New Year, New Resolution: Find Joy in the Ordinary

Ana Campos, Principal Librarian, Central Library Services,
cheerful young woman with hands raised
“Joy comes to us in moments-ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.”—Brené Brown

Traditionally the top resolutions at the beginning of a new year for people in the US are about losing weight, improving their finances, and eating healthier. But after the challenging, trying, and unforgettable year that we had in 2020, I think that we can all benefit from making a different New Year resolution. The resolution for 2021 should be to find joy in the ordinary. Find joy in the fact that you can enjoy a cup of coffee with a cookie, that you are now an expert in zoom meetings, or anything else. Simply take the time to see around you and be grateful for what you have. As researcher and professor Brené Brown says, “Joy comes to us in moments-ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.”

We are constantly chasing what we think will bring us joy, the extraordinary, yet it seems that it is an unattainable goal. Yes, we should go for those high achievement goals, but we need to remember that those goals are not what will bring us joy. Joy is often found in the ordinary. Sometimes fictional movies are a great reminder of this concept. You can see an example of this in the recently released animated film Soul. The main character, Joe Gardner realizes at the end of the movie that joy was around him and that there was joy in just living and enjoying those moments. For real-life examples, you can read the popular non-fiction books The Last Lecture and When Breath Becomes Air. In both of these books, the authors bring to readers’ attention the awareness of what truly matters in life.

Challenge yourself and make 2021 a year to find joy in the ordinary. If you have a difficult time with that resolution, find some motivation in the book list below that will help you put things back in perspective. May 2021 bring you joy in the ordinary!

Recommended Reading

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Manson, Mark

You Are a Badass
Sincero, Jen

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
Brown, Brené

When Breath Becomes Air
Kalanithi, Paul

The Last Lecture
Pausch, Randy

Man's Search for Meaning
Frankl, Viktor E,