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Joy should be shared out loud.
Recently, author and activist Rachel Elizabeth Cargle posted a personal observation about herself on Instagram, a tendency of saying, “I just had the best ____ of my life.”
She could insert any enjoyable experience into that blank—a glass of orange juice, nap, kiss, yoga class, or hot shower—and when the time came, use it and mean it. As she points out, critics, namely her mother, feel such declarations can’t possibly be sincere, that they’re an over-exaggeration or overindulgence. Eyes roll.
I mean, I get it. If someone walked around saying everything was “the best,” it would be pretty absurd and irritating. But that’s not what she’s suggesting we do.
Instead, she seems to believe that, every once in a while, something she’s done before feels like something she’s never felt before. And that, alone, is cause for celebration and gratitude.
One example is yoga, and personally, I can vouch for that feeling. If you’ve just had the best yoga class of your life, your eyes might be soaked with tears, your body pounding from exhaustion. (In my experience, anyway, that was likely to be the case.)
No one understood. Lots of eyes rolled.
She isn’t remarking on the best vacation, concert, or even massage she’s experienced. Rachel’s sentiment is striking because it claims simple everyday experiences can, in a sense, be life-changing.
For instance, we all take showers with frequency, but every shower is different from the last. This morning, my shower was a serious contender for “the best.” I can list the ways: The temperature outside was warm, so I opened the window through which the breeze blew. The sun beamed so brightly there was no need to turn on a light. And oh, yes, the water was hot.
For those few minutes, my world was perfect. Life = changed.
It is only fair to recognize that everyone experiences these acts differently and, therefore, may feel differently about such experiences. We can’t possibly feel Rachel’s exact joy about a glass of orange juice.
However, those of us who also love orange juice can understand. Furthermore, loving orange juice isn’t a requirement for empathizing with her joy. All that’s needed is an appreciation for the little things—the presence to receive her expression of joy.
While Rachel’s personal observation highlights a place or need to celebrate life’s little things, it also raises awareness of the need to share those experiences that deserve exclamation.
Needless to say, joy should be shared out loud. And I don’t mean on Instagram. It doesn’t have to be the best or most beautiful thing; in fact, there is much to admire and be grateful for in the mundane.
The other day as I walked out of the local market, I exclaimed, “What a beautiful day!” To which an employee responded, “Yes, it is!”
It was quite possibly the most beautiful weather we’ve had all year. (It’s springtime in Virginia; the conditions are all over the place.)
So there, as I walked into the parking lot, we, two strangers, shared a moment of joy—a brief celebration of life.
And then, somehow, the day seemed even brighter.