.

    That night, easing myself toward sleep,
    I thought how blindly we stumble ahead
    with such hope, a light flares briefly—Ah, Happiness!
    then we turn and go on our way again.

    But happiness, too, goes on its way,
    and years from where we were, I lie awake
    in the dark and suddenly it returns—
    that day by the sea, that happiness,

    though it is not the same happiness,
    not the same darkness.

    • Genevieve says...

      What a beautiful poem!

  91. Emily says...

    Visiting the Clyfford Still museum on a regular basis. It’s truly a religious experience for me. Feel so lucky to have this masterpiece of a museum in my town! A must see if you ever make it to Denver.

    • tlc says...

      Omg the Clyfford Still museum is my absolute favorite museum!

  92. Annie says...

    Travel. I feel alive in another country, all the new smells and sights and different foods and ways of living. I wonder about the people living there and how their lives are different in wonderful ways. And especially seeing new animals on trips. We recently went to Bora Bora and went diving with giant manta rays – they were other-wordly and I felt small in their presence and in awe of their graceful movement. Someday I want to see Narwhals. My husband and I have lots of home remodeling to do but all we want to talk about or plan, and spend our money on, are trips :)

  93. marcella says...

    this has brightened my day! here are mine:

    cherries in the summer
    traveling to a new place and walking to dinner
    making out with my boyfriend on my couch
    a perfect run on a cool spring morning
    the smell of mountain laurels in march
    spending a weekend with good friends after a long time apart
    pizza that exceeds my expectations
    going to the beach in the summer + showering after
    driving with my sunroof down in my old SUV
    a fresh gel manicure

  94. Jen says...

    -kissing my cats’ tiny foreheads
    -bold lipsticks and new glasses
    -coffee after dinner, especially if whipped cream is involved
    -bare feet in the grass
    -campfires and s’mores
    -scary creature movies
    -wading in streams w someone special
    -reading bookstore employees’ recommendations
    -watching a musical and singing the songs loudly afterwards
    -bathing outdoors
    -the smell of hay
    -unusually fluffy blankets

  95. liz says...

    cold brew (quite literally actually haha)
    finding the perfect pair of Levis vintage 501s
    laying in the grass on a sunny 78 degree day
    savasana after finishing my full ashtanga practice
    biking in shorts and a tank top on another 78 degree day
    that last .3 mile of my running route that happens to be down hill (!)
    actually being fully hydrated
    Saturday morning cuddles in bed (Saturdays are the only mornings I can really sleep in)
    Waking up early for no reason when you’re on vacation and having a whole day ahead with no plans
    a perfectly ripe peach from the farmer’s market
    randomly running into an old friend and then having the time to actually catch up

    • liz says...

      adding one more: the perfect jumpsuit. Seriously, so hard to find, so magical when you do!

    • Caylin says...

      I lol’d at “actually being fully hydrated” !!! Yeah – What is that even like??

  96. Christy says...

    -The moment of connection when I meet someone and instantly know I want to be friends with them
    -The somewhat buzzed feeling I get when I have a good idea
    -The way my husband shout/sings “Welcome home baby” when I walk in the front door after getting home from work
    – The first hug I get from my mom when I go home to visit
    -Taking the first bite of something I ordered from a restaurant and having it be even better than I thought it would be
    -The second visit to a city that I love and the anticipation of visiting the places that I have such fond memories of
    -The first time I do something that used to be really difficult (in my job or in my life) and it’s finally not so hard
    -Starting a really good book
    -Saying “okay I have to leave soon” when I’m with a friend and proceeding to stay another hour talking about anything and everything
    -Trying to articulate a hard idea or feeling and having someone say “I know exactly what you’re talking about/how you feel”
    -A glass of wine at home at 6 pm on a Friday night after a long week of work
    -The cooldown stretch after a really hard workout
    -Post-hike beers

    • Kristiana says...

      Oh, girl. I agree with ALL of these. “The somewhat buzzed feeling I get when I have a good idea..” YES

    • Adina says...

      Totally relate to all of these — such a great list!

  97. Married 9 years to the best man I know and still crazy attracted to him, but at 38 I get a crazy jolt of life when a cute stranger smiles at me. Because shoot! I still got it?! Is this terrible?!? ?

    • liz says...

      what could be terrible about that. Saying this in the most supportive way: women need to stop feeling guilty about things like this!! god knows men don’t!

      Just realized after typing this that I assumed you are a women. regardless — you should enjoy these innocent interactions : )

    • Christy says...

      I feel the exact same way! I love my husband more than anything but I definitely get an extra pep in my step when I get a smile from a stranger or someone flirts with me. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it at all.

      Plus, I feel more attracted to my husband when I see him get checked out by someone else. It’s a great reminder of how lucky I am to be with him!

  98. Abby says...

    a normal day
    Bach’s Suite for Solo Cello No. 1
    the smell of the top of my son’s head
    swimming in the ocean
    the first few sips of wine
    a “better than sex” kind of conversation
    coffee on a Saturday morning
    laughing when you should be crying

    • elizabeth says...

      laughing when you should be crying!!! agh, that’s a good one.

  99. Lynn-Holly says...

    – slowly waking up with my head on my husband’s chest
    – the unfolding of a story in a wonderful new book
    – seeing trees in all of their glory
    – exploring somewhere new
    – the first bite of homemade cherry pie

    Love this focus on pockets of happiness! xx

  100. Katie says...

    – little girls walking belly-forward
    – going to sleep when its raining outside
    – a cold beer after a long hike
    – drinking morning coffee with loved ones, the day after thanksgiving or on vacation
    – baby nose crinkles, when they smile
    – kids starting sentences with, “When I was little…”
    – the Pakistani deli owner carefully teaching another Pakistani gentleman how to make a chocolate egg cream on St. Mark’s making me really happy to live in New York

    • Caitlin says...

      Belly forward!!! I wish we could all retain that swagger.

    • Jordan Carter says...

      these are delightfully specific and spot-on!

    • Melissa says...

      Love every single one of these!

    • Kay says...

      Where do you get chocolate egg cream in the village?? I’ve been looking for a good egg cream!

    • Katie says...

      Caitlin, yes! It’s always a good reminder when I see my daughter’s proud little round belly to stop sucking in and be comfortable!

      Kay, girl go get yourself a chocolate egg cream at the bodega on the corner of St Marks and 2nd. The one with a good magazine selection inside, and sell jelly rings out of the box. It’s not obvious at first, but you’ll spot the seltzer fountain!

  101. Running in the early morning coolness as the sun rises (early o’clock these days).
    Fresh crusty bread.
    Walking the dog with my husband after work.
    Writing a poem at my desk when my mind needs to wander.

  102. – excellent books. I’m reading Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, and I am laughing a lot and reading it too late at night. (I also read Becoming earlier this year, and adored it, and told all my friends they had to read it because it was that amazing.)
    – impressing my family with fabulous baked treats (I made Nigella Lawson’s lemon pavlova for Easter, and everyone was quite impressed and delighted, and it felt so good.)
    – growing plants. I finally got myself a community garden plot this year, so in addition to my balcony garden of potted herbs and flowers, I’m growing Tuscan kale, radishes, and other fun things. It’s been a great way to meet other gardening fanatics!
    – I’ve been doing more meditation and controlled breathing lately, and it feels so good. Even though I can’t make it to the beach this summer, just imagining the waves and the sunrise over the ocean (while doing breathing exercises) is so relaxing and wonderful.

  103. JT says...

    – my 2year old learning new words
    – when the class instructor ends a great workout with a quote that sticks with me the rest of the day
    – first sip of coffee
    – sunrises/sunsets
    – text threads with my best girls
    – saying hi to the familiar doormen as I walk to my subway stop
    – synchronicities: when I think of something/someone then see something related randomly later, the universe works to always give us signs

  104. Marlena says...

    My yoga teacher often shares the following quote, and it helps me come alive:

    “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
    -Howard Thurman

  105. Denise says...

    Just the question makes me cry a little. I’ve been so dead under a pile of stress. But I remember now -the Pacific ocean, solo hikes in deep forest, a day of no obligation, freshly laundered undies, swimming in Lost Lake in super hot weather. I think I need to go outside.

    • Lauren says...

      <3 Feel better, internet stranger!

    • Genevieve says...

      Thinking of you, Denise and hope you get to do something on your list soon.

  106. Heather says...

    -wearing something I consider to be wild: a bright lip or pants in a crazy print
    -finding juuust the right tickle spot to elicit peals of laughter from my toddlers
    -writing something that causes me to experience a “heart squeeze,” a physical sensation which lets me know I’ve hit on something true
    -my husband responding to something I’ve said in a way that lets me know he was really listening (he does this all the time)
    -sending little gifts in the mail
    -getting tattooed; there’s something so exciting about a permanent change!

  107. Annick says...

    Thank you for your joy and the gift of making others smile. As many others mentioned, this made such a difference for me today.

    Also, YES to the hot priest on Flea bag!!

    -the light as it filters through leafy green trees
    -the sound of leaves rustling in the wind
    -the lovely discomfort of being out of your element while traveling
    -watching small colloquial kindnesses between strangers
    -looking up in the city when the weather becomes warmer and sun’s still out at the end of the day
    -morning quiet at home listening to classical music and drinking coffee
    -being around people who create beautiful things
    -the warm, clean feeling after a shower after a long day at the beach
    -the moments when my husband finishes my silliest thoughts and I feel understood
    -giggling until I’m crying with my sister

  108. Laura S. says...

    – a nap after a day at the beach
    – trash reality tv after a long day
    – hitting every green light
    – a perfect watermelon
    – my husband’s laugh
    – when your morning coffee is just right
    – clean, crisp sheets
    – realizing that creating this list is easy because it’s the little things <3

    • danielle says...

      love your last one!

  109. Emily says...

    Sleeping near the sea
    Freshly washed sheets
    A great workout
    Seeing a bunch of friends together in my small kitchen laughing and listening
    Looking into my dogs’ eyes
    Opening a new novel
    Watching my son score a goal in soccer

  110. NN says...

    This is amazing. I needed it. Thank you.

  111. Maranda says...

    – That first mile of a run when you’re feeling really strong and energized and ready to tackle the rest of the miles before you
    – Being home with the windows open and a nice breeze blowing through
    – Going somewhere new with my husband
    – Snuggling with my cats and hearing them purr away next to me
    – Doing yoga at home on a Sunday morning before my husband is up and everything is quiet and peaceful

  112. Allie says...

    Loving this post as I’m home sick today and feeling sorry for myself as my birthday is tomorrow and woe is me. This is a much better focus! Things that make me come alive:
    – A hike, especially somewhere new
    – Also a new city
    – A good pop punk song or Broadway tune
    -My daughter’s giggles also her smile first thing in the morning and when I pick her up from daycare
    – A good puppy snuggle
    – The first sunny day after the winter
    – A crisp white wine and bowl of green olives

    • Maddy says...

      Great list! Wishing you a happy birthday, and a speedy recovery!

  113. Dipping my feet in cool water
    Seeing happy dogs on their walk
    Performing onstage (what a rush!)
    Laying in the sun after a swim
    Enjoying dinner with the best people
    Watching/reading slow burn romances come to fruition
    Those rare quiet days in the city when you just hear the wind and birds Music that makes my spine tingle in the best way possible
    The smell of old books
    A really good cupcake with really good icing
    Beautifully detailed vintage dresses

    • Allie says...

      Yes to the smell of old books and beautiful vintage dresses! And of course happy dogs.

  114. Nikki says...

    -The first aerial glimpse of a new/beloved place from the plane
    -Diving under an ocean swell, then popping back up into the sun
    -The smell of pine trees on a hot day
    -A glass of wine outside in the late afternoon with people I love
    -Driving home on the freeway on a hot night with both windows down
    -Dancing with the lights low and the music loud, a little drunk on gin
    -The sound of my husband saying my full first name
    -Caring for my garden on a sunny morning
    -Seeing my best girl friends after a long time

  115. Jac says...

    Any scenario that involves breakfast at a really good restaurant.
    The smell of plants after a rain.
    Doing a ton of crap around the house and THEN going to work ??.
    Realizing your income finally outweighs your current bills.

  116. Jodi says...

    – morning walks when the air is cool and fresh
    – clean sheets
    – exploring old houses (I love neat old plasterwork, arts and crafts tile, woodwork, cozy little nooks)
    – curling up with a good book and a mug of coffee on the screened porch
    – anything leafy and green
    – snuggling a new baby and the kissing the top of her head
    – falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves

  117. Christina says...

    The egg and cheese on an English muffin sandwich at Little Tart Bakeshop in Atlanta.

    Loved ones’ mirror faces! Think of anyone you’re close enough with to look into a bathroom mirror together, anyone who you’d “get ready” with. Think about the face they make in the mirror.
    -My mom raises her eyebrows and tucks her hair a certain way
    -My little sister does the same eyebrow raise plus stiffening her upper lip
    -My dad lowers his forehead and grabs his comb from his back pocket.
    -My friend Julia opens her eyes *real wide* and purses her lips
    -My husband opens his mouth a tiny bit.
    I find that little expression change so sweet, cute, vulnerable, heartwarming.

  118. Erin G. says...

    What a wonderful, lovely post (and the comments – as always – are everything).

    My contribution:
    – seeing an animal in nature I’ve never seen before
    – when my six-year-old makes me belly laugh
    – cooking something really delicious to share with others
    – when a phrase or passage in a book makes me put it down and stare into middle distance contemplating its perfection
    – leaping over a small stream in a park I jog through and feeling like a kid
    – the first glass of champagne on a special night
    – finishing a new piece of jewelry (I’m a metalsmith) and loving it so much I want to keep it for myself
    – hearing a great song for the first time (like in the background of a movie) and listening to a little snippet again and again until I can discern enough of the lyrics to Google it – and then finding it, listening to the whole thing, and loving it (and being amazed at the thought there are so many songs I will love in my life that have not been written yet)

  119. sand on my feet, dirt under my sneakers, ocean/pond swimming, sunsets, the moon, being outside, anything nature and creativity related, music, my family, my bf, friends, dogs. life and all it’s little things. tennis and the strength of my body, diversity and inclusion, toddlers and the sweet things children say, writing and sharing it with others – so many free and amazing things that i’ve strived to seek out everyday for my mental and personal well being. i wrote a long list here:

  120. Abbe says...

    Thank you Cup of Jo for giving me an excuse to think about happy things. :)
    – A big leisurely breakfast with lots of coffee and friends
    -Getting stuck in a good book on a rainy day…preferably with a warm beverage and a sweet treat
    -Feeling like I’m doing well at my job
    – Having a night to myself and cooking a delicious dinner just for me
    – The first sip of a glass of good wine
    – Swimming in a lake or the ocean on a hot day, with the promise of ice cream after
    – When I wake up in the morning on weekends and roll over and my partner pulls me in for cuddles
    – Making eye contact with a dog on the street
    – Nature everywhere always
    – The moment I call one of my best friends and they pick up
    – The feeling after a good workout
    – When the movie is about to start in the theater and the lights go down
    – Day-long hands with friends, wandering around a city
    Thanks for this exercise! I’m going to keep working on this list throughout the day.

  121. allison says...

    -coj comments, always
    -arranging fresh flowers in a vase and then finding the perfect spot for it
    -picking out the perfect greeting card for someone special
    -petting dogs & holding babies
    -driving with the windows down and my favorite music blasting
    -johnnyswim concerts
    -outdoor showers
    -feeling the breeze through open windows in my apartment
    -when i can perfectly articulate how i feel
    -reading Glennon Doyle Melton’s books
    -sitting near any kind of water and just watching it move
    -laughing and crying
    -google’s year in review videos
    -water with lemon
    -a good massage
    -the perfect salad to dressing ratio
    -when it’s still daylight outside at 8 pm
    -when my boyfriend runs his hands through my hair
    -laughing with girlfriends
    -dancing at weddings
    -a fresh haircut

    • Jen says...

      Yes to Johnnyswim concerts!

  122. Julia says...

    Aww this is a fun little mid-work week distraction. A few things that made me come alive just this past week:

    -Skype date w/ wine w/ my West coast bestie
    -An after dinner walk to our neighborhood playground w/ my preschooler, and stopping along the way to smell flowers
    -Free community yoga class under breezy oak trees
    -The first pool day of the summer and that first cold splash of water
    -Drinking local beer and eating pizza watching the Durham Bulls + a gorgeous summer sunset
    -The blue flower moon shining super bright this past weekend

  123. Mar says...

    If you have not read it I recommend them ” La première gorgée de bière et autres plaisirs minuscules” de Philippe Delerm. This book describes, with great tenderness and irony, the small pleasures of life, from the first drink of beer to the breakfast diary, through the smell of apples, the radio in the car, the cinema or the Tour de France….

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love this so much.

  124. Allyson says...

    Being the first one awake. Being outside early in the morning. Having the TV to myself to watch Fleabag or The Crown. Each new thing my toddler learns. A good podcast on my drive to work. Really good bread & butter (as a meal.)

    • jodell hammond says...

      i know there has been suggestions for podcasts before..but could it be time to see what favorites are now that time has passed? love seeing what people are listening to now!!

  125. Yulia says...

    The Orange

    At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
    The size of it made us all laugh.
    I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
    They got quarters and I had a half.

    And that orange, it made me so happy,
    As ordinary things often do
    Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
    This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

    The rest of the day was quite easy.
    I did all the jobs on my list
    And enjoyed them and had some time over.
    I love you. I’m glad I exist.

    — Wendy Cope

    • Abbe says...

      This was lovely Yulia, thanks for sharing!

    • Lauren says...

      In that vein, Today, by Frank O’Hara

      Oh! kangaroos, sequins, chocolate sodas!
      You really are beautiful! Pearls,
      harmonicas, jujubes, aspirins! all
      the stuff they’ve always talked about

      still makes a poem a surprise!
      These things are with us every day
      even on beachheads and biers. They
      do have meaning. They’re strong as rocks.

    • What a wonderful poem, Yulia! Thanks for sharing, I love it.

    • Sarah says...

      Yulia, this made me tear up at my desk. What a beautiful piece of poetry. Thank you so much for sharing!

  126. Amanda H. says...

    – books that I cannot put down
    – sarcastic, witty humor
    – seeing someone do a good deed
    – cashiers at Trader Joe’s (everyone there is impossibly nice)
    – fresh blueberries in my oatmeal
    – senior dogs and cats (I cannot get enough)
    – getting lost in a song or podcast
    – listening to a soon to be favorite band for the first time
    – running outside
    – seeing my niece smile
    – my diffuser (love it!)
    – sunshine

  127. Monica says...

    I love, love, love this post! I’m a new reader to this blog and this is one of the first one’s that I read. I enjoyed reading through everyone’s comments and I felt inspired to truly look at life through a lens of joy (not that tough times don’t or won’t come). Thanks for sharing!

    • Charlotte says...

      Hi Monica, welcome :) to the “come for the blog, stay for the comments” worldwidecrew of CoJ, it’s a fantastic bunch of people here!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, this is so cute!!! awww, love you guys. xoxoxo

    • Angela Leonard says...

      Same! I think (?) I’ve given up social media and this has taken its place. Still feeling that connection to others and getting to stay up on what’s new and beloved is a real treat.

  128. Tania says...

    Talking to strangers! on the subway, at the supermarket, on the lunch line at Dos Toros, in the comment section of Cup of Jo :)…I read recently that these little interactions can really boost your mood. And it’s true (even for this introvert)!

  129. Lauren E. says...

    a) It was cruel to post that photo. Now I must find waffles.

    b) Thanks for this post – just coming up with the list made me smile.

    c) The things that make me feel alive:
    – laughing with my husband until I can’t breathe about something really, really stupid
    – jelly legs from a really hard dance class
    – the shower after the beach
    – Eggs Benedict at Jines in Rochester, NY with my family
    – a campfire in the Adirondack Mountains in literally any season

  130. danielle says...

    A really intense, sweaty, heart-pumping workout class
    Driving on a sunny day with the windows down and country music on loud
    When your skin is a little bit sunburned from a great beach day
    Reading on the beach when the sun has just went down and it’s a little chilly
    The first sip of rose in May

  131. Rose says...

    I really love how we’re all building a little spot of happiness on the internet. Thank you, Joanna.

    – running or walking through the forest and hearing birds sing;
    – singing with other people, making lovely sounds and creating something together;
    – that exhilirated/heartbroken feeling at the end of a really great book;
    – hugging my (long-distance) husband at the airport after weeks apart;
    – laughing over breakfast;
    – waking up half an hour before my alarm clock.

  132. Sam H. says...

    -an eruption of weather that makes me look to the sky
    -finding a quote or a sentence that captures a feeling I never consciously thought about before (reminding me that we are all human/animals)
    -being put on the spot
    -listening to a song that feels just right for the specific moment
    -that feeling when traveling, when you find yourself amid the casual day to day of the locals and you feel like you get to be part of a bit of their life and culture
    -seeing a beautiful work of art (that strikes a chord for you)(including street art!)
    -hopping into a cold shower after a run on a hot summer day
    -having any sort of mishap that leads to pain (& sometimes that feeling of being such a vulnerable, breakable living thing)

    • Elle says...

      I really like how some of these are painful, and they also remind us that we are alive Xx

  133. Travel. Any kind. Taking a bus up the Hudson Valley or flying far away. A change of scenery is the most invigorating thing!

    Sitting outside on a warm day.

    Spending time with my pet bird. (All pets, really, just happen to share life with a bird right now.

    New York City (usually)

    Sleeping with open windows.

    Tropical rainstorms (I grew up in Ghana and hot rain always brings me straight home)

    • Christy says...

      Anja – I clicked over to your website – your illustrations are a happy point in my day today! LOVE them!

    • Holly says...

      I feel alive when I do things that remind me I am enough for myself (going to the movies alone, cooking and eating a solo bowl of pasta). But also, I feel alive when a friend does something thoughtful that reminds me I will never be alone (listening without interrupting, a handmade drawing on my birthday).

  134. Michelle says...

    *Morning solitude and that first sip of coffee before my girls wake up
    *The energy in everyone/everything on that first gorgeous spring day
    *Back floats in the ocean… just letting go and rising/falling with the waves
    *Golden Hour
    *Jumping on our trampoline :)
    *When my dogs nestle in at my sides when I sit to read a book
    *Clean sheets and freshly shaven legs
    *When you sit down for that first beer/glass of wine in a foreign city after a long day of travel
    *When my kids eat what I cooked and don’t complain!

  135. agnes says...

    What makes me feel alive?
    – waking up in the middle of nature (camping)
    – swimming in the ocean, naked, from my favorite beach where I live
    – this feeling of being aligned with the stars, right after I teach a Philosophy class
    – finding the right word to express my thoughts
    -having an orgasm
    – hugging my child and my husband in one big family hug
    – walking barefoot
    – being with my friend who is terminally ill

  136. Holly says...

    When you pick your little ones up from school and they are just SO EXITED to see you!

  137. Wilson says...

    From the notes section of my phone entitled “Happiness in no particular order”
    – chewing my new borns nails
    – watching the Seinfeld “reservation” clip
    – eating pretzels (the long stick kind)
    – freshly zambonied ice
    – taking off my bra at the end of the day
    – a reading chair big enough to rest your head AND curl up your feet
    – playing crib with gramma
    – buffet dinners at the lake, eating on the steps/grass/lap/deck/wherever you can find a spot amongst all the family
    – Americas Funniest Home Videos
    – phone calls with dad where we’re both driving, killing time
    – catching someone’s eye and communicating all the things without saying any of the things
    – the descent into Crooked Lake Valley
    – Winning at bean bag game
    – Sparkling snow
    – Inside jokes
    – “Y’all ready for this” song at the beginning of hbockey periods
    – Strawberries that taste like CANDY
    – Imagine by John Lennon
    – The perfect reading light

  138. Ashley says...

    Hiking in the mountains
    An achingly delicious meal
    Great sex

  139. Laura says...

    I just wrote down the quote “Instructions for living life” and posted it behind my desk at work. I looked up from my laptop and saw every beautiful thing I was missing, upon reading it. Thank you! This blog is one of the things that brings me joy in life!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That makes me so happy, Laura! Thank you for saying so <3

  140. Heidi says...

    The way my little girl’s curls feel in my fingers.
    The first sip of iced coffee when you’re trying to make room for a little cream.
    Talking about cheese with strangers in the cheese section of Trader Joe’s.
    A perfect chocolate chip cookie.

    • Kristiana says...

      I work two days a week at Trader Joe’s, Heidi, and seeing strangers talk amongst themselves either in the cheese or wine aisles always makes me smile :)

  141. floating in still, cool ocean water. harvesting tomatoes and basil from my garden and smelling the vines. waking up with a window open. that first sip of tea. reading something powerful. going down a big slide!

  142. Chloe says...

    -Jumping into a cool lake during the summer and popping back up to the surface refreshed
    -Sleeping during a rainy night
    -When you pet a puppy and they thank you by giving you big licks
    -Connecting with someone and figuring out they are your kind of weird
    -Dumping the contents of my messy backpack out to throw out rubbish and reorganize it
    -Finding your life’s soundtrack for different memories, places, and moods
    -The first bite of key lime pie
    -Riding a bike down a gently sloping hill
    -Rummaging through your childhood treasures and realizing you have really never changed

    • Chloe! All of these make me feel alive too. Love the bit about finding the people who are your kind of weird. :)

    • Victoria says...

      Chloe! these were all really really good :)

    • Chloe says...

      Aww thanks Sam and Victoria :)

  143. -A perfect, juicy mango
    -Local perfect strawberries that explode with flavor
    -Reading before bed
    -Coffee in the morning at home with the sun coming in
    -The smell of the bread I’m making as it rises
    -Finally feeling the warmth of the sun again after 6+ months of winter
    -Sandals after winter and that feeling of free feet
    -Rubbing a cat’s fuzzy tummy
    -Itty bitty kiddos bundled up and walking around in pouffy, bulky snowsuits
    -An ice cream cone on a day with blue skies, puffy clouds, warn sun and a light breeze
    -Seeing the ocean after years of not seeing it
    -Wearing jewelry I bought myself
    -When I feel confident in the outfit I’m in
    -Walking to work in great boots
    -Red lipstick
    -Getting into clean sheets right after a shower