I’ve talked before about the difference between pleasure and joy, but I find that it’s all the more important around the holidays to be reminded of the gap.
NYC brings me joy. Mostly in the winter, for sure, and especially Manhattan because it’s where I’ve spent the most time. Today I’m taking the day to explore it, not as a tourist—only because I haven’t allowed enough time—but as a woman who’s meeting up with a former lover. We step into stride as if time hasn’t passed. Storefronts have been updated, wireless access expanded, but the story of us is the same.
I visited one of my favorite restaurants, Balthazar, where if I’d stopped to eat, I might’ve ordered the goat cheese onion tart. And across the street, I popped into the MoMa Design Store, creative stocking stuffers abound. Among the decorative pasta measuring sculptures and paper watches was a journal titled, 99 Things That Bring Me Joy. It’s a guided journal, filled with questions designed to have you focus on what exactly joy looks like to you. It’s brilliant if you want to focus on lifting yourself up after the inevitable post-holiday depression.
A lot of the book is asking you to curate a list of favorites. Favorite movies you never tire of watching, favorite childhood toys, favorite places to which you’ve traveled, favorite songs, people you admire. Notice how your mood lifts simply by THINKING about what you’d write? That’s the joy in it, the ACT or practice of thinking about what brings you joy, actually brings it. But more than the *favorites prompts,* I love the thought work. List 3 of the thoughts you have most often. Then, list what you wish these thoughts were. That’s powerful.
Today as I walk the city I love, I’ll make lists in my head as I continue to find new ways to breathe joy into my life.