Relationships

12 Reader Comments on Living Fully

swimming woman

As always, we’ve noticed amazing reader stories in the comments section, and we wanted to share the love. Here are 12 reader comments on living your best life…

On food traditions:

“My partner and I have taken to buying a fancy new cheese once a month, then eating it in a bath together. The catch is that our tub is tiny and we are tall, so it adds a dash of sheer hilarity as we try to origami our limbs together without throwing out our backs. Anything for cheese.” — Allie

“I’m Eurasian, but don’t speak Cantonese, like my mother’s family. I am also white-passing. I grew up with a lot of people doubting my heritage: ‘Really?! You’re Chinese? Are you sure? You don’t really look Chinese. I guess in the eyes…’ One of the only ways I could ‘prove’ my Asian-ness was by the way I ate. Chicken’s feet? Yes. Jellyfish? Yes. Dousing everything with red vinegar? Yes. That even became the joke with my family: ‘She may not speak Chinese. She may not look Chinese. But she can sure eat Chinese!’ — Meghan

“To celebrate my retirement a couple years ago, I invited 25 friends to a toast party where we would ‘eat toast and make toasts.’ I had three toasters set up, several loaves of good bread and various toppings (both sweet and savory), juice, coffee and tea. It was a big success and easy to set up. The self-service aspect meant I could mingle with my guests.” — Hattie

On embracing your body:

“I’m about to elope in the ‘biggest’ body I’ve ever been in. (Thanks ‘love’ pounds!) The back of my mind wants to obsess and over-exercise before the big day. I have flashes of cold feet, wondering if I should postpone it for a year, just to see if I’m more fit by then. But then the other half of my brain realizes how ridiculous, shallow and self-absorbed the first, self-sabotaging half of my brain sounds. As an extra push for me to accept this fiancé-loving body I’m in, I’m getting my first ever boudoir photoshoot prior to the jump.” — Nicole

“I’ve realized recently that I see my body and its functions as a little kid — innocent and just kind of there. If I eat too much and exercise too little, it gets a bit smooshy and my hip goes wonky. Not my body’s fault! I eat crap and get zits — not my skin’s fault! So, when I hear people say they hate their bodies, I feel so sad, like they’re saying they hate an innocent kid. I want to say, PLEASE please don’t hate your body! It’s just there; you gotta love and take care of it because it loves YOU.” — Agnes

On canine rituals:

“I’m in Oregon and walk our golden retriever at least a couple times a day. I don’t wear earbuds — I like to hear his dog tags jangle; the clickety-clack of his paws on pavement; the rapid way his nose sniffs when he catches a scent; the view of his fluffy butt and feathery tail swishing back and forth.” — Jennifer

“My dog, Loretta, is 15, and I’ve walked her every day. It has changed my relationship with everyday nature. We put ’72 and sunny’ on a pedestal, but the aliveness of below zero, the softness of deep snow and the feeling of rain are sooo underrated.” — Jules

On different chapters:

“The most amazing woman I have ever known retired from a journalism career at 62 and promptly enrolled in law school. She practiced law until she was 94 and died a year later. It is never too late.” — Libby

“At 43, I decided I was going to learn how to ride a bike. I’d had a difficult childhood, during which I just shelved it. But on my 43rd birthday, I decided I was done avoiding it and got a bike. I fell, I was scared and embarrassed, but I did it. Now I can ride my bike and it means so much more to me than if I would have learned as a kid.” — J.

“I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I let a fear of vulnerability, or failure, or an uncertain career path talk me out of it. But this year, I’m writing all the time! I told myself that I’m a writer if I write — who cares about all the other stuff like readership, publishing, even a career change. With all that pressure off, I’m having the most fun finding my voice, thinking of just wild, silly things I can write about.”
Samantha

On loving yourself and others:

“A few of my most treasured practices are:
– Putting my hand on my partner’s back right after I turn out the lights at night and thinking of the ways I am grateful for him.
– When I’m with my toddler, I’ll sometimes remind myself to just be fully present in his tiny delightfulness. I’ll run my finger along his ear, arm, chubby fingers, perfect toes (etc, etc, etc) and think to myself ‘I made this.’
Both of these things help ground me, which has been really helpful over this past year when I find myself ruminating over the past/future.” — C.

“I discovered a ‘trick’ years ago to help give value to myself. It involves visualizing my future self holding tight to my present self. We often talk about taking care of our inner child, and it helps right? Well, if I can make my former self feel understood and loved, then I can imagine my future self caring for me right now this very moment. It’s the giving and receiving of love from these past and future selves that truly makes me feel less unsure. Growth never stops.” — Stacy

What would you add to the list?

P.S. 12 feel-good reader comments and 14 reader comments on rituals.

(Photo by Stocksy/Bonnin Studio.)

  1. Claire says...

    Wow this post. I especially love that one about the dog. I just adopted a dog last December, a stray dog that originally belonged to my little nephews but they gave him to me because I needed him to guard the house since me and my husband works. In the Philippines, local breed dogs are usually just kept to serve as home guards against thieves. We kept his name Blacky because of his color. But as days go by, I treated him as part of the family and he became a happy, responsive and spoiled dog. My sisters (who were my neighbors) laughed at me because they said I treated this dog like a baby. We don’t have children. I sometimes talked to Blacky like he is a spoiled kid. As days progressed, I noticed that the neighbors are treating their dogs the same way I did with my Blacky.

  2. Ellen says...

    Thank you for this and to all the people who have shared their ideas. Here’s mine — I have never felt more alive than when I started skipping a couple of years ago– it’s so fun!!! I am not a runner, and walking is good, but I wanted something more cardio and outdoors. Here’s what works for me: cardio clothes, an upbeat playlist and a flat open space – like a parking lot (our local train station on weekends) and the willingness to skip. I do get quizzical looks and lots of smiles – it’s really freeing, And an added bonus, I am over 50 and it doesn’t hurt my knees or anything else.

    • Nisa says...

      I am so impressed by this idea. It is something for me to look forward to ❤️

  3. Rachel Adrianna says...

    Anytime someone posts about their dog walking rituals, it makes me want to adopt a furry friend of my own! Not very practical for me atm, but I can just imagine myself watching a fluffy butt while we wander a cobblestoned town.

    *There are no cobblestones in my town; just part of the fantasy.

  4. AI says...

    There are days when I just need to get out. So I leave the house with zero purpose. Smell the air. Breathe in deep. And walk in whichever direction feels right.
    I see birds nests in unusual places. I once found a very tiny new baby kitten that stole my heart. I watch people. And when I finally get a bit tired I stop to treat myself to a milkshake or an ice cream or fries – whatever I’m craving.
    These breaks from routine and schedules – make me feel alive again x

    • Rachel Adrianna says...

      <3

  5. Nisa says...

    These post made me cry. I often feel terminally unique, and these post made me feel like I am part of a tribe ❤️

  6. Jen says...

    I use the same trick. I picture myself as a kid. That awkward, skinny, STRANGE kid no one liked. I’ve got to do my best for her today. And my future self, that awkward STRANGE old lady. I’ve got to take care of her too.

  7. Kate says...

    I love these collections of comments more than any other kinds of posts. Thank you for doing the work of curating this community wisdom for us!

  8. Love Love Love the TOAST party!!! Truly unique, memorable, clever and easy peasy. Oh Crumbs ;-) which I had been there!
    Thans for giving us all such a good idea….’Pop-In for our Pop-Up Post-Vax Party’ XX

    • Rachel Adrianna says...

      With Pop-Tarts? lol

  9. Meg says...

    That last comment by Stacy reminded me of the movie The Kid! I need to dust that one off.

  10. Sandy says...

    Stacy (and Joanna), I just stopped by to say how meaningful it was for me to read your comment on reaching out from your future self.

    I am fighting a huge wave of depression since my mom died 3 months ago and this morning I found myself alone in my house. I didn’t pull up the blinds in my room in my rush to drop my kids at school and when I got back home, I stood at the doorway of my room and so badly just wanted to get back into bed in that dark bedroom for the whole day and cry with sorrow, something which I know is my depression talking.

    The sun came out for a few brief moments, and I could see it beaming onto the landing in the hallway, my weather app had predicted rain all day. My future self made me suddenly rush to pull on my running shoes and leggings before I could change my mind and I left the house and went for a walk, something I know will change my day for the better but lately have found so hard to do. It felt like a knife edge decision. But I did it. And I know my future self is proud : )

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That’s incredible, Sandy. Your future self should be so proud! And I’m so, so sorry for your loss.

    • Kim says...

      Yes! I know that feeling for the same reasons, except my child is grown and I have three pets who would gladly curl up next to me so disappearing into the dark for awhile would be really easy. But lately, and partly because of what I witnessed the last year of my mom’s life, I have started strength training. The change of soundtrack in my mind from “I really should work out today” to “I’m gonna be a strong old lady” has been the game-changer. It has given bright purpose to what had always felt like an eye-rolling obligation accompanied by heavy sighs, or guilt if I turned left into the kitchen for organic pizza instead. More so, it has given me a practical way to move those distraught feelings of grief into action that Future Me needs Present Me to do.

    • Vicki says...

      Sandy and Kim – I’m in your boat too so sorry for your losses. It’s incredibly hard and painful and then this relief when you can connect to someone else because sometimes it feels like no one understands, and the you look in the comments of cup of jo and there is someone right in there with you.
      When I saw Stacey’s wise future self comment I thought immediately of my mom who was such an amazing person, spoke 5 languages, traveled the world, did incredible charity work, and was friends with everyone – she used to wait in specific lines at the grocery store so she could check in on the cashiers she had made friends with in line and growing up friends would end calling her mom- but these were never the stories she told about herself. She would remember failures, or kids who were mean to her in high school, she would never allow anyone else to talk
      about themselves the way she did. Looking through old pictures of her, all I can see is beauty and joy. I have started thinking of my future self who probably thinks I’m pretty great that thinks I look young and pretty, who wants me to get some sunshine and some sleep and to hug my boys and kiss my husband. I try to see myself through my future selves eyes and through maybe my future kids eyes.

  11. Andrea says...

    Stacy!! I am weeping. Just tried it. Currently going through a really difficult time, and I think this idea just became my new go-to trick. Thank you so much for sharing. ❤️

    • Katie says...

      Same! Thank you, Stacy.

      And Andrea, keep going. It won’t be this difficult forever, even though sometimes it may feel as if it’ll never be better. Keep going. Proverbial hug from Oregon. :) katie

  12. J says...

    It’s impractical, expensive, unnecessary, and even a little dangerous, but I bought myself a Vespa to scoot around town with and I just fucking love it. Each moment I drive it is a moment of joy (and terror!), especially when it’s warm and breezy and I can smell the eucalyptus trees as I drive by them and hear harbor seals barking. Totally makes up for when a giant insect comes out of nowhere and collides with my face and I scream in my helmet 😂

    • Emily says...

      This is my total dream. I live in the Oakland hills (wayyyy up the hill) and I’ve been too scared to get one, but I really, really want to.

    • J says...

      Emily! I live up a very steep hill and the Primavera 150 handles them with ease even considering that I’m heavier set. Go for it!

    • Jean says...

      “It’s impractical, expensive, unnecessary, and even a little dangerous…”

      I love this. I knew whatever followed would be great. I’ve always wanted to ride one of those!

  13. C says...

    Gasp, truly cannot believe a comment of mine made the cut, like is this my 15 minutes of fame or what?! I love it here, thanks for creating this wonderful community. :)

    • Lilly says...

      Beautiful comment! So thankful for this community of kind souls.

    • J says...

      I feel the same way, I saw my comment and almost started crying :)

  14. Melanie says...

    I really needed this post, these women and these stories today. Thank you. A wonderful collection of moments and reflections that speak to the beauty in our world and the kindness (and joy!) of humans in it.

  15. Sadie M Arneson says...

    Comedy over romance

  16. Mara says...

    I find so much comfort and inspiration from stories of women doing things against age and gender expectations. I am nearly 40 and after 18 years of doing what others expected of me (moving back to my hometown post-college, working in a dry corporate job, and being a doormat for my in-laws) I am actively pursuing a job in Europe. Friends and family are bowled over… “What are you doing acting like a recent college grad? Women your age are home raising children!” My husband and I are childless by choice, and I’m also the one spearheading this move (with husband’s full support). It’s astonishing how much people have to say when the wife does this, when in my experience, it’s usually the man who uproots the family for a job.

    • ana says...

      That is so exciting! Good for you Mara – I hope you get a fab job you love and you live it up in Europe!
      xx

    • DO IT Mara, dont EVER listen to what other people are saying. You are fully living Your life (one that you husband wants as well cos he agrees with the move) Dont’ be like me and wait until 50.
      It is the Most liberating thing in the world when one knows who you truly are, what you want out of life AND then Living it! Nothing else matters!!

    • Jeanne says...

      I don’t even know you and I’m super excited for you!!! Don’t listen to the naysayers. Their advice is for their own benefit or based on fear. GO GO GO and live your best life!

    • margaret says...

      I bet there are dozens of COJ readers googling “how do i get a job in europe” this morning! You’re an inspiration, Mara!

  17. I can relate to J! I had a tough childhood and learning to ride a bike just wasn’t a priority for my family as we were dealing with various hardships. I always wanted to learn, and then I got engaged to a guy who LIVES for bikes. He was on the cycling team in college, would do multi-day tours, etc. At 27 years old he patiently taught me to ride a bike in parking lots near our apartment. Now we have a 5-year-old daughter and I love that we can go on rides together. Also, whenever we travel, we love to do city bike tours! I’m glad that I didn’t give up and decide I was too old.

    • J says...

      Joy, I really loved reading your story!

  18. Ramya says...

    I love all of these! Especially the one about learning to ride a bike at 43. I’m about to be 43 and still don’t know how to ride a bike. It’s been on my ‘bucket list’ forever, and I think it’s high time I tackled it. Thanks for reminding me that it can be done!

    • Do it!!!!

    • Michelle says...

      I also didn’t learn as a kid, and I’ve taken little steps to learn in adulthood… if you happen to live in New York City, I recommend Bike New York’s classes for adults! https://www.bike.nyc/education/classes/learn-to-ride-adults/

      I know REI also has had classes for adults in the past.

      Good luck!!

    • J says...

      I hope you do learn Ramya. For me it was more about conquering something, not so much about the bike. It has really helped with my confidence and my willingness to try new things. Best wishes for you!

  19. cg says...

    I am jealous of those who say they walk their dog without headphone so they can be present for their dog. I walk the streets without headphones or look at my phone so I can be fully present and hear anyone is running up from behind in case they assault me.

    Just two days ago two elderly Asian women in San Francisco got stabbed waiting for the bus. In New York, another Asian woman got punched recently. In DC an Asian jewelry shop owner got punched. Yesterday an Asian father walking his 1 year old daughter in SF got assaulted repeatedly, and in NY an Asian woman had her bashed with a hammer for wearing a mask A week ago in Baltimore a man charged and attacked two Asian American women with a cement block . These account were ONLY from the last week, let’s sit on that for a bit.

    So yeah, I don’t walk around with distractions to try to hold onto my life.

    • cg says...

      The typos are because I am so angry that I can’t even type properly anymore.

    • L says...

      CG … it sucks that our world is this way. It makes me so angry that anyone needs to live in fear. In our own ways, in our own places, so many of us are working to make things better. Thanks for calling out the privilege so many of us take for granted. Hugs, love, and healing to you, as you need them.

    • Leah says...

      I am angry that you cannot walk without fear. I am angry, too, that innocent people are victims of hate.

    • Jeanne says...

      Thank you for bringing this up. I feel like Asian Attacks made media headlines and then forgotten when it’s actually getting worse.

    • Jennifer says...

      Hi, that was my comment about walking my dog that CoJ included in this beautiful compilation of living fully. It was a tough, busy week for me and am only now catching up; I am so surprised and grateful (and still in disbelief) that one of my comments was highlighted (thanks Kim, Jo, and everyone else!) I am an Asian woman who is nearing 50 years old so I hear and see you about the violent, racist attacks against Asians in this country. My mother is an 80 year-old widow who lives by herself on the East Coast, so I worry about her constantly (will fly back as soon as I get through my second vaccine shot). This is all to say, I am acutely aware of my privilege in living in a close-knit suburban neighborhood, but I am also acutely aware of what I look like and may represent to some people.

    • AJ says...

      Love and support to you, CG. I am so sorry this is the reality right now, it’s just truly awful. I hope it gets better x

    • Claire says...

      That’s so scary. I’m Asian, I feel so sorrr for my fellow Asian in the US.

  20. Jessica says...

    Oh, that last quote by Stacy. Damn good.

  21. Colleen says...

    I am SO HAVING A TOAST PARTY! Thank you Hattie, what a lovely and fun idea.

  22. Kari says...

    Thank you for this post. I’ve always been someone who’s tried to fill my life with simple joys – walks, refreshing cold showers, good stories, small food rituals – but lately, NONE of it is working. I’m so sad, lonely, depressed, and worried almost all the time, and I have no idea how to break out of it. My 3-year-old son is becoming extremely hyperactive and has started being really rough with other kids – hitting (HARD), pushing, biting out of nowhere, sometimes to the point of drawing blood. I’m full of shame and convinced that it’s something I did wrong when I was pregnant with him. My husband is in a deep depression and has several meltdowns a day, and since Covid our community is really small, with almost no support. I’m working a job I can’t stand with seemingly no hope of ever getting out of it because my husband is a stay at home dad and I’m sole breadwinner for our family. Lately I’ve started having daydreams about getting in the car and driving, driving, driving, until I’m halfway across the country, changing my identity and starting over. Of course I’ll never do that, but I feel ready to crack under all the pressure and loneliness.

    • Leah G says...

      Hey Kari – no real advice to share, just touched by your comment and I hope you can find some outlet for what you’re going through and maybe some additional support. I’m always a fan of therapy, even if it’s just one of those texting services or something through an app that you can do on your terms. Anyway, sending you love via the Internet!

    • Em says...

      Dear Kari, I hear you, and I am so sorry for how challenging and lonely these days are feeling. I don’t think my trying to rationalize your three-year-old’s behavior would help – I know it doesn’t help me – so I’ll just let you know I’m thinking of you and your beautiful family and I hope that things begin to feel less hard for each of you soon. In the words of my four-year-old, you are a rocket star.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Sending you so much love, Kari. That sounds really, really hard. You are doing a great job just getting through it. I’m sorry it’s so hard right now. xo

    • Jamie says...

      I am so sorry you are going through this. Sending you so much love and virtual support. I know people will give great advice, but I just want to say that you have nothing to be ashamed of, you did nothing wrong during pregnancy and you are not alone.

    • Kim says...

      Kari, the behavior you describe is typical of many toddlers and likely has nothing to do with anything you did while pregnant. I honestly think having to distance ourselves from others for such a long period of time might have something to do with the anti-social behaviors some of us are displaying (and not just kids). It’s not normal to experience such isolation for long periods of time. Hang in there, Kari. Talk to a therapist if you can. If you don’t have access to therapy, maybe you can speak to friend about your feelings. I’m rooting for you.

    • C says...

      Solidarity. My husband and I have both been so depressed for months now. We have almost no breaks or help in taking care of our baby and it has been so hard. While well-meaning, the suggestion of therapy is not helpful. We know exactly what we need – help with the baby – and filling what little free time we already have with more appointments is not going to make matters any better. I see you, Kari.

    • Jessica says...

      Oh Kari, I can’t tell you how much I relate to this. I also have a toddler, am the sole bread winner while working from home exclusively, my husband is our child’s caregiver, but he too is struggling with his mental health and has near daily breakdowns. As a result, our support system is almost non existent as he is too stressed about the idea of contact with anyone during this pandemic (we dealt with a lot of unexpected loss and grief just before the pandemic which has piled on this). The burden of holding everything together is on me, and increasingly it feels like I can’t. I break down in tears in the shower on the daily. Under all the pressure, I keep expecting to turn into a diamond, but not yet. I don’t know what to say to you because I haven’t figured out a solution myself. It feels very very hard. But I think knowing others are also struggling can help, knowing you are not alone, and that all of this can be surmountable eventually. I am holding you in my thoughts and mental arms with hope we will both find ourselves in a better place .

    • Julie says...

      I feel this! The running away fantasy is a good one. Maybe indulge it for an evening. Right after the kid’s bedtime, get in the car, blast the music, drive far in one direction (no circling around town), turn around at your first gas station (or earlier if you drive a really fuel efficient car).
      Three year olds are actually pretty insane beings to handle. Blaming yourself is tempting, but sorry, they’re just made that way! It doesn’t make it any easier, but really, they are the most challenging creatures. My therapist told me it was ok to get a leash backpack when I had a three year old. I didn’t… but I should have.
      Depressed husbands are also really a lot. I have one. Oof, I don’t know what to say, but I think good things will come. But first we all need to finally break to get there…we’ve been holding so much at bay. Lower your standards in the areas you can.
      Let the kid watch too much tv and eat cereal for dinner.
      Yours in wanting a little more room to fall apart solidarity,
      Julie

    • Kathryn says...

      Hi Kari,

      Know there is a whole community of women who are rooting for you during this hard time. Having a job you hate makes everything else so hard. Three year olds are also very hard. Be gentle with yourself, I am sure you did a perfectly good job of taking care of yourself while pregnant. Having a kid under the age of 5 is no joke, and I can’t imagine layering on a pandemic. My favorite times during the pandemic were driving in the car by myself, so I really feel wanting to drive halfway across the country. I can only imagine from this that you are a kind, loving, and smart person, and that you are going to do an amazing job with your child.

    • Carla says...

      Hi Kari,
      I wish I had a solution or a way to help you…. My son is now 5 years old. Kids can be very challenging. This isolation is not easy on the kids too. It might explain their extreme behavior. My son has his ups and down too.
      It is nothing to do with you. You are doing a great job, especially under these circumstances. As most of the readers of Cup of Jo said here, if you can try to reach out for some help, a friend or therapy.
      Things will get better… Better days will come for you, your family and all of us.
      Sending you love to you and your beautiful family.

    • Katrina says...

      Hi Kari –
      I just wanted to say, I feel you. I felt most of what you described for most of this past year, but I finally found myself on the other side, and the days aren’t quite as hard anymore. Nothing is forever; just keep putting 1 foot in front of the other.

      The next time you get the chance – eat something good, and watch something terribly trashy on TV – and know that eventually the days will be less dark. <3

    • Leigh says...

      Oh Kari you are doing everything right. Just the fact that you are worried shows what a good Mom you are. Things will get better. They have to.

    • Michelle K says...

      Just to validate – 3 years old for me was the WORST. I hated it, cried a lot, and didn’t know how or what to do. I cannot fathom that phase of life being in a global pandemic. That said, I now have a lovely, wonderful, and engaging 20 year old and I’m so grateful. Suffice to say, sometimes things just suck a lot and that’s right now.

    • Bonnie says...

      Kari – Please let that shame go as soon as you can. Toddlers can be ROUGH and 3 yo is a tough age for many. You’re doing a good job and are not being judged. I wish you had a circle of friends who could come to stand outside with you and just share time, worries, and reassure you that you are not alone, though it sounds as though you are just facing such tough times on all fronts – job, parent, spouse, time, mental space, covid, etc. I have no words of wisdom but sending you so many positive thoughts and will be lighting my evening votives for the next month with your peace of mind as my intention. I wish you lived near some COJ community folks for a life lift somehow to help you get through these painful times.

    • Amanda says...

      Sending lots of love Kari! I feel like I could have written your post myself, literally today. This morning I was daydreaming about quitting my job, our toddler has been in an extra tough phase(I’m so lost and I have a masters degree in early childhood for crying out loud!) the loneliness has *sharpened and focused*(last weekend it dawned on me that I had zero people to call just for a chat with another adult besides my husband and burst into tears about it) and my husband is doing what he can to survive as well right now. I hear you!!

    • Allison says...

      This has been such a hard year. I hope you can get some more support again soon. I felt compelled to comment because I have had both my kids go through a biting phase around that age. It’s really tough, and it’s NOT you. I remember feeling like I had to avoid playgrounds (back when covid was not a thing obviously). With my daughter what helped was having a “bedtime chat” where she could decompress and release tension safely (I know it sounds unrelated but the biting did disappear when we started these and I got the idea from the Hand in Hand Parenting site which has many helpful articles). For my son, it tended to happen when he was getting tired out and needed a snack break or to go home for a nap. Figuring out that I really couldn’t be flexible with our routine was the key for him. Each kid will have their own triggers but it’s not something unusual at that age. This year I would say there’s a good chance he’s partly reflecting the stress he’s witnessing around him and helping him process that will reduce the biting. Sending you so much sympathy. You’re really doing a good job under very trying times. My mom’s advice lately is “just one foot in front of the other”.

    • Alex says...

      Oh Kari,
      I’m so sorry for your burdens and the hopelessness you feel. I have felt this too! It’s hard to feel like you’re supposed to be perfect. None of us is and we can’t positive think our way out of the holes we find ourselves in. May I humbly suggest that you seek out a place of faith? Jesus accepts our failings and he loves us. It is the broken hopeless and struggling people he welcomes, not the people who think they’re shiny and perfect. He says “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” I need this rest and it sounds like it could bring hope to you too. Much love to you; praying you find peace.

    • Lilly says...

      It has been such a hard year and a half for everyone, but it sounds like it has been insanely hard for you. Just want to remind you (as people have done for me) that sometimes things feel so set, like they are never going to change, or like it’s going to take a huge thing to change them, but they do shift, like a kaleidoscope, and you will find yourself looking at an entirely different picture. Hold on to the hope that things will get better soon, and reach out for help. It can make all the difference. Rooting for you and your family, Kari.

    • Mariah says...

      Kari – bravo for reaching out with your comment and for continuing to find and look for small joys! You’re working so hard and I’m rooting for you. I’m sorry I don’t have any advice I just wanted to let you know i read your comment and am sending you a big virtual hug to you, your husband and toddler.

    • margaret says...

      Kari, my husband and I have a saying that opens us up. I wonder if it might help you. One of us will say “this is our safe place,” and this reminds us to just be creative and propose silly, crazy ideas, some of which turn out to be not-so-crazy once we’ve committed to taking them seriously for a few minutes.
      Maybe if you carve out an hour to take a walk or sit in your favorite chair and just brainstorm ideas that might seem really nuts, but force yourself to take those nutty ideas seriously for 5 or 10 minutes at least. For example, what if you moved to a cheaper area, could you get a job you like more? What if your husband went back to work and you put your child in daycare? You might have fixed ideas about why these ideas won’t work (like you don’t want your child in daycare) but play devil’s advocate and force yourself to reconsider those fixed ideas. Maybe you’ll find a new path. Maybe you’ll feel empowered.
      Either way, I hope you find some relief and peace. XO.

  23. Lisa says...

    Like Samantha, I have always wanted to be a writer…and this year I decided to become one! I write a mix of poetry (some of which I share in the comment section on COJ) and I’m also writing a YA novel. Even if no one ever reads it, I absolutely love writing the characters and their stories. I’m excited by writing every single day and have fallen in love with the process.

    • Victoria says...

      I try to remind myself that hobby is not a dirty word. There’s a quote I’ve forgotten about the original meaning of the word amateur, which is doing something you love. Others may read it or may not, but it’s so great that you are enjoying the act of writing and finding excitement in the characters you create!

  24. Anju says...

    On loving others, and my past selves… This post and the insightful comments reminded me of a ritual I had for years – oh well, more like a few decades probably. Each and every night, I used to blow a kiss to someone absent before going to bed. As a child this was often my dad – my parents got divorced and I only saw him every other weekend. As a teenager, the kiss was pretty much always for my current crush, embarassingly enough. When my now-husband worked abroad for a very long year, the kiss was for him. When my grandma was in hospital, the kiss was for her. When we waited for our adopted child for a number of even longer years, the kiss was for them. (My baby is 7 now and loves to hear about the kisses from mom, traveling around the world before we even met.) And now, I have my husband and my baby right next to me when I fall asleep, and I can actually physically kiss them good night. I think that in my past lives, I often felt lonely and misunderstood, but still, there was always someone to send a kiss to. And now, I am surrounded by love, and so very grateful.

    • Natalie says...

      This is so beautiful! And such a wonderful reminder that what you put out into the universe will come back to you, most of all love. Thank you for sharing, you made my day.

    • Pam says...

      This is beautiful Anju. I am so glad that the love you put out into the world found you.

    • K says...

      this is so lovely

    • Sarah says...

      You are a beautiful writer and I love this comment!!!

  25. Jessica Camerata says...

    Seems silly, but I never walk my dog with my phone so I can be present with her. The times I accidentally bring my phone for whatever reason I’m reminded of how distracting it is, and how little I focus on her. Puts the phone into perspective on how all consuming they can be.

    xo Jessica

    • Shanna says...

      I used to not bring my phone with me too for this exact reason! And then one morning at 5 am (I wake very early for our first walk) I forgot my keys and locked myself out of my studio apartment! With no one awake and no phone to call my maintenance man, I ended up going to the local college’s campus safety for help– which was a good move in the end! But now, even though I live with my fiancé, I always bring my phone . . . just in case :)

  26. celeste says...

    YES, Samantha! You are a runner if you run, you are a writer if you write. Period.

  27. Amy D says...

    Silently wept as I read these. So much wisdom in this community. I am humbled.

  28. Em says...

    Absolutely love Stacy’s comment. I do this too.

  29. Natalie S says...

    Love this post but wanted to share how one of the points made me feel. I’m Chinese and it kind of bothers me that Meghan felt like she needed to ‘prove’ her Chinese-ness… Not that it’s her fault, but it’s annoying that people feel like they have the right to judge her based on how she looks or assumptions on how she should look like. I’ve been judged for how I look and eat (you are lucky you can eat so much being Asian you all have such fast metabolism etc)

    • carson says...

      The issue is caring at all what anyone thinks – just be you. In the western world nearly everyone is entirely mixed. Trying to identify as only one portion of yourself is probably the most racist thing you can do to yourself.

      I’m white but am so often mistaken for either part hispanic or part asian and I’ve got neither – it’s eastern european plus italian and english so . . .? lol). My own mother said she mistook me for Chinese when I was born and was convinced the hospital had made a mistake and switched me out – the hospital checked and double-checked because no one could deny I totally looked like an Asian baby – but it was just ‘me’. Maybe it’s easier for me because I do look white but I grew up being constantly asked where I was from and what my heritage was. “Heinz 57”, was the answer, haha.

    • Brittny says...

      I’m also Half White/Half Chinese, and am also white passing. I identified so much with Meghan’s comment.

      I’ve been told I don’t “look Asian” my entire life. When people ask me “what are you?” or “what’s your background?” I’m met with “WHAT?! But you don’t look Asian at all.” I know other half-Chinese, half-White women who look a lot more Asian than I do, and it’s made me insecure and confused my whole life, looking “culturally ambiguous.” Because I’ve often had to convince people of what and who I am, to wholly represent myself.

      It’s totally exhausting, and I appreciate your comment, Natalie, that you’re annoyed people feel like they have the right to judge us based on assumptions on how we should look.

      It’s like the Maya Angelou quote: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

  30. Angela says...

    I started throwing a “Toast Party” for my husband’s birthday four years ago. At first our friends thought it was a little silly, but by the second year I was getting messages like “this would be good for the toast party”. My husband is a great friend to all, but a very low key guy. I loved the idea that all our friends were coming together and being over the top for him. By the 4th year everyone was so into it, my friend even baked him a cake that looked like a piece of toast with nutella spread. She made a plate/napkins/knife out of fondant to accompany the cake. That was the last toast party, a year before the Pandemic. I love everything about this, the tradition started the first year we were out of college and I looked forward to it being something we always had with our friends. I can’t wait to resume it again!

    • Love the Toast Cake :-) so so special and wonderful memory to have, through the pandemic.

  31. EmBed says...

    Sorry to be a Debbie Downer (again! is this just my permanent state??) but I got really squigged out by the idea of eating cheese in the bath. I just think of the cheese falling in the water and getting all soggy and waterlogged and eventually disintegrating and then your body soaking in a tub full of warm cheese-water — not to mention feeling all cramped up and claustrophobic from trying to share a tiny bathtub with another (tall!) person. UGH. This sounds like the sort of thing that would be cool in theory but stressful and awkward and unsatisfying in practice –like the one time an old boyfriend and I tried to have sex in a natural hot spring — not recommended! — but anyway, of course . . . you do you, boo! I’ll stick to my solo showers and eating my cheese on dry land just like the boring old basic b I am, I guess.

    • Amy says...

      Dying with the laughter! My thoughts exactly. Very romantic image though :)

    • Erin says...

      I’m also a little dubious about the logistics of cheese in the bath, but I adore retreating to a hot bath with a glass of wine (or some candy) and a trashy magazine.

      After swimming workouts in college, I would frequently eat an apple in the pool shower and it felt SOOO delightfully transgressive, even though you just stand there under the hot water, munch on the apple, and go stick the core in a trash can. Cheap thrills!

    • Agnès says...

      I so agree with you; I love my bath and my cheese (I’m french), but what if some crumbs got in the bath? even -how gross- a piece of bread. I couldn’t stand it. I’m okay with a book falling in the water, but cheese couldn’t go well with water, or nudity!

      ahahaha

    • Oh lol, I love the idea because of all that! Its like being a kid again, just not caring, even if you dont fit! Like kids when they INSIST on camping in the backyard overnight, there are just tooo many things that go wrong and Not comfortable at all!
      Dont move their cheese Embed :-)

    • Victoria says...

      Erin, I got a little frisson reading about you eating an apple in the shower, like I was getting second hand transgression energy! I really want to do this now!

  32. Shelley says...

    Eating cheese in a shallow bath (or any bath) sounds like my worst nightmare hahah. But I’m so glad they enjoy it!!

  33. This is lovely. Thank you. It reminds me that all of us have our struggles and the trick of it all is to find the beauty in things. <3

  34. Inbar says...

    Oh that last one… no words… I need that in a poster. xx

  35. Cindy Fried says...

    Love the dog walking comments. Love dogs – hate when I see them being walked by their owners who are endlessly on the phone and not engaging with their pets. Especially when I see the dogs look up at the owners with adoration. Same with babies!

    • S. says...

      Try to remember that you’re seeing a passing moment in someone’s day, not the sum of their relationship with their pet or baby.

    • rme says...

      Yes, thank you S. As a mother to a two year old, I sometimes use his walk in the stroller as an opportunity to order groceries or respond to emails on my phone. It’s definitely the least disruptive time to be occupied by my phone, as he’s happily taking in the world around him. I can assure you that I am a very present and engaged parent. The idea of being judged for that by a passerby makes me sad, honestly.

  36. Kristina says...

    I was recently diagnosed with an incurable disease. Some people have found that eating a specific diet helps, so for the past couple of months I have eaten no wheat dairy or sugar. I am astounded by how much I have valued food in my life – how much of everything is defined by what I eat. I am learning slowly and painfully that food can also be just nourishment. That it doesn’t have to be my happiness. I need to find other things to be happy about.

    • T says...

      I have a similar path and I found that once the palette adjusts you might just find immense vanilla-like sweetness in a raw almond, crisp apple-like freshness in cucumber. For me, raw and unadorned ingredients shine better than they ever have before. Of course you’ll still miss cake. It’s cake! – and that sucks – but you might just be surprised at what the sugar and dairy and wheat has been hiding. Don’t be surprised if you become the weird one luxuriating over a roasted hazelnut. Goodluck on your journey. The adjustment is hard, I cried at many a restaurant over what I couldn’t have – it’s tough socially as well as culinarily. Xx

    • T says...

      *palate

    • Amy says...

      I thought I was alone in missing the freedom of being able to eat anything I want. I am on a similar diet and it’s really, really hard. Not just the actual food prep, which is shockingly cumbersome, but just the sadness and nostalgia for being able to enjoy ice cream on a summer evening.

    • Amanda says...

      I too had to change my diet this year due to a chronic disease. I basically went paleo. It was hard for the the first month or so but once the habit is formed the cravings for all of the starches, dairy, sugars just disappear. Food becomes alive! Your taste buds change and you really begin to enjoy and crave the nutrient dense food. You do have to get creative in the kitchen. Look for recipes online and give them a go. And yes eating out is nearly impossible. I would order what I could and quickly realized that I could make better tasting food at home and save so much money doing so. Getting in the kitchen brings with it another whole world of satisfaction and empowerment also. I wish you the best and hope you begin to start enjoying food again!

    • Court says...

      Kristina- SAME. (you didn’t ask but…) I would recommend following Laura Conlay and the Yummy Mummy podcast. While she does talk about weight loss (which isn’t your goal), she really addresses the idea that “Food is fuel” but she is kind and funny and at least it’s helped me!. It’s interesting though, because the other night I was telling my four year old son that he needs to eat his broccoli, and he said, “I know, I know, it’s good for me and makes me strong.” And like why do we stop telling ourselves that as adults? She talks about “re-parenting” your brain for food.

    • K says...

      I’ve been loosely following the Gaps Diet for mild but chronic health reasons also, and at the same time fasting for Ramadan. And I had a similar revelation how food is fuel, and in turn finding the beauty of flavor out of that function. If you asked me just a couple years ago, I would have considered both a diet and fasting to be deprivation (“it’s so much focus on what you can’t eat you must end up obsessing over food, and what is life without variety or potato chips?”)

      But probably because of the pandemic, this is the first time I can fully focus on the diet and fasting and it has brought me such freedom, ironically. It’s so much free brain space to be restricted to purely nourishing foods of the moment (and not wonder what to have for dinner): A chicken soup made only with good chicken, ghee or schmaltz, carrots, onions, pink salt, rainbow pepper, and dill, for example. There’s a freedom in discipline to be forced to acknowledge that a lot of my hunger was simply an emotional attachment rather than a hunger for sustenance. I can’t eat until sundown, and that’s that–hmm maybe I’m not actually that hungry for ice cream, maybe I’m just bored. I see intuitive eating talked about more so in the sense that it’s okay to eat junk food when you crave it, but I feel it’s more like, maybe your mind wants junk food but intuitively it’s not necessarily what your body wants, and all the signals are confused.

      I still LOVE ice cream and potato chips. I love talking about food I love reading about food. But I feel a lot less at the mercy of it, and I didn’t even know I was at the mercy of it. I feel much more in control of when I really want to eat that ice cream as a treat (instead of just because it’s my choice and I can do what I want whenever I want), but because I’m fully aware of the downsides of sugar, so make this vice a completely intentional worthy splurge rather than a coping mechanism.

  37. Ah just absolutely lovely. Every single one!

    For me right now, the simplest joy for me is to read travel memoirs, make a playlist on Spotify for that country/vibe and during my son’s nap time make a cup of tea or coffee and just “escape” for a bit.

    My current book is Elizabeth Bard’s “Picnic in Provence” and I made this playlist – feel free to use it – I’ll sometimes play it all day long ha!

    https://tinyurl.com/Joie-de-viver

    • Kate says...

      Oh this is amazing!! I’m also ‘traveling’ right now through Athens with Rachel Cusk’s character in Outline (it’s really just wonderful snippets of conversation and observation so reads like a memoir, no plot other than listening to people’s stories and enjoying the weather) She has a wonderful travel memoir for Italy that’s next on my list. I think you might enjoy her writing :)

    • Joanne says...

      Will be listening to it all day! Thanks for sharing the playlist :)

    • AB says...

      Excited to listen to this, thank you!

    • Blandine says...

      THank you for the playlist! I had a book-induced travel experience lately while reading Elif Shafak’s wonderful novel ‘The Bastard of Istanbul’. The depictions of the city, the people and the food was like going on a trip. One of the silver linings of this pandemic for me has been a deep and renewed appreciation for books!

  38. Tracey says...

    I’m a highly sensitive person, which is not the same as someone who takes offense or gets upset easily, but rather, I feel the world in a big way with all my senses all the time. For most of my life it has been such a gift, but in the last few years I’ve been crushed by grief and being fully immersed in both emotion and sensation felt so raw. I’ve come to realize that it is both a gift and a curse, depending on circumstance – but when I’m in the sea and my eyes are hypnotized by the light dancing in little glitter balls on the water, when every cell of my skin is alive with the icey cold tide, when I can taste the salt and feel the current through every strand of my hair I am fully alive – that transcendence is so accessible for me and for that I am grateful.

    • Thank you for sharing this. I had a similar discovery later in my life and worried that I was overly or too sensitive. I saw it in a negative way. You have helped me appreciate that it’s a gift and treat myself better

    • carson says...

      I’ve found several youtube channels by woman who have solved this issue for themselves by moving into nature. Each of them has an explanation video of their ‘story’ and what drove them to move – they all have the same story really. You may find inspiration there to pursue your own well-being:
      jonna jinton
      leena henningsen
      isabel paige
      hannah lee duggan

    • Samantha says...

      I am also an HSP and this is such a great description of it!

    • Amy says...

      Me, too. You’ve described my life experience so well. You are not alone. Thank you for the reminder that I can go to the sea. I haven’t been swimming in the ocean in years.

    • Warm Sea Hugs to You. I feel you, it is a real bitter-sweet instinct we have!! ‘Try’ keep focusing on the good side of it, being there for helping others through the pain they feel!
      Every dark cloud does have silver sea line around it! XXX

    • Victoria says...

      I’m HSP and mine interacted, or probably is caused by, childhood trauma, and my chronic illness interweaves too. People don’t realise what sensory overload means, or what it’s like to find teasing physically painful, or to cry just looking at people in the street, because you can feel their pain. Definitely a gift and curse.
      I’m in a struggle right now, but maybe I can remember you describing the transcendence. On Monday I felt the salad I was eating in such a rich way, when I remembered to slow down and let myself feel it.

    • Tracey says...

      Victoria that is my trifecta also. Chronic illness, childhood trauma, HSP. Many days I feel so exposed. I only recently found out that other people can’t feel noise course through their body. Ha! What the heck? All we can do is try and lean in to the sublime, that’s our superpower.

  39. Lauren says...

    Wow, each one is better than the last! I am so moved and inspired by each story shared!

  40. CC says...

    This post made me tear up several times. I have been somewhat lucky in my career up until now, and I am finally in a job that has enough stability for me to have a child (aka health insurance and summer income). I am a new mom finally, and having a pandemic baby has not been easy. Plus these d*mn hormones are BANANAS. I miss people, I miss good friends who live in other cities, I miss my family. No one has been able to come visit. I want to share this precious little spirit with the world, but it has been exceptionally solitary instead because of dumb covid. Thank you for creating this little pocket of comfort for me today. These comments are bringing me back to feeling connected and grounded. Mille grazie!

  41. Dana says...

    Thank you for putting this collection of comments together. Just what I needed tonight! Have had a bit of a bummer day and was being really hard on myself. This reminded me that there are so many beautiful, simple, and spectacular ways to live fully.

  42. Mary Ellen Mitchell says...

    I’m considering using an upcoming sabbatical at work to go back and teach at my highschool. They asked me to design a seminar and I’m considering “the decisions: a retrospective from middle age.” I’d love be to get thoughts from the crowd on what you wish someone had told you at 18, or what your 40 year old self wants to tell your 18 year old self

    • Kate says...

      I would love to go back in time and tell my teenage self: stop being so judgmental. You’ll enjoy your life so much more.

      And I also just want to tell her to stick with learning the guitar and stick with learning French. You will wish you had these skills when you’re older and it’s much easier to learn now (brain plasticity, etc) She would roll her eyes for sure..

    • Mich w/ 2 Ls says...

      This is going to sound trite but . . . I (33f) would tell my 18y.o. self simply: it gets better. And I had a good life at 18! But at the time, I couldn’t see past my insecurities about who I WAS to see how good my life actually was. So, I would start by taking that seriously. And I would simply say: it gets better.
      I think that also would help me get through the tougher times that would come later — the breakups, the anxiety over the future, the financial insecurities. “If life is going to get better than it was when I was 18, then it’s SURELY going to get better than this!”
      Internal insecurities will fade as you accept yourself for who you are. You will become the person you were meant to be. Whether you’re bullied every day or you feel like you’re on top of the world . . . just wait. Life gets better.

    • katie says...

      37 is not old. Things change all the time, and what you do does not define who you are. It’s okay to enjoy things for the sake of enjoying them. You don’t have to work toward a goal.
      Also, life is hard for everyone. Be kind to yourself and others. You just never really know what they’re going through and they themselves might not realize how broken they are until they aren’t.

    • EW says...

      1000% agree with IT GETS BETTER. When I was young, my parents were terrible role models in every single sense. I had little control over my life and their thoughts about the decisions I was making were not helpful. Being fully independent and living with integrity about the commitments you make to yourself and others will take you far. What a fun opportunity!

    • Anna says...

      Two things: 1. Learn the enneagram, 2. Start investing NOW.

    • Michele says...

      I’m 32 only but: I’d tell them to travel if they can, and say yes to invitations while abroad (with the obvious caveat to stay safe). And it’s good to maybe not talk to Mom while you’re abroad — it’s amazing how resourceful and smart you can be making your own decisions.

      Also: yes, that is depression, and it would be good to get therapy and go on meds.

    • Amy says...

      I wish someone had said that I didn’t have to be depressed. That I needed to explore medicine to help.

      On a lighter note, I wish someone had told me that I didn’t need to have a boyfriend. And that not being in a relationship in my 20s didn’t mean I wouldn’t get married. I wish I had spent more time with friends and less time with boyfriends.

    • Rach says...

      I would love to take this class now, at age 44! How cool

      Things that come to mind…
      Spend more time with parents, siblings and friends
      Make the first move (friends, romance, job, life)
      Take tons of pictures
      Personal finance, learn it
      It’s never too late :):)

    • andi says...

      #1 Invest every penny and learn about how to manage it. Basically, dominate money or it will dominate you. Your entire life’s path is shaped by this knowledge. Begin deposits and education in grade school.

      #2 You can love ANYONE so only choose someone who has their life together. Sexual chemistry is nice but it does NOT qualify someone as relationship material or mature enough to hold your heart in their power. Be wise.

      Bonus points: buy a house or property as soon as possible.

      In this order.

    • Samantha says...

      You don’t have to have it all figured out yet (or ever!).
      Take a gap year! Try different things!

    • Emily says...

      Start a budget NOW. You need to know where each and every dollar goes each month. I promise it feels freeing! Find an app that works for you and start entering every paycheck and every receipt.

    • Erin says...

      I tell my nieces/nephews (and eventually my own children): For most people, the first year of college is very lonely. You’ll hear only how much fun people had when they were in college (and you will, too!) and it will seem like everyone else is having the time of their life freshman year, but they are feeling the same as you. For some reason, no one talks about this.

      I’d tell myself: Wear your retainer!

      Actually, I’d have a LOT of advice for my 18 year old self, but it’s very specific and largely involves who to date and who not to date.

    • Jeanne says...

      This is such a great idea

      I echo the personal finance comments. Save for retirement and take advantage of the power of time & money

      Also, don’t make big decisions based on pleasing others or doing what you think you should be doing at a certain age. Doing so can cloud your judgement and possibly negatively affect your life. Be true to yourself even if it’s scary!

      Ditch toxic people in your life pronto and don’t look back.

      40 isn’t actually old!

  43. Sara says...

    I really love the story about the woman who went to law school at 62. Incredible! And she went on to have a nice, long career, as well.

    Part of my “retirement plan” is to have a second career at 50, something a bit more meaningful and flexible (and likely less lucrative) than my role in project management in Tech (which I enjoy in a lot of ways, but it’s not something I want to do forever).

    • Kristin says...

      My mother retired not too long ago and she has a second career as an end of life doula and an end of life therapeutic musician!

  44. Lyn says...

    I, too, relish the experience of walking my dog every day. When we got our first dog, about fifteen years ago, we lived in a very cold climate. In the winter I would take her for walks at 6:30 in the morning, when the temperatures hovered around twenty degrees below zero (our dog was part husky; she was fine!). The deep silence and the strange feeling and sound of the snow early in the morning was beautiful. She would plow through deep, powdery snow banks along our street; I’d only see the tip of her white tail sticking up out of the snow; then her little black nose would pop out.
    Now we live further south, and in the mountains, and we have a different dog (the husky mix died a few years ago after a long happy life). Now I walk our dog on mountain trails and follow at his pace while he sniffs tree stumps and wades through streams. I’m always careful to notice what he notices, both for safety’s sake and because it’s delightful. Once we saw a deer silently walking down a steep wooded hill towards us. I would have never seen that deer if I hadn’t noticed our dog sniffing in that direction.

    • Jennifer says...

      I love this. I can vividly picture your beloved dogs on their walks. Dogs are the absolute best.

  45. Christy says...

    Omg these are all wonderful and Agnes’s comment in particular is so so precious. I’ll remember it!

    • Jackie says...

      Agreed, agreed, agreed. It makes so much sense to my heart.

  46. Nicola says...

    I so love this post.

    I lost a beautiful friend this year, she had cancer for eight years but never identified as a ‘cancer person’. She just saw us when her body was good, and rested when it wasn’t. As a result, we had some seriously great times and fabulous dinners (some far more extravagant than people in our late-twenties should have been having, but I do not regret a single minute).

    At our very last dinner (although we didn’t know that at the time), she very gracefully played along when I didn’t drink, and suggested that we skip the oysters this time…

    Now she is not here, and I am pregnant with my child who will never meet her. But I think he knows her, and I channel her often when I marvel at the good things my body is doing, instead of worrying about the ‘what ifs’. Plus I’m getting a framed print of oysters for the nursery :)

    • E says...

      That made me cry!

    • Katherine says...

      I’m so sorry for your loss and love how you are honoring your dear friend’s memory ❤️

  47. Susannah says...

    Stacey, your comment was just what I needed to hear right now. Thank you <3

  48. Annie says...

    Love Jennifer’s comment on canine rituals. As I was walking my 3yo black lab in the rain today (he loooooves puddles and never wants to come back inside), I was thinking how nice the spring rain felt on my face. So underrated!

  49. Sarah says...

    I really don’t like what Agnes is implying there (a body is ‘smooshy’ because someone ate too much or didn’t exercise? Getting zits because of eating poorly?). There is so much judgement and guilt in those statements, namely surrounding women’s eating habits and how they need to exhibit more control over their bodies. My body is smooshy because I gave birth to two children. I have zits because of hormone fluctuations beyond my control (PCOS). I think I see where the intention is coming from, but it’s tangled up in so many problematic ideas. How about instead of pressuring others to LOVE their bodies, which can be a tough ask for many, we suggest that they feel neutral towards them, or wonder and curiosity about them?
    The Canadian in me will now apologize for being a negative Nancy on what is otherwise the best place I come to on the Internet. <3

    • Rena says...

      I love your comment…

    • Kate says...

      I’ve been learning more about body neutrality (and want to keep learning) and I think it can be distilled into this: our bodies are AMAZING vessels through which we experience life. But we will not always feel that they are beautiful and that’s okay because that’s simply not the point.

    • Caitlin Knight says...

      Hmm, I think I understand where you are coming from, but the pronouns used for those specific examples were all first person. I hope that Agnes does not feel guilt or shame about eating habits, but she says that eating certain foods results in poorer skin for her, than I don’t want to minimize or discount that. I have noticed my body behave similarly with certain foods. I believe the body neutrality movement is an important philosophy that resonates best with a lot of people. But I also think that if body positivity is working for someone there is nothing wrong with that philosophy! I think its great to point out both so people can see what works for them.

    • Jj says...

      Yes! Asking folks with autoimmune diseases to love their bodies is annoying. I eat a very restrictive diet and I still suffer awful symptoms (random hives, hormonal break outs, hairless, bloating are just some of the tolerable ones). I’ve learned that the body is a neutral entity and loving or hating it is mostly a waste of time.

  50. Lauren R says...

    Allie’s food ritual with cheese in the bath with her partner (love!) makes me think of a ritual I’ve built with a new partner, one of reading to each other. He reads me poems, including love poems, but really anything that strikes him. I read him children’s books, which I’ve collected for years in my travels. There’s something so pure, good and raw about reading to each other – I look forward to it and jump into bed waiting for my evening poem. <3

    • Tazza says...

      I love this.

    • A wonderful ritual, make sure to keep it. Even if it just becomes a weekend habit.
      My partner and I use to do it, buying specific books for holidays and wonderfully illustrated childrens books (on book sales). Was a regalur sunday evening ritual to keep away end weekend mood.
      Unfortunately it got lost by starting to live a hamster life, instead of keeping a little of the child in us!!

    • margaret says...

      Love this, Lauren. My husband and I read all the Harry Potter books out loud to each other. Those are such happy memories! When the last book came out, we booked an airbnb in the woods for the weekend. We brought a lot of home cooked food with us so we could focus on reading, not cooking and restaurant-going. We stayed up till 3 am to finish!

  51. A toast party is the highest form of social gathering in my humble opinion!

  52. Nicole says...

    Oh my gosh! It’s happened! I’ve been quoted! I’ve been following this blog for years (since Toby was born), and it’s always been on my personal bucket list to someday be shouted-out in a “reader comment” here on Cup of Jo! Wowza! Entering into my weekend boudoir photoshoot positively gleaming now! Absolutely go out there and live fully, fellow readers!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YAY!!!! xoxooxox

    • E says...

      Your excitement just made my day! I hope you feel great and love your shoot!

    • Enjoy your boudoir shoot, Nicole! I had one a few years ago and it. was. amazing. Highly recommend.

    • Macauley says...

      Happy elopement Nicole – you sound so happy :)

    • Kara says...

      You’ll have that post-omgtheyquotedme-glow! Have so much fun!!

  53. Calla says...

    Love this, the toast party reminds me of a party I once held called “Breads and Spreads” Everyone brought either a bread product or something to put on bread and we mixed and matched. It kept things cheap (we are all grad students) while still making sure everyone was full and could have a relaxed good time.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      how fun!

    • rachel says...

      What a cute idea! <3

    • Cymbidy says...

      So funny! I had a party like this when I was a grad student too: I called it the “Anything But Hummus” party (even though I love hummus). Everyone contributed their favourite junk food, and I passed around a fancy plate of Oreos for people to dip in their wine glasses filled with milk. It was hilarious and a very good (and very cheap) time. :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      anthing but hummus is a great name!

  54. Cheryl says...

    Best comment section on the internet.

    • Amy says...

      + 100%!!

    • Alex says...

      Absolutely! The comment secion on CoJ is one of the small miracles of life :)