The Frisson of Joy

We all strive for the big happinesses in life—winning awards, achieving financial success, finding mutual lust—but the little ones are no less sweet, though they are much easier to come by. There are a lot of little things which bring me joy that I rarely think about when I’m not actually experiencing them in the moment:

Going back to bed for another hour.

Using my back scratcher to get just the right spot.

That moment when I’m mixing the dough, and it suddenly turns from a variegated pile of ingredients—a lump of this, a splash of that—into a smooth, homogenous mixture that’s all the same color and texture, just like I need it to be.

When the swimming pool is precisely the right temperature.

Taking an extra little slice of pie, an extra cookie, or a just little bit more dessert.

Lying down in bed, and pulling the top sheet over me, and it billows and slowly settles onto me, lightly touching me here and then there…


The last hiccup (if only I knew it was going to be the last).

When I go outside in the morning, and I look down the sidewalk, and my vision (even though I wear glasses) is absolutely, totally sharp and clear. I feel like I can see forever: every individual leaf on each tree, separate blades of grass, all the way down past the intersection, and past the next intersection… the most perfect vision possible, it almost feels hyper-real, and I don’t want to blink because then my vision will go back to normal.

A nice, cleansing rain, and the smell of petrichor.

Learning a nifty new word, like petrichor.

When I wear shorts and no shoes, it’s normal. When I wear pants and socks and shoes, that, too, is an unremarkable feeling. But there’s an uncommon feeling of comfort, of being at home and relaxed, when I wear long pants and no socks or shoes, like if my socks got wet, so I took them off.

Wearing that super comfortable sweater or sweatshirt the first day it really feels like autumn.

Arriving precisely on time without really trying.

Seeing a few dollars in the tip jar at the end of the day.

So, what surprising little things bring you that frisson of joy?

Tip Jar

If you found this article interesting, gratuities are very much appreciated.


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