A cocktail on the roof.
Pinky-orange mountains at sunset.
Waking from a nap to find a cat curled up beside me.
There is still joy.
My family—we’re the lucky ones. Everything still sucks, but it sucks less for us. I acknowledge that. We have a house and an income. No one we know well is sick. We live far from family and friends, but physical distance is the norm rather than the exception now, so, somehow, that makes it easier. We don’t have to leave the house. Even if we’d really like to leave (and we would), we can afford to wait. We can afford grocery delivery and takeout. We are not the ones stocking shelves or delivering food.
Our current problems are not unique, and gratitude is easy to come by when everyone in the world is in the same mess. Gratitude is important, but gratitude wasn’t what I wanted most this year. I wanted joy. Joy isn’t so easy. It’s fleeting. It comes in moments.
Bare legs in the sunshine.
The first sip of morning coffee.
A hummingbird on the balcony.
We’re learning new routines. Ordering groceries a week before we actually need them. Wiping down doorknobs. Disinfecting light switches. We make it a point to look at the sky each day. Some days, that’s actually a struggle.
I have a list on my phone. “The Joy List.” I went three weeks without looking at it. The last thing I wrote before the pandemic was “walking down Main Street, Disneyland.” Not every day is Disneyland. Now, no days are Disneyland.
There is still joy.
The scent as I run my fingers through the mint plant.
A package with my name on it.
One fluffy, white cloud.
“Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.”—Virginia Woolf
Here’s the thing. I saw that cloud because I remembered to look up. I planted the mint. I ordered the package. I filled the hummingbird feeder. I poured the coffee. I stretched out in the sun. I allowed myself the nap. I took the time to watch the sunset. I mixed the cocktail. Okay, I didn’t mix the cocktail, but I married the guy who did.
Joy comes in moments, but we create the moments and, more importantly, we notice them. Joy isn’t some elusive butterfly that only reveals itself to the worthy. We can craft joy. We can cultivate it. We can sprinkle breadcrumbs all over the damn forest to lure it in. We just have to make sure we’re paying attention when it arrives.
Yes, yes. yes. There’s still joy.