Finding Delight Is Harder Than I Thought

May 31, 2024

Gelato is delightful

Looking for delight is harder than you might think.

For one thing, I had to decide what a delight actually was. The dictionary defines it as an extreme pleasure or satisfaction, a joy. In my mind, it’s different from a simple pleasure—it has to cause a certain type of feeling, a sudden lifting of my spirits. Honestly, this doesn’t happen every day. Even though I tried to look for delights every day, I didn’t actually succeed in finding them as often as I’d hoped or expected to.

There are likely several reasons for this. Awareness is one of them—in the bustling round of daily life, far too often I operate on auto-pilot, not noticing all the delights around me, just trying to get through the day’s to-do list. I also think that the dumpster fire of the past few years has had a numbing effect on my ability to notice joyful things. I’ve developed a shield to protect my emotions from being triggered. While that’s helped me cope through stress and sadness, it’s also numbed my ability to feel delight.

I chose to take pictures of my daily delights, and that added another level of difficulty. A couple of times, I wasn’t able to snap a photo of things that delighted me (a tiny green frog in our mailbox, a cardinal taking a bath in the birdbath).

What I did find and post about (full posts on Instagram and Facebook):

  • The sweet ritual I have with my dog when I come home
  • The growth of a pineapple on our lanai
  • Choosing a new novel to read
  • Watching Tank run around like a youngster after his bath
  • Rewatching a favorite TV show (Brooklyn 99)
  • Our gardenia bush blooming
  • Picking up library holds
  • Eating at a fancy steakhouse, using a gift card from our son
  • A backyard full of butterflies
  • Beating the squirrels to ripe tomatoes
  • Eating dessert first
  • The gift of a framed cross stitch project

I’m going to continue to look for delight. Ross Gay, the inspiration for the Daily Delight Project, wrote mini essays about his delights, so I think I might try that instead. Hopefully, as I keep practicing, finding delight will become easier and more frequent. Practice makes perfect!

What delight have you discovered lately?

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  1. Kathy I think my favorite one you shared is your ritual with your dog when you come home. Pets certainly have a way of bringing us delight. One of mine this week was seeing a male rose breasted grosbeak in my pussy willow bush (they are rare to our part of Ohio). Have only seen them here three times. Well take care and am looking forward to your essays. As always have a lovely weekend and p.s. enjoy that fresh pineapple. Wish I could grow them here! Hugs

    1. Debbie--I find that pets bring me many delights! How exciting to see a rare bird. The natural world is such a source of delight.
      We're still waiting for that pineapple to ripen...

  2. I know what you mean about putting up the emotional guard to be able to function through grief and how it seems to dull the ability to find joy as well. Strange how that works.

    1. Yes, it is. I guess there are times when we have to give up a little happiness in order not to be swamped by grief.

  3. I'm experiencing the same: it is harder than I thought. But the delights are there, if I look closely. Today my delight is a big one: seeing my nine month old granddaughter!

    1. That's a special delight! I'm going to continue to look for delights. Maybe I'll get better at it :)