Gratitude, Happiness

A Short List Of Things That Bring Me Joy

happy person thinking about things that bring me joy

I have a running list of things that bring me joy. This is a list I’m always adding to, a list I can’t help but think about and jot mental notes down as I go through my days. Sometimes it’s a smile with a stranger, other times its words that my boyfriend and I share or a glance across the kitchen table. Sometimes it’s when I close my eyes and feel the sun on my skin, or laugh at an unfamiliar joke for the first time.

I’m always adding. I’m always remembering that I have so much to be thankful for.


Holding hands with someone I love. And not only the ease at which our fingertips intertwine, but how normal it feels, despite time and space and change. How when you hold someone’s hand, you feel the ridges, the callouses, and the lines that make their print theirs. And how unfathomable is it that two people in completely different paths, with completely different dreams can somehow stumble into one another, and call each other home.


Coconut-scented sunscreen. And how spreading it on makes me feel like I’m becoming something beautiful, like I’ve just gone from ordinary woman to ocean goddess and sometimes those silly, little things make a difference in the day-to-day.


Hand-written notes, or messages from people who went out of their way to let you know you are loved. And how the world needs so much more of that.


Painted toenails. And how much cuter the polish makes me feel—right now a pearly pink—like the color of faded cotton candy, or sunset clouds against my sun-kissed skin.


Phone calls with my sister, who, every single time takes me by surprise with her wit, grace, and knowledge about questions I didn’t even know I was asking.


Laughing off mistakes. Like last night when I undercooked the banana bread and no one really likes it, but we all laughed and took bites anyways and moved on because life is too short to be upset about a few wasted eggs, flour, and two cups of sugar.


The feeling you get when you’ve finally crossed something off your list that you’ve been stressing about for months and the satisfaction in knowing you did all you could to make something happen. And it might not go your way, but you tried. And sometimes that is enough.


The necklace that I’m wearing. Because I’m not a big necklace person, but my boyfriend went out of his way to find something just delicate and silvery enough for me to wear. And the fact that he remembers little things like metal preferences and special dates and my favorite kind of wine. And how wonderful it is, simply to love and be loved.


The way toes feel in sand. And the mix of warmth and cool and graininess that reminds you of all the thousands of tiny shell-specks that cracked and broke and changed and became something beautiful, even though they no longer resemble their original design.


Vanilla, malty-flavored beer.

Featured Image Credit: Andrea Vehige

[Home » Gratitude » A Short List Of Things That Bring Me Joy]

This entry was posted in: Gratitude, Happiness


Marisa Donnelly, M.Ed., is a writer/editor, credentialed teacher, proud bonus mama, and CEO of Be A Light Collective, a coaching and content creation business and digital marketplace. She is the Director of Donnelly’s Daily Apple, a flexible learning/tutoring and educational resource platform, and the lead voice for Momish Moments and Step by Step Parents, verticals dedicated to sharing and advocating for non-traditional parenting journeys. Marisa currently resides in San Diego, California, with her fiancé, kiddo, and their two rambunctious Pitbulls. ❤️