44 Things That Brought Me Joy Last Year

Another trip around the sun is done. Here are 44 things I learned or brought my joy last year.

And not just the good stuff. But all of it. The gifts, the friends, the overtalkative co-worker, the flight delays, the sunsets, the leaky pipes, the stress, the bonfires, and the arguments.

It’s all connected. You gotta look at all of it to be truly be grateful.

  1. The everyday chaos and confusion of living with 9-year-old and 12-year-old girls. One still attached to that little kid magic and one a pre-teen.

  2. Short afternoon naps lead to significant increases in productivity, psychological well-being and cognition. In contrast, an extra 30 minutes sleep at night shows no similar improvements.

  3. Baking bread and making pizzas.

  4. Listening to the girls talk to Grammie on Facetime.

  5. In the 1930s, people didn’t watch movies from start to finish: “You strolled down the street and sallied into the theater at any hour of the day or night. Like you’d go in to have a drink at a bar.”

  6. Don’t judge, build.

  7. The difference between a creative environment and a bunch of people shouting out ideas is the listening.

  8. Don’t be scared to be stupid. Lots of stupid ideas get you to the really good ideas faster.

  9. While recording the audiobook version of Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White needed 17 takes to read Charlotte’s death scene because he kept crying. Makes me feel better about every Pixar movie I watch.

  10. Meeting Ally each afternoon at the bus stop.

  11. The number of people born in Antarctica (11) is fewer than the number of people who have walked on the Moon (12).

  12. In emergencies, mammals can breathe through their anus.

  13. Dogs tend to poop aligned north-south.

  14. Seeing Dash smile during his woods walks.

  15. If you’re like me, you’ve been drawing butterflies incorrectly your whole life.

  16. Playing the ukulele. It’s hard to hold onto anger or frustration when you’re playing a tiny instrument. Even badly.

  17. Selling not one, but two books in the Netherlands. There is now a Max book in 21 different countries around the world.

  18. Kay Ryan and Mary Oliver’s poems.

  19. Discovering and then seeing Hadestown.

  20. Finding the notes that Ally leaves all over the house.

  21. Be able to go back inside the library.

  22. Productivity dysmorphia is the inability to see one’s own success, to acknowledge the volume of your own output.

  23. Answering emails and chatting with readers.

  24. Every minute of Ragnar in a pickup truck. Okay, maybe not every minute.

  25. Watching the kids get their first Jeopardy answer right.

  26. Reading good mysteries and thrillers (Razorblade Tears, The Plot, Velvet Was the Night, Harlem Shuffle, The Midnight Library, The Eight Detective, Dream Girl).

  27. Listening to the audiobooks of Louise Penny’s Gamache series.

  28. Watching Ted Lasso and realizing Roy Kent is the hero and better role model.

  29. Finding out Queen Elizabeth thought running the empire was easier than being a parent.

  30. Hearing Cecilia’s big laugh at the stupidest videos on America’s Funniest Home Videos.

  31. Women’s relative earnings increase 4% when their manager becomes the father of a daughter, rather than a son. This daughter effect was found in 25 years of Danish small-business data.

  32. Showing something to the girls that I love and watching them start out skeptical, but slowly come around, a.k.a Prince’s music, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, bowls of ramen.

  33. Trying to see the green flash during Cape Cod sunsets.

  34. Warm Wawa pretzels during roadtrips.

  35. Hanging out with the puppies.

  36. Lazy summer nights watching the Tour de France recaps with Dad.

  37. Good quality audio can make you sound 19% more clever.

  38. Playing pub trivia with friends. I spend a lot of time by myself. I need to do this more.

  39. Extreme chocolate ice cream cones from the Brewster scoop.

  40. Running the Brew Run with Michelle and seeing her outsprint a guy at the end but them let up and allow him to win.

  41. It takes about 200 hours of investment to make a stranger into a good friend.

  42. Silly, rambling Marco Polo videos and reconnecting with old friends.

  43. Looking out the window in the afternoon and seeing the entire neighborhood playing in the cul-de-sac.

  44. Getting everyone in the house vaccinated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *