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Thoughts on: Joy
From Emma Gannon to Sari Botton, here are answers to the question, "Where are you finding joy?"
Welcome to Thoughts On, a series of bite-sized, soul-nourishing insights from our time’s greatest heart-centered minds. Culled from my interview series, these are the can’t-miss excerpts on cultivating joy.
I always end my interviews by asking a version of, “So much is hard right now. Where are you finding joy?” Here are some of the responses:
1. Joy in appreciation texts
“Every evening for the past eight months, my friend and I have been texting each other something we’re appreciative of. It might be the smallest thing. And a couple of times we've been like: fuck this, no, nothing is nice, everything is terrible. But we have to take account: this went well; this went well; this was nice; this felt good; this was sweet. That’s where I put my attention. I follow the joy.”
— Nayomi Munaweera [read Nayomi’s full interview]
2. Kooky joy in birds, friendship, and eavesdropping
“I've never had a hard time finding joy. Come on, the wind-- that's joy! A heron skimming over a lake-- that's kooky joy! I like to swim long distances in lakes. What joy to cook and sit at a table with friends and family! It’s been so nice to be able to come back face to face with people, to touch people again. Everyday there's so much unexpected pleasure. Eavesdropping in the supermarket makes me happy.”
— Victoria Redel [read Victoria’s full interview]
3. Joy in the boring
“In nature, which sounds very cliche, but I grew up around a lot of nature in Devon and I didn't really care about it at the time. Walks, boring, beaches, boring! Such an ungrateful teenager (which is probably quite normal). So I'm having a new love affair with it at the moment because I'm seeing it in a new way. The things I used to find really boring I find really amazing now. I went for a run this afternoon in the Hackney Marshes, there's a lot of nature and birdsong there around the River Lea. It was so green. All the trees were almost neon. I had to put my sunglasses on because it was so strikingly green. I had a moment where I was like, This planet is so nice. And so green! Aren't we lucky that spring is coming and all the trees are full of leaves! Sometimes those moments really do feel 'enough.' Plus, I always come back with something to write about.”
—[read Emma’s full interview]
4. Joy in familiar places (AKA martinis and sandwiches)
“So much of it is where I always find it: Friends. Writing. Martinis. Abandoned spaceships. Breakfast sandwiches.”
—[read Alexander’s full interview]
5. Joy in just opening your face up
“I find joy when I clear the decks and I give myself time to write. I have such a good time. Also singing. I love karaoke. And performing with Brian. We make music together. We write songs. We also play covers with a ukulele. But something about singing, I don't know if it's the vagus nerve or if it's just opening my face up and expressing myself, that gives me more joy than most other things in life.”
—[read Sari’s full interview]
Want some thoughts on writing from the pros? Check out Thoughts on: Writing.
Coming soon: George Saunders, Thoughts on: Writing (part 2), and more soul-nourishing interviews, essays, and thoughts. Become a paid subscriber to Beyond for full access to the Thoughts On archive and what’s coming next!
So much is hard right now. Where are you finding joy?