Sophie and I have a bedtime tradition. Every night, after her teeth are brushed, pajamas on and she’s tucked in bed, I ask her the same question I’ve been asking since she was very little.

What’s your favorite thing you did today?

The only “rule” we have when answering the question is you can’t say, “everything.” You have to name at least one specific thing or event that made you happy. Sometimes Sophie tells me it was going to the park after school, or making plans to get frozen yogurt the next day. Or it may have been going to school seeing her friends.

And then I answer the same question.

My favorite thing isn’t always related to Sophie. It could be a writing win, or making a tasty dinner. Sometimes my favorite thing is watching Sophie quietly read a book on her own. Even on the days where I feel the worst, sometimes the only thing I can think of is picking Sophie up from school and seeing her smiling face when she sees me. Even if the rest of the afternoon goes to hell, it’s that moment I remember at the end of the day when we recite “favorite things.”

Sophie depends on our little tradition as part of her nightly routine. She always says, “We need to do favorite things!” I love it because  it reminds us both that even on the worst of days, we can always find at least one thing that brought us joy.

I recently came across this blog post, in which the writer talks about what happiness means to her. Abby, the author of said post, writes:

Happiness is one of those concepts that can easily become vague and elusive. Ask anyone what they want out of life, what they want for themselves and their kids, and more often than not, you’ll hear, “I just want to be happy” or “I just want them to be happy.” But what does that actually MEAN? And how do you actually DO it?

Abby’s words – coupled with hearing Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Don’t Need Much to Be Happy – got me thinking about the things in life that bring me joy. I started keeping a list of those things, and I began to notice that when I wrote down the items or read the list, I felt calmer; happier.

I also realized that, with the exception of a few, the items I wrote down were not things in the sense that I spend money to acquire them. They are simple acts and experiences. This is so important to remember because as we all strive to feel happy, making an effort to consciously focus on the simple things that we control can change our mindset.

Here are a few things that make me happy:

I could go on … and in fact, I plan to continue my happiness list because I hope, as I get older, it will only continue to grow.

Have you ever written down the things that bring you joy? I would love to know what’s on your list! Share a few items with me!

Other Posts You May Like:

6 Responses

  1. What a lovely tradition! Some of the best times with the kids are when they’re a captive audience– without other distractions. My kids used to tell me the most on the drives to doctor’s appointments and other after school events. Enjoy these special moments.

    1. Thanks, Lisa! It’s so true about the car rides and such. That’s why I love the quality time and little things too. Thanks for commenting!

  2. What a great list! I agree with so many of the things you wrote down. And I have also found that my happy list is more often experiences than things. I love your ritual with your daughter. Haven’t you found that kids just love family routines? For mine it’s “quiz night.” During Sunday dinner, we will ask each other trivia questions. It’s the little things, right? 🙂

    1. Oh I love that “quiz night” idea! Will need to try that one out too. Thanks for reading and providing such great inspiration!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *