This week, apropos of nothing, I started to make a list on Twitter of things that, in my opinion, make life worth living. The list ranged from ducklings to lipstick to that moment when someone unexpectedly understands a really obscure reference you’ve just made. People started to join in and before long, my notifications were filling up with tiny little pleasures and moments of everyday gratitude.
Things are so difficult for so many people right now and I have very little time for those who insist that we should all just be a bit more positive. Positivity doesn’t help the women who can’t access domestic violence refuges or our Muslim friends who are being harassed and intimidated or the people who are denied the healthcare they need. When “being positive” means refusing to acknowledge that things are hard, it stops being helpful and actually becomes oppressive and harmful.
But. The flipside of this is also true. Just because things are difficult and the world seems to be falling apart, you don’t have to stop enjoying things. In fact, I think that when the world is collectively struggling, it’s more important than ever to take as much joy as you can wherever you can find it. We will all be fighting the good fight for a long time and honestly, it seems likely that things are going to get worse before they get better. Which means we need to keep ourselves strong. We need to remember to feed our souls as well as our rage, to keep our warmth as well stoked as our heat. So without further ado and with no more half baked philosophising, here are some little joys that you (yes, you, reading this right now) deserve to have in your life.
- You deserve to put your pyjamas on the radiator in the evening so that they’re all toasty and lovely when you put them on. There is no reason in the world for you not to do this every single night.
- You deserve to wash out old jars and fill them with tealights. You are a magical princess (this is very not dependent on your gender, people of all genders are magical princesses) and deserve a grotto of beautiful light to live in.
- You deserve to own a really sharp can opener and a really sharp vegetable peeler. This is a very boring thing that will improve your life immeasurably.
- When you get into bed, you deserve to take hold of your duvet by the corners and whip it upwards, letting it slowly settle back down onto your body. This is the best feeling in the whole world. Double points if you can get someone else to do it for you.
- You deserve to cook yourself really brilliant food. I am the queen of eating cereal for dinner when the boy is away because it seems silly and frivolous to cook a proper meal just for me. It is, in fact, neither silly nor frivolous. You deserve to eat food that makes you feel brilliant. Whenever you can, invest that time in yourself and cook yourself up something amazing.
- You deserve the biggest, softest towels you can get your hands on. You should probably also put these on the radiator when you get in the shower for the toastiness reasons outlined in point 1.
- You deserve to sit in front of a crackling real fire at every available opportunity.
- You deserve a few quiet moments every day to have a cup of tea (or whatever you fancy) and just breathe.
- In addition, you deserve to drink from a beautiful china teacup, or a gaudy patterned teapot, or an enormous tankard, or a champagne flute, or anything else that brings you joy.
- You deserve cream on your hot chocolate.
- You deserve to stomp on really crunchy leaves.
- You deserve to pet that dog over there.
- You deserve to laugh, to proper belly laugh until your sides hurt and tears are streaming down your face, regardless of whether or not anyone else found the thing funny.
- You deserve to light a beautiful candle by your bedside and read until you fall asleep.
- You deserve to stand outside on bitter cold nights and look up at the stars.
- You deserve fresh flowers.
- You deserve to stand still and watch the sunset, from the moment the sky starts to turn pink until the very last embers of light dip beneath the horizon and know that no matter who you are, how successful you are, how much money you have, it will always be this beautiful.
- You deserve cheese and onion crisps in your sandwich.
- You deserve sandwiches cut into triangles.
- You deserve a hot water bottle under your feet.
- You deserve a really good stretch in the morning. I’m not suggesting you get up and do sunrise yoga every morning because, seriously, not for everyone. And by everyone, I mean me. But you deserve a proper, joyous stretch from your toes all the way to the ends of your fingertips.
- You deserve to eat really delicious cake with a fork and pretend that you’re fancy.
- You deserve scalding hot showers with incredible smelling soap.
- You deserve soft, clean socks.
- You deserve joy.