A while ago I conducted a thought experiment on my social media about small moments of joy and where people find them. I thought this would be an interesting question because everyone has different experiences with joy and where they find it. Plus it makes people think about happy things which really has no downside. I attached a short TED talk to my Facebook post on joy that talks about things people usually associate with joy such as balloons, swirly lollipops, bubbles, bright pops of color, and rounded edges. No one mentioned things like these when I asked them about what brings them joy but talked instead on experiential moments. Moments like looking into the eyes of their child when they were placed in their arms for the first time, seeing pride or joy in the faces of others, picking up friends from the airport after a long time apart, high school graduation, etc. Maybe these are moments we can relate to or not but what matters is that for someone, these memories are associated with a feeling of pure, simple joy, an emotion we wish everyone experiences as much as they can through life.

The first moment that brought me to this topic was on a spontaneously sunny day in January. I thought that Spring had magically come early and of course, I was wrong (thanks Eugene) but it still felt great to have the sun shining if just for a day. Nothing spectacular occurred on this day. I just remember walking to class with a smoothie in hand, the taste of lemon and ginger exploding on my tongue, the sun shining down on my head, and a long forgotten song playing through my headphones. A sense of overwhelming joy and contentment fell over me. I hadn't accomplished anything, in particular, it was just the combination of simple, yet joyful things that made me feel perfectly content. I think acknowledging this moment is really important because of the fact that it didn't include a massive accomplishment. I find it's easy to get caught up in goals and go go going that we forget that joy can be found in simple everyday things. Yes, large accomplishments can bring us immense joy but so can a peaceful walk on the beach or being reunited with a longtime friend.

My reason for bringing up this topic is that I think we should allow ourselves to spend more time thinking about joy. We should go about our day acknowledging the things that make us happy rather than letting them slip through our minds before jumping to the next thing we have to do. We should spend more time in the moment. More time dancing, singing, laughing, watching the clouds, listening to good music, drinking hot tea, and doing whatever brings us joy. Think of it as a brain break. You probably need it. You may feel like you can't afford it but trust me, you can. Your sanity depends on it. Yes, society may be telling you to be on 24/7 but that's just not plausible and we need to push back on that expectation. No one can keep going continuously. We all need a break and acknowledging and going out of our way to experience things that bring us joy is the perfect way to spend that break. It's rejuvenating and memorable. It's good to have a store of moments that brought you joy to refer back to but there's no way to have that unless we're paying attention to those things in the moment.

Society is telling you to speed up but I'm telling you to slow down and excuse my cliche but smell the roses. Recognize the things that bring you joy and go out and do them. I can't guarantee anything but I'm confident you'll be a much happier human being because of it. My new appreciation of joy is what has led me to want to spread it and remind people of it because I hate that we've allowed ourselves to forget it.

Why have we forgotten it? I think one of the big reasons is because it feels childish. As if staring open-mouthed at a double rainbow is childish and we feel ashamed if we get caught doing it. Well, guess what. F*** that. I hope you stare open-mouthed at that rainbow until your tongue feels like paper.  I hope you skip down the beach, arms swinging instead of listening to your "adult" brain and walking calmly with zero emotion on your face. I hope you allow yourself to pack a picnic and head to a park and drink La Croix while staring up at the sky for hours trying to identify obscure shapes in the clouds. And yes La Croix needed to be included in this post because it's another thing that brings me immense joy. The Key Lime flavor to be specific, thanks to my dear friend Christina for introducing me to it. There are so many opportunities every day for us to appreciate small acts of joy. So let's do it. If you're considered childish for doing so then obviously the people that say so have no idea what joy is and should read this. Tell them to come talk to me and I'll send them a care package of joyful things or give them instructions to go to Disneyland and hug Mickey Mouse until the smile on their face is irremovable.

I'm very passionate about this whole joy thing as you can tell so you should probably just listen to me so I don't have to come after you. I promise you won't be disappointed. I just want more people to realize how joy can and should be a daily part of life. I urge you to end each day by thinking back on a moment of joy you experienced that day. I bet you'll find you're a much happier person because of it.

I've had many moments of joy today but one of them was sitting outside, drinking what some might call a sickeningly sweet iced coffee but me a joyfully sweet iced coffee and writing this post. What's yours?