For many of us, the last year was as clarifying as it was challenging, with isolation and grief sharpening our focus on what truly matters. The things we thought made up a life were forcibly supplanted by the things that actually do: it became, quite suddenly, deathly important to find joy anywhere—in blossoms that appeared on the trees even as ambulances wailed by, in the banana bread loaves we baked over and over, in phone calls from family members sharing the kind of mundane life news that used to go straight to voicemail. We’ve never worked so hard to identify and appreciate pockets of bliss as we have this past year, when our worlds became suddenly tiny. That’s something we hope to keep after all this, when our worlds grow vast again: the delight in small things.
Now, as we barrel towards summer, it’s not so much happiness we feel as the anticipation of happiness—a spark of hopefulness that, for the first time in a while, we’re willing to stoke. With the vaccine rollout picking up steam and what feels like a lifetime’s worth of celebration pent up and ready to burst forth, it’s time we turn our attention to all of the things, big and small, that make us feel joy. We’ve earned it.