After a long blogging hiatus, I’m back! We recently moved to my hometown, a place that feels both familiar and new. It’s been an uncovering of old haunts and childhood memories. And it’s been a process of rediscovering a city that’s transformed over two decades and seeing it through the fresh eyes of my kids.
So, consider this my return. A return to this blog, to my hometown, and perhaps on some level, to myself.
In the interim, I’ve been thinking a lot about writing and a way to cultivate a more regular writing habit. I admire people who have dedicated practices — the stalwart early morning exerciser or crack of dawn writer, the daily meditator. After lots of abandoned practices and experimenting, I’ve learned that for me, starting small is better than not starting.
In that spirit, and inspired by #onegoodthing on the profoundly beautiful Commonplace blog (and a similar practice detailed in Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant’s brave book, Option B), last month I started writing down one good thing from each day. It’s my attempt at writing a few words daily and perhaps more important, of identifying and naming those moments of goodness.
There are those great days where it’s hard to pick just one good thing and there are other days where I have to dig deep to find the bits of joy. But the practice of recording them in the slivers of solitude each night has taught me a lot. It reminds me of the Where’s Waldo? books, where the reader has to find Waldo in his striped shirt and hat on each page. Some pages are more difficult than others, but over time, it gets easier to find Waldo since your eyes get accustomed to looking for him. In that way, I’m building my joy muscle. Going through my day I’m primed to see those gems, those “thin slices of joy” as Chade-Meng Tan calls them. And when I find them, I hold them up to the sun and watch them sparkle.
- Cherry blossoms cover my windshield like snowflakes
- Cutting veggies, a glass of wine, and the wistful notes of Billie Holiday
- An impromptu dance party
- The sweet, deep slumber of a child
- Discovering the self-serve carwash with a 7-year-old
- Getting lost in the best bookstore
- A meandering hike in a new place on a sunny, spring day
- Rosé in a can and leftover pizza
- Falling asleep with a good book
- Overhearing my kids tell each other silly knock-knock jokes
- Noticing the countless shades of green outside my window after a rain on a spring evening
- Sharing candy corn, giggles and music that’s probably too loud (and questionably inappropriate) with my kids
- Savoring a lazy morning
- A poem by my son, lots of family time, and a game of tag at dusk
- A mug of tea on a rainy night
- Master of None: season 2
- A kind call from a stranger
- My daughter witnessing her caterpillars transform into chrysalides. Pure joy and wonder
- Discovering a hidden mural
- A cathartic talk and cuddle after an argument
- A Sunday night dinner outside on a warm evening, complete with a watermelon seed-spitting contest
- An unexpected moment of stillness and connection in the midst of a tough, sweaty workout
- A sweet bedtime conversation
- Full belly laughter
- A mini-lesson on sketching from an inspiring artist
- Watching my youngest try something new and difficult, with determination and grace
- Creating and building something with my son
- Mountain vistas on a cloudless day
- A picnic and romp in a little waterfall; walking along my favorite bend in a river
- Discovering a lovely new children’s book
- Releasing butterflies into the world