100 things that bring me joy

I feel like as parents we are often overwhelmed by so many things: the news seems too depressing to read or watch, our country is divided and is often bringing out the worst in people, our children’s needs and schedules usually come before our own, we are feeling like we are working just to pay the bills and have decent healthcare, we are constantly drowning in laundry, we hope that our kids go to college but that they get scholarships to pay for it, we all want dinner to magically appear at an already set dinner table and many parents are also often taking care of an elderly or ailing parent as well as raising kids.  In addition to all of that, we are trying to save for our retirement and holding out the hope that by that point we will finally be able to relax, enjoy life and spoil the not yet born grandkids.  

I decided that I would try to spend some time and positive energy focusing on what I do have and what brings me joy.  Like many of you, I am so blessed to have been given or achieved so many wonderful things as well as being surrounded by so many kind and amazing people.  

I often am so busy looking at my feet and the ground in front of me that I forget to pull my head up to look at the cool cloud formations in the sky.  Have you ever been driving on the highway and your kid says, “Mommy, I see a rabbit” or an elephant or a race car? When you ask where, they say, “In the clouds”.  Kids are able to look up and find simple joy in the clouds while we are too busy watching our feet and the ground in front of us.

In trying to be more like kids and taking time to look up at the clouds, I decided to write down a list of things that bring me joy.  And I found that just writing the list brought me more joy. 

When it seems as if the world is falling apart or life is just really hard, I plan to pull out this list to remember all the good stuff happening in my life and what brings me joy. 

I hope you take the time to write down your own list.  If you do, I’d love for you to email it to me at julie@theordinarymom.com.  I’m a believer that you shouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel so feel free to “borrow” any of mine just as I may “borrow” some of yours.  

I plan for my list to be ever-evolving so after more reflection and “borrowing” from you all,  I might eventually have to rename it the 1,000 things that bring me joy. I might even share it with my kids so they see that I do actually have joy and appreciate things in life and I’m not always just a tired, stressed out, working mom.  

Here is my list of 100 things that bring me joy (in no particular order except the first, which is the most important to me).  

  1. My family that I was born into, the family I married into and the family that my wife and I created 
  2. Mani-pedis 
  3. Riding on trains
  4. My dog, Oliver, and also remembering my dog, Noe, who is in doggy heaven
  5. Corn on the cob
  6. When cash comes out of the ATM
  7. Blogging
  8. A full tank of gas
  9. A good podcast
  10. Public transportation 
  11. When beds are made
  12. Reading the same book series as my son and discussing each chapter with him 
  13. Portable chairs with shade and cup holders to sit in while watching my kids play sports
  14. Sparkling strawberry lemon Kombucha
  15. Learning new things through my side hustle journey
  16. Out of town visitors 
  17. My dog sitting at my feet when I work from home 
  18. A mug of hot tea at night
  19. Pizza
  20. Going on bike riding adventures with my eight-year-old daughter 
  21. Eating artichokes leaves dipped in butter 
  22. Hot tubs
  23. Thanksgiving with my extended family 
  24. Putting on cozy pajamas
  25. Making a new friend
  26. Traveling around the world 
  27. Umbrellas
  28. A good book (ideally a series)
  29. Sunsets
  30. The amazing rainbow loom creations my ten-year-old daughter makes 
  31. A good Netflix binge
  32. Mountain lakes
  33. Monthly massages 
  34. Watching my eight-year-old daughter discover the love of cooking 
  35. Listening to NPR when I’m alone in the car
  36. Watching my kids learn new things 
  37. When my mom says, “Keep on keeping on”
  38. The adventure of writing and publishing my first ebook
  39. A good salad and ice tea for lunch
  40. Taking hot baths (ideally, daily)
  41. Public libraries
  42. When a work colleague becomes a friend
  43. Watching my kids act in plays and/or do musical theater
  44. That my parents still have the same house and home phone number they have had for ~50 years
  45. The smell of fresh-cut grass
  46. Getting on the floor and giving my dog his morning scratches
  47. Having coffee or lunch with a friend on a workday
  48. Lobster anything 
  49. Hugs from my kids
  50. The Ordinary Parent Facebook group 
  51. Weekends that aren’t packed 
  52. When one of my kids crawls into bed with me
  53. Having a clean house (although not the cleaning of it)
  54. Changing out of work clothes into something more comfortable at the end of the day
  55. Watching my kids compete in American Ninja Warrior competitions
  56. Having Siri obey my every command 
  57. Skiing with my family
  58. When my dad tells a story that I’ve heard 100 times before and starts with “did you know…” or “have I ever told you…”
  59. Having a special TV show to watch with each of my kids
  60. Brussels sprouts with pancetta 
  61. Seeing my childhood friends and realizing we haven’t really changed since we were in elementary school
  62. Finding money that I had stashed in my car, a pair of pants or in a bag
  63. Going to the movies and eating popcorn with lots of butter
  64. Ending a busy workday or week and feeling like I’ve worked hard and made a difference 
  65. Weekly babysitters and date nights with my wife through thick and thin
  66. Ice cream
  67. My polka dot rain boots 
  68. When I tell my kids I love them and they tell me it back
  69. My cruiser bike with lots of baskets to carry things 
  70. Having tons of cousins of all different ages and personalities 
  71. A good ol’ Facebook stalking of a new friend (or an old friend I just reconnected with)
  72. Reading the fortunes from fortune cookies and then giving the cookies to my kids to eat 
  73. That my parents still sing the full Happy Birthday song to me every birthday when they call 
  74. Debating the best hamburger places in the US with our kids 
  75. Kind people
  76. Having someone else clean my car
  77. A glass of wine (pinot noir or sauvignon blanc), a beer (IPA or Amber Ale) or a really good mocktail (when I’m temporarily off the sauce)
  78. Our house that I love filled with people, animals and things that I love 
  79. Fruit smoothies (but no bananas!)
  80. Hanging out with my nieces and nephews and watching them grow up
  81. Eating custard at the beach
  82. Surviving 90 minutes of Bikram yoga
  83. Fluffy, cuddly puppies
  84. When my oldest plays video games with his sisters instead of his friends 
  85. Having a job that I enjoy, that pays me fairly and allows me to work with great people
  86. When my eight-year-old daughter brushes her hair
  87. People who follow up after they said they would do or send you something 
  88. Living in a place where kids can bike to school and feel safe
  89. My sisters
  90. That my 7th grader actually likes middle school
  91. Expensing a grande Starbucks latte when going to a work meeting
  92. Staying in bed past 8 am
  93. Watching my ten-year-old daughter be fearless while playing goalie in soccer
  94. Using up gift cards that we have been given
  95. Eating grapefruit with a grapefruit spoon
  96. The dogs and people I see when I take Oliver to the dog park  
  97. Leftover Chinese food 
  98. That my mom sends us an anniversary card every year with a check for a grown-up dinner out 
  99. Double-decker buses 
  100. When I hear the “ching ching” sound on my phone because someone has Venmo’d me money
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