‘Joy to the World’—We all could use some glee right now!


Even when you’re struggling and sadness grips you, joy is all around if you know where to look. Maybe it’s a first huge snow with branches dripping with white icicles, an upcoming visit and slumber party with your grandchildren, a good job performance review and maybe a raise, the recent remembrance of the joy of lighting the Hanukkah candles or decorating a Christmas tree, something as minor as a compliment from a stranger about a cute hat or purse, or finally getting to see a long-awaited TV show such as The Crown or a movie touted for months like Maestro. Possibilities go on and on.

But we know for sure that right now, all of us could use lots more joy in our lives, and we’re open to all sorts of ideas.

Apparently, the editors of Time magazine agree. Recently, Taylor Swift was chosen Time Magazine “Person of the Year” because, said one of the editors on the Today Show, she spreads joy. And many have been the lucky recipients.

Joy means experiencing pleasure, satisfaction and/or delight. It is not the same as happiness, Happiness is internal and ephemeral; joy is something that happens outside yourself. You worked hard for something and accomplished your goal. That’s joy. It might make you feel happy that you got through it. Joy is also being happy for someone else.

Joy is there for the asking. It can slip in, sit down and join you any time of day. It can be as simple as getting a phone call from a first date asking you for another. Maybe it’s your child calling to let you know they got a promotion. Perhaps you have a pet who greets you at the door and wags its tail. What joy that is!

Joy also comes in sizes—maybe a dollop or heaps of it. It can be something as small as hearing from an editor that you did a really good job on a story or something bigger such as nailing an audition for a Broadway show. This joy will spread and include the joy of learning something new and then passing on that joy to audiences in a lovely cycle of joy.  

In a Town and Country magazine short piece on “How to Locate Joy,” the writer, Stellene Volandes @Hearst.com points out that joy is not elusive. You just have to be willing to meet it, greet it and let it in. Joy for Volandes is to get a good deal on tickets at a Lincoln Center venue or just enjoy the reservoir early morning in Central Park. She even gets joy at work “on the 19th floor of the Hearst Tower.”  

We hope that all our readers will spot and then bask in the joy in their lives. For many it means being with family and friends. In fact, it may be the best antidote to all the hurt and challenges in the world today.

Joy-Meter from us and our readers

Margaret: The epitome of joy for me is gathering my entire extended family  (many live out of town and far from New York City) for a happy occasion such as a holiday or a wedding. She also gets great joy from singing in a choir and learning new melodies and words.

Barbara:  She plans to add joy to her daily life by buying herself a Sonos One as a belated Hanukkah/New Year present. She wants to add music when cooking or tidying up and when she has company over; not so loud to distract but a nice background vibe. Like similar purchases, she does research and asks friends and family, looks online, checks Wirecutter from the New York Times and finally presses “buy.” She also derives great joy in playing Santa to a work colleague and friends’ two children. She says, “They’re growing up, but I think they still believe, sort of or do for my sake.”  

Mimi: When something works out without tons of planning such as the perfect song playing at the perfect time. What is perfect? Perfect, in this case, is in my head. It just works.

Rena: Sometimes, a full moon gives me joy. Looking at a full moon makes me feel included in the vastness of eternity. Its joyful.

Sally: Continuing to make new memories with my family and close friends brings me the most joy.

Andi: Floor time with my 20-month-old grandson. 

Judy: When I see animals being treated well.

Mark: I like to salvage things and if I run across a big bag of Papyrus cards…or something on the street that I can use in making my art—that brings me great joy.

Suzanne: A beautiful sunny spring day walking my dog in Central Park or any day when I can walk the dog in the park.

Yoko: Cats because they’re cuddly and happy to see me when I walk through the door. As an artist, I love lots of brilliant colors whether papers to make origami or the many hues of colored yarn that I can spin into any number of items.

Teddy: Black coffee.

Susie: I joined a book club at my temple, and we read only banned books. One of the books was Toni Morrison’s book, The Bluest Eye. Frankly, I found the book to be disturbing. One of the comments about the book was from a middle school teacher who expressed that there is no joy in the book. I found myself thinking, I forgot about the word joy and seldom use joy in a conversation. To me, joy is peace.

Robert: I feel joy for an underdog. Perhaps it’s a child with issues in school and through support he overcomes it, gets good grades, excels and feels he has a purpose. That brings me joy.

Sydney: Spending time with my immediate and extended family. 

Faye: I feel great joy being able to do crafting and painting now. For six years I was ill and couldn’t do it.

Helen: Singing in my church choir.

Kiki: Having my girls all together at home. Happens only once or twice a year.

Stephanie: Being with my family and friends. Just being there in their presence, meals, holidays, exploring, parties, just being connected.

Feel free to post your joyous ideas below in the Comments Section. 


  • Gilda Brancato

    Really enJOYed your column on joy, and of joy, especially the interesting and thoughtful varied perceptions of joy! ❤️🎉🙏

  • Jennifer Ames

    Reading your blog brings me joy!

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