Relationships

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.

Also:
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. Taylor says...

    -when my 6 mo old wakes up from our nap before me and lies there looking at his mommy
    -the first sip of coffee
    -swimming in the ocean then drying in the sun
    -a glass of wine on the back porch in the summer
    – a long walk and talk with a friend
    -finishing a tough fitness class
    -curling up in bed with a really good book
    -correctly answering a lot of questions on Jeopardy :)

  2. Elizabeth says...

    I’m so far out from the shore of feeling normal while going through infertility treatment these days. It’s hard to see anything else besides the endless doctors appointments, medication side effects, and the grief that comes with childlessness. I desperately needed this thread – when the question was asked in the post, I thought about it for a while but couldn’t come up with anything that makes me come alive this morning.

    But then I read the responses, and what a reminder of the glorious world I live in! For the first time in weeks I finally feel like I can see beyond the pain of what I’m feeling, and drift a little in this ocean instead of paddling so furiously towards the shore.

    I still have no answer to your question, so I will let your answers carry me for a while longer.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thanking of you, Elizabeth. That sounds really hard. Xoxo

    • M.S. says...

      Sending you buckets of love, Elizabeth.

    • Sara says...

      Sometimes it’s enough to be grateful for the world, Elizabeth. I’m sending you all the most peaceful and healing energy. I’m so sorry for your grief and the struggle you’re in the middle of. Much love to you.

  3. Anna says...

    Watching my twin boys (who we brought home 18 months ago as tiny, tiny premature babies after 6 long NICU weeks) getting all excited in their stroller, pointing, jumping up and down and yelling at the top of their lungs every Wednesday morning when they see the GARBAGE TRUCK in our street!

  4. Alice says...

    – learning something new about my boyfriend
    – a really excellent glass of wine with really delicious food
    – an intense spin class
    – getting an answer right at a pub quiz
    – waking up naturally to beautiful daylight
    – baking
    – being outside- at the beach, on the moors, in a park… literally just being outside!

  5. heather says...

    This post and all the comments are giving me life!!! I love reading through all of these comments and thinking about how wonderful people are, out there in the world noticing all these small, beautiful moments.

    my daughters waking up in the morning with their warm soft faces and sweet voices
    picking fruit from a plant in my garden
    watching a butterfly
    being on the beach when the water is the bluest blue
    watching dolphins
    seeing that a seed I planted has sprouted
    warm sun on my skin after swimming

  6. Sarah says...

    Thank you for this!
    The scent of Daffodils and the promise of spring it evokes.
    The purr of a cat- specifically my cats(obvs!).
    A dog’s wag- whole body joy.
    A baby’s laugh- oh, I smile at the thought.
    That wonderful anticipation of adventure when you plan your holiday (hard to articulate)
    The smell of old books…swoon.
    The coolness of a forest/shadows created by trees after being in the sunshine (again hard to articulate- sorry)
    The amusement caused by not being able to articulate joyous feelings!!!

  7. Looking at the sky
    Little beautiful things I spot on my cab ride to office
    (People being nice, puppy sitting on a bike, people holding hands etc)
    Friends or just colleagues randomly checking up on me

  8. Mouse says...

    Dancing with friends.
    Watching the garlic come up in the spring.
    Walking in the woods with a dog.
    Yoga.

  9. Laura C. says...

    I love this. It’s so uplifting. I feel like I want to meet all of you, fellow readers.🤗

  10. Sara Hagen says...

    Playing with fountain pens and ink, reading books of all kinds except horror, hot tea and milk in the morning. These are just a few of the things that make me feel alive. Oh, and watching the Red Sox defeat the Yankees.

  11. Puppy videos on Instagram!
    First bite of hot buttered toast and smell of coffee
    Handmade little things
    Managing to do a yoga pose for the first time
    Inhaling the smell of a person when you hug them

  12. Katy says...

    I am having a BAD day. In fact, scrap that, a bad month.
    My 7m old baby won’t sleep. She also won’t take a bottle. I go back to work full time in a week. I’m sleep deprived and grouchy. But I love this post and all the comments. I feel instantly hopeful in a way I haven’t felt in a long time, thank you all xoxo

  13. Learning basic Italian for my upcoming trip
    Daydreaming about my trip! ha!
    A kiss from my husband when he gets home from work
    Evening sunset walk

    • Julie says...

      I just came back from Italy last week (Venice, Florence, Rome) and used the Duolingo app so I wouldn’t sound like a moron :) Guess what, I did anyway but the people in Italy seemed to understand. Have the BEST time!

  14. Cece says...

    Going out for brunch and perusing a menu *filled* with things I want to eat
    Sneaking out for a solo walk somewhere green with a podcast and my headphones
    A head massage when I get my hair cut. Or a proper back massage, ahhhh
    A game of Risk or Ticket to Ride with my family or best friends (my husband hates board games, ha!)
    Sitting in a really warm hot tub or an outdoor pool on a cold day
    Stepping out into a new city
    Taking my little girl for ice cream. Or to the swimming pool, which is her happiest of happy places

  15. – Slightly melted butter on warm fresh bread
    – Dappled sunlight on walls
    – Picking fruit straight from the tree
    – That first rush of endorphins during a run, so brief but so powerful you feel you might take off and fly
    – When my husband leaves my pyjamas to warm on the radiator after I have a bath
    – Watching my husband sleeping
    – Feeling the kicks and rolls of our first baby (33 weeks over here!)
    – Sharing a cup of earl grey and a proper conversation with my Mum
    – Sharing a bottle of wine and uninhibited, belly laugh filled talk with friends
    – The sound of birds just before sunrise
    – The unbridled, limitless love of a dog (looking at you Joanna)
    – Reading a book so good you hold it against your heart for a little while after you finish it

    There are so many more. Life is so GOOD! Interesting how little buying things and reaching ‘goals’ features… perhaps a reminder to enjoy the simple stuff, right?

    • Anna says...

      ok, this one made me cry :)

    • Oh, this! ” – Reading a book so good you hold it against your heart for a little while after you finish it”
      Spot on! I had never put words on this feeling!

  16. Julia says...

    Swimming in a lake always feels so special, it is such a gift that I totally feel lost in the present and worship to be alive. Luckily, I live at the border of a vast, beautiful lake. ;-)

  17. Anna says...

    Oh my God, the hot priest on Fleabag! Can we please talk about this for a while? I mean I haven’t been myself 😂

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Omg yes! He is TOO MUCH. Their chemistry is off the charts. And they truly get each other.

  18. Jamie says...

    -Watching successful women at work use compassion and other traditional ‘female’ qualities to get shit done
    -Inter-species animal friendships!
    -The first few sips of an ice-cold gin and tonic
    -A walk at dusk when no one has shut their curtains yet but the lights are on so I can decide which house I’d choose to live in
    -That first half hour of silence once my babies are in bed
    -Morning cuddles with those same delicious babies

    • Yvette LaLonde says...

      Jamie, really love that first one! Signed, A Female Construction Project Manager

  19. MozartsGirl says...

    ALL of these are so wonderful and they all have me saying ‘yes!’ over and over…thank you, Jo, for starting this joyous conversation. I would add:
    – Listening to Mozart on a warm evening after a long day, with a crisp cold gin & tonic
    -when the lights go down at the movies or the theatre
    – when the shops close on Christmas Eve
    – when I walk out of the dentist’s office after an ‘all clear’ check up
    – finding a £5 note in an old jacket pocket
    – standing in the Arrivals Hall at Heathrow waiting for my sister and her kids to arrive from Australia…and that moment when they crash through the doors and just RUN at me…
    – my husband cooking dinner on a Friday evening, humming to himself and passing me little ‘taster’ morsels every so often
    – getting into a freshly laundered bed and feeling our dog curl into the crook of my knees
    – finding the perfect red lipstick and seeing my face come alive
    – standing in an English field full of summer wildflowers and hearing a skylark singing its heart out…
    – Reruns of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ on a rainy afternoon

  20. Nigerian Girl says...

    – Climbing into my bed at the end of the day.
    – The smell of fresh rainwater after a long dry spell.
    – Reading a spectacular book and feeling as though it was written for me.
    – The smell of freshly baked bread.
    – The look on someone’s face when I give them a gift they genuinely love.
    – Eating out in a great restaurant with a great friend.
    – Bumping into a loved one I haven’t seen or heard from in a while.
    – A message from a stranger saying my writing moved them in some way.

    • Nigerian Girl says...

      – The perfect shade of red lipstick on my lips.
      – Wearing an outfit that makes me happy.
      – Home makeover reveal videos.
      – Adorable dogs and cats.
      – Dreaming of going somewhere, and finally going there.

  21. rach says...

    -Mid day nap in air conditioning after a day in the hot sun.
    -The smell of my daughters hair when i kiss her head.
    -Hosting and making a really yummy meal for people i love, at my house
    -Going to the airport for a flight.
    – Really good music that sinks deep in my soul & makes me feel deep emotions.
    -My first cup of coffee of the day.
    -A good movie at the theater.
    -The smell of my hair when I’ve been at a windy beach.
    -Red wine.
    -Making people laugh.
    -Live music.

    (reading the comments to this post really makes my heart so warm and fuzzy, thanks for posting it)

  22. Kika says...

    Yeah, that priest…!

  23. Krysten says...

    – little kid giggles
    – reading with my kiddos
    – a cat or dog on my lap
    – my kids curled up in bed together because the youngest is scared.
    – peonies
    – the stars on a clear night
    – mashed potatoes
    – the frog song coming from our pond at night
    – clean sheets
    – a really good triple cream cheese
    – that perfect red nail polish
    – the really still water on a lake in the morning
    – achingly beautiful choral music
    – a squishy armchair
    – wildflowers

  24. Lisa says...

    Coffee
    The air on a spring evening – it’s been a cold in London until now, and very early Sunday morning (like 3am) I stepped outside and it was that warmish air and the realisation that I wasn’t cold
    Morning snuggles with my babies
    Watching a movie (doesn’t happen much at the moment)
    Going to the beach
    Floating in the sea and letting the waves hold you
    Standing back and looking at a nicely organised cupboard
    Picking fluff out of my husband’s belly button. I never collect fluff there so I have to make do with his

  25. Valentine says...

    A good run in the cool of the morning, climbing into fresh sheets after a shower, a sundress on a warm and breezy day, finding a quote/poem/verse/song that is simply beautiful. When my baby falls asleep on me. A clean house with fresh flowers. First pick at the farmer’s market. A favorite family photo, framed. Al fresco meals with friends.

  26. * first coffee made by my fiancé
    * hot buttered toast with vegemite
    * a glass of wine while preparing dinner
    * designing dinner for loved ones
    * making time for loved ones
    * my fiancé snuggling into me at night

  27. – the yeasty scent of my dog’s paws
    – watching someone read a book and catching their sudden smile or tear that escapes them
    – cheese in all forms
    – ribbons of cream dissolving into coffee
    – the moment right before the first kiss, when both your heads are tilted and there’s an unspoken knowingness of what’s about to happen
    – freckles in unexpected places
    – women complimenting women
    – when the “om” is in perfect tune (as a yoga teacher, I get chills most days I teach, watching people’s energy transform. It’s beautiful and heart-wrenching)
    – dimples

  28. Amanda says...

    – Laying in the hammock while listening to nature and playing children
    – “Mummy, I have something I want to tell you.”
    – Belly laughs from my cheeks-for-days baby
    – Watching my children surprise themselves with their abilities
    – Warmth directly from the sun
    – The loving tap of my husband’s hand on my bottom
    – The rare feeling of meeting a new friend and knowing they’re a kindred spirit
    – Checking off the last item on a list

  29. Julie says...

    What a great topic!
    Here are some of mine:
    – sticking your nose basically inside of your baby’s mouth to breathe in their angel breath
    – a kiss from my hubby, anytime, anywhere
    – when I have a vivid dream about my mom, I can hear her voice and remember exactly how she smelled and how warm it felt when she hugged me
    – looking at the view from our back porch, especially during a full moon
    – The moments right after my babies were born are etched into my heart forever and ever. The best combination of relief and happiness!
    – getting good at something after a lot of practice
    -watching my kiddos get good at something after a lot of practice
    -exploring a new place
    -ocean swimming
    -completing a great hike with my whole family and being grateful we have the time to spend together
    -flowers, out on neighborhood walks, in botanical gardens, in our home
    -deciding to go to bed early some nights
    -waking up without feeling tired
    – going out for a walking date night, in which my husband and I make no advanced plans other than booking the babysitter… Love love love the feeling of having a few hours together and seeing where the wind takes us that night
    – looking at photo albums of my childhood and thinking I had the best childhood possible
    -making photo albums for our kids
    -looking at old photos in general, especially of people in different times and places
    -snuggling up to read with the kiddos
    -dreaming of trips we plan to take

  30. Deanne says...

    – The New York Times on Sunday morning with the perfect cup of coffee.
    – Hanging out on a screened in porch in the summer.
    – A long conversation in the car about nothing and everything with my best friend in between errands.
    – A perfect margarita, chips and salsa.
    – Watching a thunderstorm.
    – Browsing in an old bookstore.
    – Anyone reading to me.
    – Any weekend day with no agenda.
    – Snuggling with my daughter just before it’s time to get up

  31. ML says...

    – walking alone in the forest before the sun and my kids are fully up and being mesmerized by the ferns, bird songs, and squirrels
    – how the dogs find the floor by my bed each evening and stay close until they go to bed
    – my daughter practicing her classical piano piece for her recital downstairs
    – friends who respond with so much love when I rage text about something that hurt me
    – finding the perfect art piece I’ve wanted for years, for a song
    – the fading peonies from Trader Joes creating an O’Keeffe on my table
    – the full body exhale I know I am about to feel when I crawl into bed
    – doing a job I love
    – the show Abstract on Netflix (and watching it transfixed with my high schoolers)
    – the ice cold water next to my bed in the middle of the night

    • allegra says...

      Have you seen Sky Ladder??? Also amazing!

    • ML says...

      I haven’t. I’ll look for it. Thank you!

  32. Meg says...

    My 6 year old’s three missing teeth and accompanying lisp. With every sweet word I can hear my future self whisper to soak it in and remember how little he once was.

    The sunrise during my early commute.
    My husband’s warm hands.
    Freshly sharpened pencils.
    “New Episode” on my favorite show.
    A clean kitchen.
    My mama.

  33. Jaclyn says...

    -Wild raspberries
    -Unprompted ‘I love you’ from my children
    -Growing my own bouquet of flowers
    -Reveling in the bliss and silence after finishing a new favorite book at 2am
    -The weight and security of my husband next to me in bed
    -Just holding the cup of fresh coffee and knowing what’s in store – the anticipation is intoxicating
    -The night sky
    -A good orange

    • Jaclyn says...

      And clean sheets!

  34. Elisa says...

    – The moment right after my kids were born. I felt such a rush of love mixed with Superwoman pride.
    – Hiking through a forest especially when it’s brisk
    – The first few moments before a movie starts at the theater
    – Diving into ocean waves
    – Watching the night sky (so why don’t I do it more often?)
    – Finishing a book you know will leave you thinking and missing it for a long time

  35. Sonja says...

    Moments of clarity; when you feel your soul buzz in recognition.

    The smell of really cold air, like when it’s about to snow and breathing in hurts a little bit.

    When your cry a little bit when you finish a really good book.

    Everything Gemma Burgess has ever said on Instagram. She perfectly articulates my rage at the news in a way that makes me feel really happy that swear words exist.

    When my husband says hi to me like I’m home and he’s made it and it’s all ok.

    When my three year old says, “Oh, Mama, you wanna snuggle me, ok?” He then tilts his head and smiles because he’s mastered manipulation.

    Listening to my husband and son have chats at night.

    The Cookie from Met Market in Seattle. We will move back and The Cookie is easily in the top five reasons of why.

  36. Zsuzsa says...

    I am a stay at home mom, so jut being alone, going to the church, coffe, cake, chocolate just for me, books, books, books, a bed just for myself
    :-))

  37. S says...

    – Singing when no one is around
    – Getting a Dorito chip with a lot of powder on it
    – The first sip of coffee
    – Falling in love and learning they love you back
    – Sharing something on social media and not caring if you get any ‘Likes’
    – The perfect egg and cheese sandwich
    – Family time
    – Coming across an old song that never gets old
    – Breakfast tacos
    – Coming across an old comment you left on Cup of Jo (Regarding a breakup) after you’ve broken up with someone and taking your own advice

    I like breakfast :)

  38. Jenn says...

    Kickboxing, yoga, and barre classes. I love feeling exhausted, sweaty, and strong. I usually try to do two classes back to back when I can.
    The perfect GIF response.
    Kid snuggled against me.
    Watching a child learn to read. Their eyes scanning the page for a clue when they get stuck on a word.
    A great new song on repeat. Even better once I learn the lyrics and can sing along.
    The edge/crust of pizza where the sauce kind of pools in there.
    Dopamine kick when a text from a crush comes through. They all earn a special ringtone.
    A brilliant full moon.
    Golden hour light for photography.
    Night swimming.
    Night swinging.
    Cracking fires.

  39. Rachel says...

    What a wonderful, thought provoking post with so many great comments!

    The priest! Gah, I love that show and season 2 of ‘Fleabag’ so much!

    Also:
    Arriving in a foreign city at night (similar to the 1st 12 hours in a new city!)
    Stargazing on the beach by a bonfire with wine(particularly from New Zealand)
    A beautiful sunset
    Spending time with my sweet nieces
    Seeing art/theater that moves me (The David, Dear Evan Hanson, Hamilton)
    I second the girls nights after a few drinks when things get honest!
    Bookstores
    Train travel
    Completing an endurance event (marathon, Ironman (IMAX 2013!), hiking a 14er)
    Traveling solo
    Hiking to a waterfall (and hiking in general!)
    Researching/planning a trip
    Hot yoga

  40. Jodi says...

    Dangling my feet.

    If your feet are dangling (off the side of a dock, the edge of a pool, while sitting in a swing) you are chillin’ and feeling alive.

    • Maddy says...

      Jodi, my sister gave me one of those ‘story people’ prints and it says “they came to sit and dangle their feet off the edge of the world and after awhile they forgot everything but the good and true things they would do someday”

      Now when we talk about adventures, big or small, or needing to feel alive and part of the world we say that we need to go dangle our feet somewhere! Best feeling in the world

  41. Cassie says...

    My daughter’s smile
    A cloud filled sunset
    Learning anything about space
    Eating the first perfect strawberry of summer
    Slipping into a freshly made bed

    Just the simply things…

  42. Jennyg says...

    Moving back to Chicago from SoCal and experiencing spring color again
    14 yr old girls laughing
    The last moments of a really good book
    The drive home from my sons winning hockey game
    Looking into a horses eyes
    Snow falling on a Saturday morning

  43. T says...

    Michael Scott is delicious

  44. Anne says...

    – One on one conversations with each of my boys
    – Fireflies!
    – Running at sunrise (even though I haven’t done it in years)
    – Discovering a new favorite picture book
    – Getting under the blankets and using my toes to remove my socks

  45. Kristen McCann says...

    -Star jasmine in LA in the spring
    -Hot coffee, milk, sofa, book
    -Laughing or crying with friends
    -lake winnepesaukee evening with my husband and a cold beer
    -reading with the kiddos

  46. Callie says...

    When I was growing up, my dad would always pour the watermelon juice off the cutting board into a cup just for me. This weekend my husband did the same thing.

  47. Marisa says...

    Gently removing my boob from my toddler’s mouth for the last time before she drifts off to sleep and instantly transforms from a wild thrashing beast-child into the sweetest, softest little chunk of flesh who ever lived and who I instantly miss until we reunite at 6 am

  48. Madison says...

    We moved from Utah to Seattle 9 months ago and just got back from our first trip back home so here is my “visiting home” themed list:
    -a kids room prepared by nana complete with letter blocks spelling out my sons’ names
    -unexpectedly running into friends at a concert while visiting from 900 miles away
    -fresh snow on the mountains
    -lavender honey London fogs
    -hugging my best friend goodbye as he kisses my baby’s head and ruffles his hair
    -desert rain
    -blooming cactus
    -watching my husband teach our sons how to make a fire
    -listening to podcasts on a long road trip
    -the joy of my children making s’mores
    -toddlers snuggled in sleeping bags
    -watching good friends meet and become friends with each other
    -having tears in my eyes while saying good bye and seeing the tears in my best friend’s eyes
    -arriving back home and sleeping in my own bed

  49. Paulina says...

    I have had a difficult but transformative year, and what’s gotten me through are the little things. Hearing the birds when I wake up, flowers popping up through the soil when it felt like winter lasted forever, smelling freshly ground coffee. Lots of love for the little things!

  50. Kattia says...

    -SoulCycle
    -Breakfasts at Egg with kids
    -dinners at Oxomoco with Husband
    -The perfect cocktail
    -picking up my kids from school with hugs & kisses
    -spritzing my face with Rose water
    -Also, the priest from Flea bag
    ; )

  51. Yvonne says...

    OMG, the Fleabag hot priest, yes. So glad I’m not the only one!

  52. Lucy says...

    I always feel alive when I feel a little hand creep into mine; ride my bike; watch my kids learn how to ride their bikes; practice yoga; spend time with my college girlfriends; definitely crying/laughing while trying to tell a joke; and listening to music.

  53. Terry says...

    Bending down to smell a perfect lilac in May–so short-lived.
    A funny text from my brothers that makes me laugh out loud.
    A teenager unselfconsciously practicing a dance move in Tompkins Square Park.
    Eating outside in a garden on a very cool spring morning with lovely company and spicy chai.
    Talking to someone who says, Yes! That’s exactly how I feel.
    Receiving a gift of herbs picked on a mountaintop in Greece from someone who just got back.
    Having a butterfly land on me and linger a moment.
    Hearing a mourning dove outside my window in the morning.
    Reading the words I need at the right moment.
    Seeing a rainbow.
    Seeing the full moon in the sky or reflected in water.
    Having a dear one say, I missed you.

  54. Maddy says...

    – The smell of the air in Hawaii
    – Driving along the beach with the window down holding my husband’s hand
    – When the entire family rocks out to a song
    – “This (meal) is so good mom!”
    – When big brother makes little sister laugh so hard she can’t quite breathe
    – A full circle moment or realization that makes you just take a deep breath and smile
    – Meeting a newborn baby
    – And recently the best… watching your child achieve a goal, learn something new, and be genuinely proud of themselves!

  55. Lorraine says...

    – sunshine and the smell of spring are my go-tos
    – but i also love walking slowly through spring rain (under an umbrella)
    – my kids (ages 2.5 and 6) plopping down onto my lap and fighting for space. i love it even when elbows jab me
    – looking forward to a walk or commute so i can listen to favorite songs
    – watching the Portland Trail Blazers
    – coffee with cocoa powder
    – opting for a half hour walk home instead of taking the bus
    – writing in journals

  56. Dallas says...

    Picking yard bouquets, adult dance class, a glass of white wine alfresco, retail therapy with 1 (only 1 at a time!) of my daughters, art museums, adult bike riding, articulating an idea on paper really well.

  57. B says...

    My husband and I spent our 20s in Tanzania. So many of my favorites are nostalgia for that time in my life and the friends I was with.
    – crispy, buttery garlic naan at an outside restaurant by kerosene lantern
    – the smell of frangipani and spices at Zanzibar’s spice market
    – friends code switching arbitrarily between multiple languages
    – the beginning of a long weekend with no plans other than to sleep in

    Now that I have kids, other moments spark joy
    – when my youngest son was learning to say his brother’s name
    – when kids climb out of the bath and are all squeeky and smell like soap; then they run around the house naked and free and full of joy
    – when my five year old gives compliments. Today he told my husband, “dad you’re great. I love everything about you except that you drink coffee in the afternoon.” ?!?! So strange.
    – ice cream cones. They are always so overjoyed by ice cream. It’s hard not to enjoy that.

    With my friends from college and childhood
    – they’ve seen me at my worst. They know everything about me. I don’t have to pretend to be anything. It’s like the first crisp day of fall. Cozy. Refreshing.
    – pizza from that place you ordered from in college at 2 am
    – watching my friends’ kids and my kids play. It’s compounding joy.

  58. CC says...

    + sleeping with lots of layers of blankets and quilts on a cold night
    + making my family a hot breakfast on the weekends
    + satisfying calm and full body fatigue after a hard workout
    + praying and handing my worries off to someone who can help me
    + picnic dinners in the summer
    + seeing the band first walk on stage
    + my husband making me coffee every morning
    + bare feet in the summer
    + telling the old people in my life naughty things
    + old people telling me naughty things which I then repeat at book club
    + a good book…. because always
    + my toddler breaking out into spontaneous song and dance
    + witnessing public servants kicking ass and making a difference
    + picking out the good stamps at the post office

  59. Adrienne says...

    – Hot yoga, then shower, then Indian food with my husband
    – Spring morning run at dawn when the neighborhood smells like flowers
    – My two sweet kitties asleep in bed with us
    – My 15-year-old twin nieces
    – Thunderstorms, forever and always!
    – Sunday night family dinners
    – San Francisco’s Ferry Building
    – Champagne
    – My mom’s chicken salad
    – My dad playing the piano
    – Laughing with my twin sister until I can’t breathe

  60. Ooh! Love this!
    – When I read aloud something I’ve written in class and someone laughs (somebody! anybody)
    – When my niece and nephew fling themselves at me to give me hugs
    – When my dogs run to me at the beach
    – When my husband puts his hands on the small of my back
    – When a new client sends me a Beyonce emoji in response to the email I designed for her company
    – When I hold the hard pose in yoga a second longer than I did the class before
    – When I’m sipping an iced coffee on the first warm day of spring

    I needed this today! ❤️

  61. MelTown says...

    A day at the beach.

    The bustle of a big city.

    A visit to New Orleans.

    Listening to my kids tell stories.

    Making people laugh.

    Making people food.

    Making people.

    Going into a meeting full of men and dominating the room.

    Getting dressed up, going outside (at night!), and pretending I’m not a mom for a few hours.

    Hot, sweaty, busy Saturdays that end with a good shower, good bourbon, and good sex.

  62. Chrissie says...

    I love these, plus: that time of year when you can leave the window open when you go to bed but you still need a little blanket.

    What makes my heart ache most (in a good way) is noticing when people care for and watch out for others.

    For example, the other day I was walking down the street at night and I saw a preteen aged boy walking with a little boy, probably about five. When they went to cross in the cross walk the older boy put his hand on the little boys chest to tell him to stop and not cross. When it was time to cross, the older boy patted the little boys back and they crossed together. Such a small thing but the way the older boy instinctively protected the little boy made me want to cry.

    • NJ says...

      I so love the way you described this scene, it made me tear up. Witnessing (or doing or receiving) small acts of kindness is transformative.

  63. Tammy says...

    – Brisk walks during these not-too-hot spring days.
    – Watching the sun sink down behind the hedges with a glass of wine as the sky changes colors from fiery sherbet hues to velvety night.
    – Leaving the windows open at night, enjoying something sweet and playing old blues albums.
    – Fresh bouquets.
    – A plate of spaghetti.

  64. Alison says...

    -caring for my garden and plants
    -sending someone a gift I know they will love and getting confirmation of that
    -nailing a new technique in kuk sool won
    -hot chocolate on Saturday morning
    -in season fruit
    -jamming on a good video game
    -snugs from my cats

  65. Diana says...

    -as I’m in bed at night, thinking about all the energy I’ll have tomorrow (which doesn’t come to fruition :) )
    -morning coffee on the weekends
    -summertime barbecuing!
    -getting recognition at work
    -whenever I have a wide smile moment

  66. Sarah says...

    Reading these after a tough couple of days, recovering from my second miscarriage in six months. I needed all of these reminders of how very good life is. Thank you.

    • Hannah says...

      Oh Sarah. My heart goes out to you.

  67. Going for a long run in the rain. It’s the BEST feeling to be out there with a pounding heart, soaked through your clothes, and all alone.

  68. Kari says...

    *drinking very hot cocoa tucked in blankets before anyone else wakes up in the house

    *freshly washed sheets (HEAVENLY)

    *water aerobics with women x2 my age and soaking in the hot tub after with them laughing together about life

    *watching my husband play with my kids

    *painting my toenails on the deck on a warm evening

    *running a mile

    *getting sucked into a good book

    *hearing my kids belly laugh

    *laughing so hard I cry

    *being on the water

  69. Frida says...

    These comment are absolutely magnificent! It’s made me borderline giddy to add my list.
    The pull of the ocean and the sand when you first put your feet in.
    Hearing the high school football game from our house, a few blocks away. (The marching band!)
    The startup sound that Macs make when I’m excited to work/write.
    The weight of my baby’s head in the crook of my elbow.
    The heavy, sleeping breath of my oldest on my shoulder.
    The sound of sleeping backs rustling when you wake up while camping.
    The feeling of a cat asleep on your legs.
    The taste and smell of strong coffee.
    Champagne bubbles tickling my nose and lips.
    Being woken up by thunder.
    Seeing my breath for the first time every winter.
    Lying on rocky beaches or damp grass and watching my husband skip stones and fly kites.

  70. Waking up with my dog during our morning walk. It makes me so emotional every time because I love my neighborhood, and I love seeing my dog do quirky things like literally stopping to smell the roses. Or seeing her start off her walk with yawns and eyes barely open to ending the walk with a perky butt and a wagging tail.

  71. JC says...

    The joy of canceled plans makes me happy. That means unexpected free time to something other than obligations. Love it and wish I had more of them (I’m an introvert).

    • Ginger M. says...

      Yes, yes, yes!!!!

  72. Sara says...

    Riding a grocery cart through the parking lot
    Dipping my toes in too cold ocean water
    When the air temperature is the exact same as my body temperature

  73. Nicole says...

    The first sip of coffee in the morning..

    Cooking for friends and family

    A quiet afternoon with a good book

    Friends with gossip

    The sweet anticipation of a trip or social event

    Post workout bliss!

  74. Jo says...

    I’m reading Charlotte’s Web to my 5 year old, and we got to this part tonight:
    “When the first light comes into the sky and the sparrows stir and the cows rattle their chains, when the rooster crows and the stars fade, when early cars whisper along the highway, you look up here and I’ll show you something. I will show you my masterpiece.”
    It took my breath away and was such a good reminder to appreciate all of spring’s masterpieces right now. So! To answer your question, spring makes me feel alive, and so does reading with my daughter.

    • I read Charlotte’s web to my daughter (this year my daughter and son) every spring equinox and this is one of my FAVORITE parts!

  75. Cate says...

    I’m loving these so much.
    -The first sips of coffee.
    -Waking up early to a dark, quiet house while my family is sleeping.
    -The smell of chimneys, bonfires, and campfires in cold air.
    -Hearing a favorite song I haven’t heard in years at cardio hip-hop.
    -Snuggling with my kids.
    -Twisting and getting a surprise solid back crack.
    -Reading with my new readers (my eyes let out a sigh when I put them on).
    -California burritos and Pacificos with lime after a long day at the beach.

    • Nicole says...

      You read my mind (and are prob from SD too? Cali burrito fo life)

    • Genna says...

      1-3, yes!

  76. Julie says...

    -Dreaming of the future and imagining all the great things that lie ahead
    -the satisfaction of diligently weeding and tending my garden
    -watching the birds in my backyard at dusk
    -going to my local bookstore with an iced latte in hand and exploring aisles and aisles of books
    -laying in the grass with my son and looking for 4 leaf clovers
    – feeding our backyard chipmunk peanuts and watching him stuff his cheeks super-full, then run excitedly back to his house (behind our shed?)

  77. Natalie says...

    – a cup of coffee made by my husband and sitting by our pool with it
    -scent of freshly cut grass in the summer
    – a really sweaty run
    – my kids tucked into my arms on each side while I read them a book
    – a good sermon at church
    -night swimming in the summer with the kids

  78. michaela says...

    – Encountering a friendly kitty while walking around your neighborhood
    – Stepping outside of your tent into the cold morning on a camping trip
    – Opening the freezer and finding that my spouse secretly bought my favorite flavor of ice cream
    – That blissful smirk on my face as I exit the yoga studio that I don’t notice I’m doing until I have to make eye contact with someone
    – Reaching the first viewpoint on an arduous hike
    – A stranger deliberately smiling at me as we pass on the sidewalk (I live in a very introverted city, no one ever does this so it’s truly a thrill when it happens!)
    – The first good [insert seasonal produce here] of the season

  79. Reg says...

    The hot priest is like an Irish Mark Ruffalo! The mannerisms

    -the smell of honeysuckles
    -being around people on the same wavelength as you
    -going down a moderately scary waterslide
    -rollerskating with my 4 year old while he rides his scooter
    -meditation
    -whenever my 1 year old says, “mama!”
    -wedging clay
    -witnessing kindness between strangers

    • Julie Wheeler says...

      oh he totally is! couldn’t put my finger on it till now.

  80. Jojo says...

    Walking slowly down the street and noticing all the different flowers blooming in gardens and window boxes.

    Sharing a smile, a wave, and even a greeting with the conductor when I get off the first car of the T.

  81. Julie says...

    -walking around my city in light floral dresses when it’s breezy
    -reading a good book on my deck with a glass of wine
    -cooking a simple meal with fresh ingredients
    -long phone calls with my mom
    -watching thunderstorms roll in, I love the way the air changes
    -when I say something so ridiculous that my husband laughs until he cries
    -the way he kisses the back of my neck
    -seeing animals in the wild act funny
    -listening to little kids speak in other languages than English. I was just in Italy and a little girl was yelling to her parents “Andiamo!” while waiting for the vaporetto and it made me smile.

  82. Kate says...

    Outdoor showers on sunny days,
    a roaring fire in the morning on a dark day
    a good novel on a rainy day,
    my children home from their adventures and all safe under my roof for the night ,
    the soft place just below and behind my husbands ear lobe when I kiss him
    the smell of horses and hay in a barn
    the sound of a giggle quickly followed by a splash
    pulling in to the driveway at the end of the day

  83. Chelsea says...

    All of the above… This post (and comments) made me cry & made my heart feel full :)

    Pausing to think of the things that make me come alive make me come alive.

    • Kristie says...

      I’m crying too! Big life is overwhelming and hard at the moment, so little life moments like these are sustaining me. Good to pause and think on good things xx

    • Heather says...

      Yes! I agree!! Such a wonderful post!

    • Michelle says...

      Yes! Just being reminded to think of all the things! xoxox

  84. Laura says...

    Browsing at a really good bookstore
    Seeing a painting that seems to emit its own light
    A hot shower on a cold day
    Receiving a letter or package from a friend
    A good long walk on a beautiful day
    An ice cream cone that I don’t have to share with anyone

    • Emma says...

      This has inspired me to send some mail and care packages to some distant friends!

  85. Dana says...

    * the feeling of a friend french braiding my hair 
    * arriving in a hotel room and opening all the drawers & closets, finding the hair dryer & the ironing board, the hand lotion & the gideon’s bible
    * an unexpectedly near-empty train car during peak hours
    * letting my arms hang heavy and swinging them from side to side
    * snail mail
    * biting into a pocket of butter hidden in the nooks and crannies of an english muffin
    * volunteering to slice the watermelon and getting the first taste
    * teasing my dad (in a good-natured way)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I love these!

  86. Taylor says...

    – Catching up with an old friend
    – A walk through a new city
    – Freshly made coffee made by my significant other
    – Dogs playing on the beach
    – Being near any large body of water (lakes, oceans, rivers)
    – Pretty skies and stunning sunsets
    – Spring flowers and that bright spring green
    – The smell of rain

  87. Lauren says...

    That effing priest, man!

    •that feeling right before your first cup of coffee in the morning
    •that rush of excitement when you hear your sweaty headed toddler stir from her nap. i get excited to see her every time (well, most😂)
    •breakfast for dinner
    •playing at old school arcades with my husband
    •eating outside with my little family
    •dreaming of taking our girls abroad
    •house slippers
    •the worlds best blankets: Saranoni, I legit live underneath mine
    •that spark of meeting a like minded woman where you know you’ve connected and feel a ‘sameness’ in your spirit.

    • Ker says...

      Yes — especially that last one <3

  88. Barb says...

    Going on a long run in a new city. Waking up early before my 1 year old and having a quiet cup of coffee. Baby giggles. Sunday morning sourdough pancakes with my husband (and now baby). Fresh flowers.

  89. Bryn says...

    – Dancing with my husband in our living room
    – watching my dog get SUPER muddy while playing outside
    – a book so great I have to finish it in one sitting
    – cocktails on vacation
    – belly laughing with family

    • Julie says...

      Love these ❤️

  90. T says...

    – the light through leaves
    – the sound of rain
    – a good deep conversation
    – water
    – feeling small in nature
    – crisp breeze on my face
    – big clean smells, the sea, the forest etc

    • Jen says...

      Yes

  91. kathleen says...

    Hour three of a girls night at a friend’s house when we all start telling the real stuff and the raunchy stuff and the funny stuff.
    The feeling I get when I drive through my hometown after a few years away and think “that was the house I met Erin in…….that is the parking lot I kissed Alex in…..that’s the Taco Bell that I almost peed my pants in during junior year because I was laughing at something Amanda said.”
    When a baby laughs at a funny face I make.
    The first three seconds after I climb into a very hot bath (I swear, that feeling is as good as sex!)
    Being in another room and hearing my son say “Beatrice, you are such a good dancer” to my three-year-old daughter.
    The first hour at the airport when my husband and I are taking a trip together without the kids and we drink two margaritas and are so giddy with freedom that an airport feels like the most fun place in the universe.
    Dancing to Lizzo. Singing along to Lizzo. Hearing my three-year-old yell-sing “WHY A MAN GREAT UNTIL THEY GOTTA BE GREAT”
    (Life is so good. It really is.)

    • Grace says...

      Yes to all things Lizzo! I would love to hear your 3 year old yell-sing all of Truth Hurts

    • Maya says...

      A really deliciously good, long build-up orgasm. The kind where you kind of lose control and go blind for a few moments.

      Secretly (and not so secretly) taking a huge smell of my children’s heads.
      Clean babies in fresh pyjamas.
      Singing along to ‘I want it That way’ in the car
      When a song you love comes on in an unexpected place
      The smell of November in London (bonfires and fireworks)
      Foggy mornings
      When a random man is wearing the scent of an old boyfriend
      Days when a bunch of your friends all decide to contact you on the same day
      A line in a novel that hits you in the soul & you have to put the book down for a minute to take a breath

      THAT PRIEST.

    • A Martin says...

      Hour three! I love that! So true!

    • Sarz says...

      Yes, Kathleen! I don’t even have children, and I could still feel I relate.
      Your son sounds like an enlightened little dude.

      And now I need to queue up some Lizzo. Stat.

  92. Katie says...

    Today? Catching a subway right before the doors close!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Reminds me of sliding doors!

  93. Becky says...

    Dogs playing on the beach
    Soho
    My husband’s laugh
    Reading central park benches
    The goodnight exhale my dog releases when we turn the light off for bed
    Motown
    Animal (of the Muppets)

    • alison says...

      When my dog takes a deep sigh in bed at night it kills me every time — like he’s had a tough day! I love it so much.

      PS: Jo – get a dog! :)

  94. janee says...

    Walking in the wild 350 acre park in my neighborhood and just – NATURE.
    TCHO Hazelnut Chunk
    A really great book – (just finished Circe: it dwelled a bit too long on the verbal abuse, imo – but was otherwise. . . epic ; )
    Little kids who make a point to say hello to you out of the blue
    Father’s I see actively parenting make me feel so happy
    Holding my breath as long as I can (for the watery silence) while swimming under water over a sunlit, white sandy floor
    Camping next to a gorgeous river – sooo good
    Walking in old growth with sunbeam columns
    A lungful of super fresh air – the air here is full of spring perfume and it is amazing – cottonwoods, warm evergreens and earth
    A really great game of tennis is so fun

    • Sara says...

      I also loved Circe!

  95. Leeza says...

    A frustrating afternoon of online swimsuit browsing (groan) ended up reminding me of one of my life’s simple joys: pulling on clean, dry underwear after a long day in a wet suit! Just thinking of it evokes all the exhausted pleasure of a day spent in the sun.

    • Olivia says...

      Wow, excellent point. Agreed.

    • Mary says...

      i HATE bathing suit shopping….but just got a great one from a company called Left on Friday. Bloody expensive for how little fabric there is, but when I pulled it on it felt AMAZING and so comfortable and it was worth every cent and I literally pranced around my room in it.

      Also ordered a cheaper one from Jcrew and they are having a massive online sale right now :)

  96. Meredith says...

    I might come back with my own list at some point, but for now just want to say: the timing of this post is perfect. It’s been a hard day after a hard few weeks, and I was just thinking this afternoon that I need to re-prioritize my emotional well-being. Focusing on the alive & happy things is always helpful for that. Thank you for this, I am feasting on the lists!✨

    • Meredith says...

      Virtual high-five from another Meredith! You got this!

      Sending you lots of good juju for the hard days you’re in ❤️

    • Sara says...

      This post and all the comments are like medicine for my soul.

    • Dodie says...

      I feel exactly the same!

    • Bonnie says...

      Me too!

  97. Rachael says...

    So lovely! Currently…
    -My boyfriend’s hand on my knee while he’s driving.
    -TGIF gif exchange with my sister every Friday morning.
    -Playing backgammon with my roommate.
    -The Bachelorette (HANNAH B is a FORCE!)

  98. Ora says...

    the drive to work
    a really good talk with a really good friend
    when the perfect song plays at the perfect moment
    two pina coladas

  99. Megan says...

    Commenting to say that this post reminds me of the song “farah Fawcett Hair” by Capital Cities where they basically list all the things they think of as “good shit”. Highly recommend a listen for an instant feel-good mood:

    National Public Radio
    Back to the Future 2
    Daniel Day Lewis
    Sunsets
    You know it when you see it
    You know it when it’s there
    Like Michael Jackson Thriller
    Like Farrah Fawcett Hair
    It’s good shit
    It’s good shit
    It’s good shit
    Oh yeah
    Solar Energy
    Nutella
    Democracy
    My voice
    Enjoying ceviche in Peru and seeing a double rainbow
    While listening to Bitches Brew as recorded by Miles Davis
    Falling mirrors and a her hair in a bun
    Kids with big glasses that laugh when they run
    Girls with old-school names like Ruby May
    Have infants with baby breath, yawn in your face (oh yeah)

  100. Danielle says...

    -Opening my apartment windows wide and letting the spring breeze blow through.
    -walking on the beach in springtime before the rest of the world has figured out you can go to the beach.
    -working a busy shift with patients who are sick, but get better because my team took excellent care of them.

  101. Adrienne says...

    Being the first person to check out a new library book!

    • Sonia says...

      Yes!!! Second this one :)

    • Roberta Williams says...

      *Biking in a beach town and drinking coffee with the gossipy locals
      *Feeling grateful for a magnificent tree
      *Sneaking some cookie dough
      *Early morning walks through dew when everything is still and quiet
      *Unexpected/goofy interactions with strangers
      *Learning something new! (Podcasts have helped me so much for my constant need to absorb something new.)
      *Picking blueberries at the end of summer with a beautiful friend

  102. Naomi says...

    Hardback books
    Clean sheets
    My little boys reaching out and wrapping their arms round me whilst they are sleeping
    My little boys reaching out and wrapping their arms around each other whilst sleeping (different story when they are awake, haha)
    A handwritten letter from a dear friend
    Long runs on cold days
    Chocolate with sea salt
    Watching old episodes of Nashville

  103. Erin says...

    Lately…
    A good pedicure (the massage is key)
    Self tanner
    Fresh air in the house because I can finally open the windows
    My 5 year old’s sweaty little hand reaching for mine
    Peach-pear La Croix
    Even better, Prosecco!
    Beautiful Idaho sunsets
    Chocolate chip cookies with sea salt on top
    Maren Morris radio on Pandora

  104. Michelle says...

    • That bright, new green color that comes with springtime.
    • Witnessing friends achieve big goals – like publishing their first novel, delivering dissertations, or landing a dream job at NASA.
    • Hearing my toddler laugh.
    • Perfectly ripe, in-season fruit eaten on the way home from the farmers market.
    • The magic of growth and the change of seasons – within a person or within a garden.
    • Forever friendships.
    • Liturgy

    • PRC says...

      – sweaty summer nights
      – burying my feet in sand
      – waking up next to my toddler
      – kissing my baby on the cheeks
      – eating “Milo” brownies
      – discovering a new song and playing it 100 times during two weeks
      – hiking in the forest and waking up in a tent
      – getting a foot massage
      – hanging out with friends without planning in advance
      – burying my head in a dogs fur

  105. A Martin says...

    -New York! Just got back from visiting my sister who lives me. It gave me major life. It was my first solo trip in FOREVER and it was exciting focusing 100% on me. I have two AMAZING kids and a kick a$$ husband. I needed this trip. I bought a Laura Mercier red lipstick that is such a happy color. It brightens my face and reflects what I feel on the inside. I found two turbans – one in black and one in gold – at Manhattan Beauty..and I got a ton of compliments. Me! A mama with two kids! I was soooo inspired by the street style I witnessed. Oh and Levain chocolate chip walnut cookies. OMG! Those def gave me life! Walking The High Line on a sunny day. New happy place. Picking up a hot bowl of spicy, hot noodles at Very Fresh Noodles at Chelsea Market and walking it over to Corkbuzz (wine bar) and enjoying a delicious glass of red. The Nordstrom Rack on 14th Street is legit. I could go on and on 😍
    -When my kids play together and say things to each other that only they understand. Hearing them laughing hysterically.
    -Watching my husband play with our kids.
    -Vogue YouTube channel
    -Sitting in the sun on a refreshing day

    • Laura says...

      NYC makes me so happy too! We share a lot of the same new York joys! My favourite city ♥️

  106. riye says...

    Good things to be happy about. :-)
    -first coffee of the day
    -laughing with my co-workers at lunch
    -bf’s homemade cookies
    -watching TV with our youngest cat sprawled out in my lap with his paw hooked around my arm
    -reading a book so good that I postpone finishing it because I don’t want it to end

  107. Emily says...

    +1 hot priest in Fleabag

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hahaha

  108. Ellen says...

    I keep that Mary Oliver quote on my whiteboard at work :) Will definitely bookmark this page so I can keep coming back to the comments.
    Things that make me feel alive:
    Cool summer evenings on the ocean
    Blueberry ice cream
    Square dancing with friends (old and new)
    Reading in bed
    Bounding up a mountain on a hike
    Coasting on my bike
    Walking barefoot on some grass or moss
    Spotting the first fireflies of the summer
    Seeing all the lights on the streets and in homes during the winter holidays
    The smell of sourdough bread
    Being recognized by the bartenders at our favorite spot
    A bottomless pit of laughter

  109. Favi says...

    Discovering something new.

    I was watching my 8 year old niece and she recently became obsessed with playing guitar. She started playing her guitar and she started singing, really singing, it made me snap my head back to hear her. I saw in that moment that she has a voice, it gave me chills. I just saw her in a whole new way, it felt like I’m discovering who she is becoming.

  110. Amy says...

    *The sound of my kids, and especially the baby these days, belly laughing.
    *Picking out the next book to read after finishing one.
    *The smell of coffee
    * A great yoga class
    *Thunderstorms!
    *The very rare solo dinner with my husband.
    *Being outside on a windy day.
    *A brisk walk
    *Cutting flowers and herbs from my garden

  111. Jess says...

    Definitely second your, first 12 hours in a new city!
    Taking that first sip of wine while wine tasting in a beautiful vineyard…as it’s guaranteed to be followed by great conversations and giggles with friends.
    Hearing an out of the blue ‘Mama, I love you so much’
    Warm summer nights
    Beach picnics, park picnics
    Planning a trip I may or may not take
    Seeing a beautiful vista after a good run or hike
    Walking into the London pub where my husband and I first met many moons ago

  112. Anne says...

    When the coffee shop gets your order just right, smiling at strangers, saying thank you to a veteran, watching parents watch their kids and seeing the pride in their faces, watching my own kids experience something for the first time, playing, really playing with my boys, reading in bed to my sons, that first sip of wine with a girlfriend, solving a problem, hugging my husband and knowing we’re in it together.

    • Rosa says...

      The comments in this post are giving me life!
      On my list:
      First cup of coffee
      Seeing the first signs of spring
      The smell of rain and wet mulch
      Hearing a good 90s rock song that transport me back to college
      my 3 year old daughter baking
      Seeing my husband tear up as he reads a sweet tender childrens book

  113. Lee says...

    The warmth of child’s gaze
    A chilly beach breeze
    Wine and real deal pizza
    My husband’s fingers trailing my neck
    Painting the perfect stroke
    Dancing to Bob Sinclair “Far l’Amore”
    Debating serious issues with reason
    Telling a dear friend “I love you”
    Hearing a dear friend say, “I love you”
    Kicking the ass of an advanced pilates class
    Reading a line that bears underlining and further contemplation

    • h says...

      yes!! yes

    • Marisa says...

      Lee, as a fellow painter, I was thinking the same thing about painting! The feeling when I’m “in the zone” is incredible!

      Also, the look of love on my husband’s face.
      When he does something special for me as a surprise.
      The anticipation right before yoga class, when I know it’s going to be so good!
      Having either of my kid’s really appreciate me.
      Watching my son’s dog, Lucy, playing on the beach- so much joy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  114. Claire says...

    Hearing my kids laugh together.
    Taking a mid afternoon nap with the fan on after spending the day in the sun.
    A good cup of coffee.
    Laying in bed watching the office with my husband.
    Thunderstorms (only when I’m home and can watch from my window)

  115. Grace says...

    -That feeling you get traveling to a new place: realizing you’re so small in this huge universe, yet connected to it all
    -sitting around a campfire with my box of wine
    -the endorphins after a sweaty kickboxing or barre class
    -Making my dad laugh out loud. He’s the funniest person I know so it means a lot
    -Meeting a new acquaintance and hitting it off so well that you think “Yes! This could be a new friend that really gets me!”
    -Visiting my 93 year old grandmother and seeing the smile on her face
    -Morning snuggles from my dog where he crawls into my armpit nook
    -Comforting a friend as they cry on your shoulder

  116. Wendy says...

    Conversations with other fellow moms.
    Days with my kids when we have no agenda.
    Camping.
    My first mug of green tea in the morning.
    A good book.

  117. Stephanie says...

    Camping in the mountains
    Hanging out with my sisters
    Talking with friends around a fire pit
    Being able to go outside without a jacket on
    Getting through a whole barre class and feeling proud of it
    Sitting outside and drinking a glass of wine with a friend

  118. Babs says...

    the first breath of air I take outside in the morning
    deep conversations with close friends
    Young carrots freshly picked from the garden, washed off in the rain barrel
    Cycling over a bridge
    Playing a Disney tune on the piano in a train station
    Tiny flowers

  119. Kristen says...

    dancing
    sunlight filtered through trees
    stars on a dark night (and re-realizing just how small we are)
    when I pick up my sleeping son to carry him to his bed and he rubs my back IN HIS SLEEP
    reading a phrase so beautiful that it hurts (like the last line of “For the Child’s Mole by Geffrey Davis)
    the first time it’s warm enough to drive with the windows down
    watching my kids learn something new (like how to wink!)
    people singing in harmony

    • -the tightness of my muscles the day after a good workout. It hurts so good!
      -when my dog rests his head on my chest during morning meditation
      -the sweet smooth spot on my love’s neck that just begs for kisses
      -the full-on conversations I have with my dogs when we’re home alone
      -the feeling of pure bliss when I crawl into bed at the end of a long day
      -nodding off while sitting in the warm sun
      -the windows down and the AC blasting while driving on a hot day
      -the feeling of a hot tub jet hitting the knot on my back juuuuust right
      -getting an unexpected sappy text from someone I love
      -the smell on my back porch when the dryer is running inside
      -the satisfaction of looking around my house right after I finish cleaning it

      I could go on and on. The beauty of life is in these moments and they almost never cost a lot of money.

  120. Alex says...

    My daughter barefoot, running through a garden. My infant son’s belly laughs. My husband freshly groomed after a trip to the barber. The first spring day with all the windows open. Late afternoon at the beach just before sunset. Answering the question “what do you do?” with the answer “ I own my own business.” When the plane touches down on another continent. Lobster rolls and blueberry soda.

  121. Jenn says...

    Jo! I love this. Yes to the Hot Priest (their chemistry made me blush) and yes to Mary Oliver!

    For me:

    -books, especially hunting for vintage books at a library book sale
    -peonies
    -writing
    -the downy fuzz in between my older son’s eyebrows
    -the slope of my 4 year-old cheeks
    -my neighborhood coffee spot where we know everyone
    -sharks
    -long walks on the beach looking for sea glass
    -lingering coffee dates with girlfriends
    -fall days alone with my husband exploring new towns
    -people. I love people. They light me right up.

  122. Lauren P. says...

    The hot priest in Fleabag! Yes. Thank you so much for the show suggestion; I am 100% hooked.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      it’s a MASTERPIECE.

    • M says...

      Yes! RN: Hot priest in Fleabag. Amazing.

  123. Calla Martyn says...

    Dogs waiting for their owners in windows
    Cool breeze from the window over my bed
    Fresh sheets
    Bike rides with scenery and the perfect song
    The smell of jasmine blossoms in the evening
    Picking the fast checkout line

  124. Lindsay says...

    Matisse exhibits. Sophisticated color palettes I can’t look away from. Tree lined streets. Exotic unique flavors, like rose ice cream. Vintage post cards. The farmers market. Tea time. Golden hour, particularly in a sun drenched room or swimming during it, the light caressing the water and me. French pastries. wrapping presents……..I’ll stop now but this is a fun thing to think about!

    • Lee says...

      Yes to all of yours! It is such a great question to pose! I feel like every day I would have different answers and it enhances the gratitude for the small – but brilliant – gifts.

    • Oh, I love these! And yes to sophisticated color palettes (I remember finding the house we lived in Tuscany so perfect that I actually downloaded a Pantone-finding app to save these colors! (it’s called Cone)

  125. Kate says...

    Fresh sheets on the bed
    Secondhand / vintage furniture stores
    Fresh flowers in a clean home
    Not having anywhere to be
    Going to the cinema (and the ice cream that goes with it)
    Holiday anticipation, sometimes more than the holiday itself

    • Kate says...

      Oh and one more; when everyone goes quiet when the food comes out because it is SO GOOD and they’re eating and can’t talk.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes to anticipation!

    • Leanne Riddett says...

      Yes! Yes! & Yes!!!

  126. Camila says...

    Hugging my boyfriend
    Visiting new cities
    Trying new recipes
    My Art History classes
    Visiting new museums
    Napping when it’s raining
    Roadtrips
    Planning a future trip with my boyfriend

  127. My daughter resting her head on my shoulder as I read
    Doing anything crafty
    Sunday brunch in the kitchen with my family
    Riding my bike in the city
    Watching my husband and daughter build Legos
    Falling asleep in the hot sun on vacation
    Taking myself out to a fancy restaurant
    Not wearing a diaper bag when I don’t need to, ha!
    Getting a really good massage.
    Sticking my head out the window and sniffing ocean air (especially when in Big Sur)
    DANCING. ALWAYS.

  128. Katherine says...

    THAT WAFFLE is giving me life!

    • Kat says...

      Same here! Literal motivator to get off the couch to take care of the craving. Yum!

  129. Alexandra says...

    Hugs from my children
    Beating my husband in scrabble
    Walks along the Pacific Ocean on a windy day
    The moment I get into a cold swimming pool
    Feeling the perfect harmony when I sing with my choir
    Hikes in the mountains or in a redwood forest
    Getting a really good deal on something
    Driving through the East Bay hills in spring

  130. Janine says...

    Taking a hot shower after a long swim
    Driving home from the beach with the windows down
    The first sip of iced coffee
    Evening walks
    Fireflies
    A cold beer by a crackling fire
    Outdoor movies with a group of friends
    Cooling off under a fan on a warm night
    Fireworks
    The sound of cheers in the distance

  131. M says...

    What a great question!

    – putting my head underwater in the ocean
    – a brisk morning
    – my dog’s velvety ears
    – listening to Tina Brown interview people
    – the scent of a garden rose
    – a long dinner with good friends
    – good baguette and good butter
    – putting my bare feet in thick grass

  132. Justine Clark says...

    The cup of coffee my honey makes me every morning at 5:30 am (heaven!)
    Hearing my 15 year old son guffawing with laughter
    See my 15 year old son dig deep into projects that light him up
    Cuddling on the couch watching Death in Paradise with my honey
    Alone time. Blessed, blessed alone time
    The smell of the forest after a spring shower
    Spending time anywhere on the ocean

    • Taylor says...

      DEATH IN PARADISE!!! it’s the best bad show in the world and I hope the insanity of that strange murder island lasts forever

  133. Kaysie says...

    Watching my kid simply be a kid. I think, “Damn, that kid has a good life” and he is so blissfully unaware of just how good he has it, which is exactly as it should be.

    Like right now, I’m watching him out the window from the couch. He’s running laps around my front yard with a huge stick in his hand. My husband is chasing him and they are cracking each other up. I’m laid up because I’m miserably nauseous growing his sibling. And yet, bearing witness to this simple idyllic scene, a new life growing in my belly, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so alive.

    Thanks for the beautiful reminder to stop and think of this stuff every once in a while, COJ!

    • I’m 31 weeks along with baby 1, and with SO much negativity about raising children out there, this was so refreshing. Thank you!

  134. Steph Gilman says...

    mmmm…toast, with [good] butter. hot tea on a scratchy throat. lotion on my legs after shaving. cold sparkling water after a sweaty, thirsty run. seeing new leaves on my fiddle leaf fig I thought was dying. iced coffee. crossing the finish line of a race. cheeseburgers. france.

    • Sonja says...

      Yes!!! This made me so happy. Also, today I shaved my legs and optioned them up and I saw a fiddle leaf all curled up and growing! Should I buy a lottery ticket?

  135. Louisa says...

    Dogs.
    (Get a dog!)

  136. -Getting caught in bad weather and embracing it!
    -Hearing an old song that both me and my partner love come on the radio
    -Discovering that not all seltzer water is gross (I heart you forever Trader Joe’s Blood Orange/Orange Juice Seltzer, signed 31 weeks pregnant and missing wine)
    -One of my closest family members “came out” after decades of being silent. That he felt he could trust us after all this time is humbling beyond words. It is NEVER too late to be who you are!
    -Snuggles with any and all of the pets
    -Rediscovering that sugary sweet cereal of your childhood that you don’t eat anymore because it’s not “adulting” but you buy it anyway because YOLO (Looking at you Rice Krispie Treats cereal)
    -Wearing cute earrings because I could be wearing my least favorite outfit, but if I have cute earrings on, it makes me feel like I could take on the world!
    -My sister just started her MFA, and even though she is younger than me, I feel like I look up to her
    -Leslie Jones

  137. Amy says...

    Walking in the woods with my dogs.

  138. Katie Weltner says...

    Standing in a field of flowers or berries. Sensory overload! I want to take a million pictures and eat all the fruit!!!

    Also: friendly cats on the street.

    What a nice question :)

  139. Jessica says...

    Bread in the oven
    The first peaches of summer
    My children laughing

  140. Lisa says...

    I love this question.

    Me time when I need it
    Hearing and seeing my husband really laugh
    Snuggles from my kids
    Rock climbing with a good friend
    A really cold beer on a really hot day
    Feeling that I’ve helped a family

  141. Rachel says...

    Walks in the garden
    Playing with our dog
    Riding my bike to work
    An ice cream cone with sprinkles
    The late afternoon sunlight
    A glass of very cold wine sipped outdoors
    The smell of garlic and onions sauteing in butter

    • Theresa says...

      the smell of garlic and onion sauteing is truly magical!

  142. Erica says...

    – A new beauty product that makes you feel invincible
    – Uncontrolled laughter during dinner with friends
    – Packing for a long-anticipated trip

  143. Being with people I can be myself around. Exploring. Listening to music that speaks to me. Reading a great book. Writing literally anything. Laughing about stupid things with people I love.

  144. Music! Super digging Billie Eilish’s album and Seth MacFarlane’s new album – which are two opposite ends of the music spectrum but both mindblowingly good in their own ways. Also really good books – T. Kingfisher aka artist Ursula Vernon is coming out with a thriller this year and I can’t wait – crafting days, coffee with creamer and a really good scotch.

  145. Faith says...

    – when my toddler gets a giggle fit
    – when my spouse knocks on the bathroom door to hand me a mug of hot coffee (every morning!)
    – lying out in the sunshine with a sweaty beer and nowhere to be
    – driving through the rolling, astonishing, velvety NorCal hills

    • Can “getting morning coffee” be the 6th love language? My husband and I could be in the worst of arguments, and if he makes my coffee, all is forgiven.

    • Grace says...

      A hot mug of coffee delivered every morning is pure living! What a sweet gesture.

    • annie says...

      lovely. i make my partner’s coffee every morning–it’s one of my morning rituals! i like to think it makes him feel very loved. (and it’s a real treat when he wakes up in time to get there before me.)

  146. Maywyn says...

    Full flavor fresh bluberries
    Sight of love ones
    Sun after a thunderstorm
    Full Moon
    New hiking socks
    Voting
    Scent of Atlantic Ocean
    Hearing, “Hi Mom”
    Coffee
    Coffee Ice Cream
    Cloud shadows on mountains
    Reading Cup of Jo

    • Lyndsey says...

      Hearing “Hi Mom”… made me tear up. It scares me how much I hope to hear that someday. Hoping even more for a spouse first to share the journey with.

  147. Taylor says...

    looking at my fiancé’s beautiful face and being in awe that we found each other
    when a client tells me I helped them or sends a thank you e-mail
    getting a phone call from my mom when we haven’t talked in a few days
    trying a new restaurant and it’s worth the hype
    and finally, boring, but…putting money into savings! it’s a RUSH

    • Taylor says...

      also straight up DROOLING at the waffle photo

  148. Moriah says...

    So many things! Trying a new cheese from Trader Joe’s, looking at my engagement ring and still being in awe that I get to wear it forever, Southwest Airline’s Low Fare calendar, the fact that I finally stopped spelling “calendar” incorrectly, being able to open the screen door and enjoy the breeze, my downstairs neighbor that gives me fresh naan bread , purple ink pens, dreaming of having a female president someday, photo booths, playing bocce ball in the park, Citrus-scented soap, small hoop earrings, spring tulips, arguments over who the best Beatle was/is, the paycheck after you’ve paid rent, eating movie popcorn for dinner, blood orange Italian soda, the kid in my apartment complex that is a “competitive roller skater”, finding a place to get good fish tacos, short hikes to waterfalls, reading next to someone you love, the one pair of shoes you always throw on to check the mail or run to the store, the dress you never have to iron, when a dog doesn’t bark at you the first time you meet it, old houses covered in vines, stumbling upon a Zoltar machine, a child waving at you.

    • Rebecca says...

      “Stumbling upon a Zoltar machine”
      Yes, so much!

  149. Tracy says...

    Surprise military/family reunion videos
    Holiday weekend brunch
    Sleeping babies
    Ocean air
    Hot coffee at dawn

  150. Renee says...

    Swimming underwater. I always feel one with the universe. It’s like being baptized.

    • Holly says...

      What a gorgeous thought ❤️

    • Meghan says...

      Yes!! Granted, I’m a synchronized swimmer, so being underwater is my jam. Especially swimming underwater in a really deep pool, like a dive tank. I have a weird fantasy about being allowed to swim in the world’s deepest pool (NASA uses it for astronaut training). I don’t exactly know why, but I get full body shivers (the good kind) when I imagine it.

      I would add: swimming outside in the rain. And swimming outside in a non-pool (lake, ocean, etc.). And being outside in a hot tub in the winter, surrounded by snow.

    • annie says...

      i love this. underwater is so silent and private. a gift from the planet, truly

    • Jill says...

      Relief after crying
      Friends sending fitting gifs
      Mirrors with soft lighting
      Watching people from a train
      Remembering to deep breathe
      Smiling until it hurts
      Finding old handwritten letters
      Leaving a party (introvert!)
      Old book stores w cats
      Camping with coffee

    • Taylor says...

      Agreed! I always found swimming underwater to be like meditation. There’s something so calming and peaceful about it.

    • Jo says...

      all of this can bring me to tears, but this idea of being one with the universe underwater is beautiful! thank you for that thought… I can’t wait to go swimming for the first time this season.

    • jessica says...

      wow, i’m so glad to know other people feel this way. as i was beginning my own personal list, the feeling of water all around me was the very first thing i thought of.