Life & Culture

Open Thread Update: What Made You Happy Today?

The good news amid all the turmoil in public life is how well we are doing in our private lives.

Our readers shared the good things that bring them joy and it’s been wonderful to learn about them. Here’s a few examples of the simple, everyday joys that made some of us happy today.

Like simply starting the day…

Waking up to a bright new day alive and being able to take a nice deep breath and give thanks for the gift of life.


…or enjoying a special moment at home with cherished pets.

My quiet, sunny house and my mother and daughter white cats sitting in separate sunny spots.


It’s so uplifting to read about all the ways people stay positive and find joy.  Sometimes it’s by reaching out and making a meaningful connection.

I telephoned two old friends from the book club we share.


Sometimes it’s by getting some exercise and enjoying the beauties of nature.

I walked in shade, and in sunshine, at local University Arboretum, enjoyed our fall tree leaf colors.


Other readers mentioned tackling a long-delayed chore, or working on a craft project.

These are just a few of the examples – take a moment to read the rest in the comments…and feel free to add your own!

Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send your suggestions for Open Threads to her at


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Photo by Denise Jones on Unsplash



29 responses to “Open Thread Update: What Made You Happy Today?

  1. Oh the unexpected pleasures that this pandemic has taught me to enjoy
    I’m not killing myself with work anymore
    I work four days a week but I’m off Friday Saturday and Sunday
    I get time to relax
    Sit a bit by myself with just my thoughts
    read a good book
    take a walk in the pleasant sunshine
    I live in the south so it’s still pretty balmy
    get to talk to my grandkids
    When I feel like it
    do zoom occasionally
    got to do a lot of the things I could not do when I was so busy working
    I still enjoy my work
    still enjoy my interaction at work
    the pandemic has been upsetting but I think it opened my eyes to a lot of wonderful other things that I would Have otherwise missed
    and Friday is special because I get to attend some of the zoom meetings with you guys and learn a bunch of good stuff
    I meet a bunch of good people
    And some great and patient instructors
    At least for a while I can forget about the pandemic and politics
    thank you oats
    keep the light burning in the window

  2. I look for one moment of beauty each day. What a Pollyanna, you say, but it’s worked for me over the years. The universe sends us many moments of beauty but as Cas, the Morning Stretch teacher says, we are more often “not home” in our brains but are instead in the past reliving some gloom or pleasure or the future which is yet to happen. Be here right now. Home.

  3. My Gurlie cat, now 12 years, the older we get, the sweeter more affectionate she gets.
    I Iike that I’ m still confident I can bake frozen turkey thighs, sweets, broc, canned cranberry
    sauce for solitary Thanksgiving dinner myself.
    But my senior center plans a Zoom Thanksgiving meal of whatever people have. We shall
    laugh, talk, I shall wear an unused Halloween hat to be silly.

    1. Everything that pretains to nature, the surprise of a beautiful sunrise, the sun this time of November shining in my window.
      The birds that I watch feed on sunflower seeds provided for them, many and varied.
      Picking pecans to eat later as I harbor in and prepare for winter.
      An authentic encounters with another human who has taken off their masks, life in general as I look at where the Lord has placed me at this time in my life, as I exhale the past and inhale the future the little things are beautiful.

  4. I am happy now because I am sitting in the Mount Airy MD library and using their computers, as opposed to trying to figure out how to navigate my crazy Chromebook. I have been online trying to decipher all the computer requirements needed to purchase a real computer, but it is overwhelming to me. Then when I figure out, here it is, it states “out of stock.”

  5. Walking through the wooded area of our Cherry Creek State Park with my wife. We enjoyed the sound of the leaves falling, and the sound of the wind through the trees. We are grateful
    for everything we have and can share with one another!

  6. Because i’m not yet doing public transportation, i did finally make a few trips to Central Park (frm York Ave in nyc) to be in true Fall, but have been able to enjoy CP online w/virtual walks/tours on Wed @ 12:30 (fyi;) Cleaner air i think someone mentioned, how about that, in these COVID days… To the man who lost his wife, keeping busy, going through the motions, as your wife would want you too, helps and sorry for your monumental loss.
    Reading comic crime by Westlake has been helpful 2.

  7. Waking up to a bright new day alive and being able to take a nice deep breath and give thanks for the gift of life. After a weekend of rain from the tropical storm ETA I went on my early morning walk yesterday and today and enjoyed the cool morning breeze, watched the squirrels hopping around and caught up with some of the regular walkers. Walking keeps me happy. Today was special. I had a beautiful conversation with a friend where we learned more about each other which has made our connection stronger. This brings me more happiness

  8. Today is a new day. But yesterday, two things clearly stand out in my mind for the happiness they brought me. I telephoned two old friends from the book club we share. When I say “old”, I mean that in two ways. Each has a few years on me (one significantly more) and that’s great because we often bring two different perspectives to the table. At any rate, it had been some time since we’d chatted, and it was great to get caught up. Put a smile on all our faces, me thinks.

  9. I started messaging my Good Morning greetings to all the people I am grateful for, for helping me be a better, happier, more positive person. I type up the “Good Morning” message, then think of all the things I am grateful to that person for, and then click ‘send‘ ! I do this every morning and it gives me joy!

  10. I have taken up trail hiking. In this I have found peace just being out in nature. I am doing more around the house since there is more time, doing chores like cleaning out closets.
    Also, since my wife’s passing on 11/6/20, I definitely have more time, since she had Stage 4 Alzheimer’s dementia and I was her primary caregiver. I miss her terribly, so piddling around the house helps with the lonleness.

    1. Dear Mr. Hoffler,
      I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s a difficult thing to deal with. Keeping busy is definitely the way to go. And being in the outdoors close to nature is calming and restorative which is why I must have plants around me all the time. Perhaps something to think about, when the time is right, is to join some kind of group, hiking or otherwise to develop new friendships. Wish you lots of luck in your new life. Try to stay positive if you can…..the hardest thing to do sometimes….but it will make a difference

  11. I am happy today because I woke up to a day with beautiful weather and in good health. I took a walk with my neighbor and we were chatting so much, I did not realize how far we walked (4 miles). I took in the beauty of the colors of the leaves and the smell of the wet leaves under my feet. It was relaxing and I am so grateful for life.

  12. I walked in shade, and in sunshine, at local University Arboretum, enjoyed our fall tree leaf colors. Temperature was 71/ 75 degrees, and I took one break, on a bence, enjoyed colored dogwood trees. I took pictures with phone camers, and part of the time, listened to music as I walked. My views here are wonderful, and I have a similar view from home sunroom. It was a good time, with a natural beauty that will soon pass in this season, watching for a change to arrive.

  13. I had my last eye doctor follow up visit after cataract surgery. My eye is great! Prior to the surgery my vision was 20/400 and getting worse. I was struggling to work and navigate. I was fearful because I only had vision in one eye. Now my vision is 20/30 and I am walking in my neighborhood without glasses! I am marveling at the beauty of the leaves turning, the sunlight, not being blinded by light. It was a wonderful day!

  14. First of all Eta seems to be the last hurricane of 2020 season and all we experienced was some rain. Secondly, Bella, the introverted elderly rescue cat is finally coming out of her shell and greeting me. LIG

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