Finding little pieces of joy

Lately I’ve been trying to find the less-evident things in life that make me happy.

You know, like fruit punch Jolly Ranchers.

The month of November reminds us that we need to be thankful. In reality, it would be great if we could express our gratitude about more things in life much more often than only one month out of the year. It’s probably really good for our well-beings. I’m no doctor or psychologist, but I’m pretty sure that’s accurate.

pic-with-tie

I’m thankful for Tie, my koala given to me in elementary school by my best friend. (Yes, I’m 32 and still have a stuffed animal. It’s cool.)

I honestly think it’s important to remind yourself that there are wonderful aspects of life that often arrive without huge grandeur or obviousness. I’m not the best about doing this. Sometimes I let the big things in my life—both positive and negative—overshadow what my focus should really be on: little pieces of joy.

Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and many of us are likely going to gather around tables and express our gratitude for family and health and homes and so many other wonderful facets of our lives. And that’s good. We should do that. But I want to take a moment right now to mention some of the other blessings in life that I really love but often overlook in terms of giving thanks. I’ve compiled a short list of thank-you notes to shine spotlights on those important bits of greatness.

SportsCenter—Truthfully, I don’t know what I would do without you, SC. Sadly, I cannot always watch every single game played in every single sport, but you make that OK. You let me know what happened, and you make me smile by bringing in some pretty witty anchors to deliver it all (I’m looking at you, Neil and Stan). I start my morning with you, and I end my day with you. Thank you.

The treadmill—Let’s be honest: Most of the time, I say that I don’t like you. But that’s not very kind of me, because you really do come in handy when it’s lightning outside or on those very rare days when it ices in the winter months. Where would I run on those days if it weren’t for you? Through the halls of my apartment complex? No. That would wake up my neighbors. But you don’t wake up my neighbors, and that’s an admirable quality. Thank you.

My personal space heater—The office feels like what I imagine living in an actual refrigerator would feel like. It’s almost like the episode of “I Love Lucy” when she gets trapped in a freezer. (There is zero exaggeration here.) But you change that. You make it close to 80 degrees all of the time at my desk. Without you, I would probably have lips bluer than those of Kate Winslet when she’s telling Leo DiCaprio that she’ll never let go. You’re an actual life saver. Thank you.

The Musers—Fellas, my drive to work in the morning could be so boring, but it’s the opposite. Your observations and fake interviews always make my mornings full of laughter and happiness. I never thought I would be entertained by something like a pretend station mouse with a high-pitched giggle (or admit to it), but for some reason I am. Please never stop talking. Thank you.

Scarves—I hate cold weather. I normally don’t like to use the word “hate,” but I mean it in every sense of the word right now. I hate it. But you help provide me warmth. I cannot effectively tell you how much you mean to me, but you are part of the reason I survive the colder air. You come in so many colors and styles, and you match with anything (because anything matches if you wear it with confidence). Thank you.

Genuine people—You know what it means to be honest and care about how you treat others. You say you’re going to do something, and you actually follow through with it. Others appreciate that. Hearts matter to you, because people matter to you. Thank you.

When I was a teacher, I used to take my favorite class outside every once in a while on nice days, and we would sit in a circle and go around and share highs and lows of our weeks. I was really thankful during those moments, and I think the kids were, too. It forced us all to find at least one good thing going on in our lives to share for the highs, and it felt good.

Because being thankful feels good.

Life is hard. There’s no way around that. There’s a saying about learning to dance in the rain, and maybe being grateful for the “little” (I think they’re actually really big) things in life is doing just that. Maybe it will help during the tough times to remind others how thankful you are for them—because they matter. And you matter. And being grateful matters.

Because, to me, thankfulness is another way to spread love that’s so badly needed in this world.

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About Natalie

I love sports and romcoms. Two very important truths: Anything matches if you wear it with confidence, and there is never a wrong time to eat froyo.
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