It was meant to be. As I was settling down to write this letter focusing on this month’s cover story about the importance of simple joys, one of my own simple joys climbed onto my chest, curled up and fell asleep in my arms. I call this little joy “Monkey,” and, no, that’s not a coy pseudonym for my “darling daughter” – it’s the name of my cat. And snuggle time with this little 10-pound beast is tough for me to pass up no matter what I was about to do or how insurmountable my things-to-do list seems in that moment. The hum of his purr coupled with the warmth of that soft furry little body just makes time slow and all the tedium and troubles in my life fade away. All I feel is the beauty in that moment. And that is a gift – one we often don’t recognize – or embrace – enough.
In this month’s cover story, we encourage you to do just that. Identify and embrace the simple joys – and actively pursue doing them more often. For me, it’s cat cuddles, baking cinnamon rolls or sea-salt chocolate cookies, snuggling up in my favorite blanket watching The Americans or some other show I love on TV, listening to a song I’m obsessed with over and over and over again and taking a long, hot shower. There are more, but you get the gist. We all have these simple joys. They are the sort of things that don’t cost a lot (or anything at all) and don’t take some major planning or setup. Sure, that new big screen TV can give you joy and so can that awesome Disney cruise, but if we only get joy from those bigger ticket items and events, then our doses of joy will be pretty infrequent. And, truthfully, it’s the little things that have the deepest impacts, that burrow into our mind and soul and leave us feeling renewed, more at peace and, dare I say it, happier.
That’s why it’s a good idea to cultivate your own list of simple joys and help your kids do the same. Maybe it’s jumping in puddles like our CoverKid Franny. Or perhaps it’s snuggling up in bed for story time. Maybe it’s sitting in your backyard watching the kids run with the dog. Whatever it is, do more of it – and recognize the power of it – for you and your children. It just might be the closest we ever come to passing on those coveted keys to happiness.