What Sparks Joy – Then vs Now

April 11, 2019
What sparks joy - now vs then

What sparks joy - now vs then

I thought it would be interesting to compare what ‘sparks joy’ [using the popular KonMari {Marie Kondo} term] for me now in my 50’s as compared to what sparked joy for me back in my late teens.  I would have compared my 50’s to my 20’s except that I got married at the age of 20.5 years and I think a comparison to my single days would be more interesting.  So, let’s see what a difference 30+ years can make.

What does ‘Sparks Joy’ mean, and what is joy?

To be clear, here’s a definition of what the term ‘Sparks Joy’ means:

When something sparks joy, you should feel a little thrill.” A literal tokimeki (ときめき), in Japanese. The thrill, though, can come from many things. It can come from the fact that you really love and enjoy an object, like a favorite sweater.

And here’s a definition of what ‘joy’ means:

A feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

Why am I talking about Joy?  Well aside from the fact that joy feels good, it IS good for us too and I’m all about anything that is good for us!

The benefits of feeling more joy

  • Promotes a healthier lifestyle
  • Boosts immune system
  • Best antidote to stress, anxiety and pain
  • Improves physical health and supports longevity
  • Boosts productivity

Ok – let’s start the comparison!

Happy teenage girl

Photo 74602232 © Syda Productions – Dreamstime.com

What Sparked Joy Then (in my late teens)

  • New clothes
  • New shoes
  • New anything
  • A night out with friends
  • Parties
  • Music
  • Singing
  • Fun times with friends
  • Going to the beach and getting a tan
  • Nightclubs and dancing
  • New love interest/infatuation
  • Holidays
Lady enjoying the sunshine

ID 65808028 © Studio Grand Web | Dreamstime.com

What Sparks Joy Now (in my 50’s)

  • When my kids are happy
  • The first cup of coffee of the day
  • A cool breeze on a hot day
  • Warm sunshine on a cold day
  • Beautiful nature in its various forms
  • The sound of the birds morning songs
  • Sunrises and sunsets
  • Early morning and late afternoon beach walks
  • Singing 
  • Travel, holidays and exploring new places
  • Photography – especially when I get a ‘perfect’ shot
  • Cuddles with my dog ‘Ava’
  • Dinner or lunch out with a nice glass of wine
  • Watching musicals
  • A browse at the markets and all the better if there is some live music
  • Walking – along my local waterfront or in a rainforest – paying attention to what I see, hear, and feel
  • Pilates – closing my eyes and feeling my body getting stronger and more flexible, along with a sense of gratitude for a functioning body
  • Spending time with family
  • Time with good, genuine friends
  • Beautiful gardens
  • A new outfit that makes me feel good
  • How my skin feels after using my beautiful natural plant oils skincare products on it
  • Getting into bed on fresh sheets day 
  • Bed under the doona on a cold night
  • Being cosy indoors on a cold and rainy day/night
  • A clean and tidy house
  • Reading a good book
  • Floating in the pool on a hot day
  • Being creative and productive
  • Being helpful to others
  • I could go on, and on … but I’ve gotta stop somewhere!

What’s still the same or similar?

I still enjoy music and singing

I still love the beach but no longer for getting a tan.

I like it best early morning and late afternoon when the harshness of the sun is gone and we have that beautiful golden light that follows and precedes sunrise and sunset.  I love the feeling of walking with bare feet on the water’s edge. I love the sounds made when you walk through soft sand.  I love to plonk down in the sand and feel the breeze on my face and wriggle my toes in the sand.  I love watching the seagulls and looking for pretty shells.  I notice everything where once I noticed not much at all.

I’ve always loved swimming pools in summer!

I’ve always been an animal lover

I’ve always enjoyed reading

I’ve always enjoyed fun times with friends (just that what I perceive as fun times has changed)

What girl (of any age) doesn’t get joy from new clothes that make her feel great?! 

I will always love a holiday!

What are the main differences?

The first thing you’ll notice is that what sparks joy for me has expanded from then to now.

The second thing you notice is that what sparks joy for me now are much simpler things than then

I think we become more ‘grateful’ and ‘mindful’ (without even realising it sometimes) as we get older.  Once we become aware of it, many of us try to hone this ability to maximise its benefits (more joy!).

This increased ‘gratitude’ and ‘mindfulness’ may come to be because the older version of ourselves realises that we have fewer years of life left on this earth than the younger version of ourselves did.  I believe that gratitude and mindfulness actually starts to come more naturally to us, as a way of soaking up this beautiful life that we have and savouring it, because we don’t want to miss anything, especially the good bits!  We want our remaining years to be good, joyful years.  I actually think that Mindfulness and Gratitude could be very important aspects to healthy and positive aging.  

Here’s a  few favourite ‘joy’ quotes, because we all know I love a good quote:

The essence of life is not in the great victories or grand failures, but in the simple joys. ~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie


Find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy is to miss all. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson


The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our life and everything to do with the focus of our lives. ~ Russel M. Nelson


I hope you’re finding some joy in each of your days. What would be on your list for what sparks joy for you ‘now’?


Ciao for now,

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  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl April 11, 2019 at 6:39 am

    What a joyful, relfective post, Min! I can so relate to your comparison of what gave you joy then versus now.

    SSG xxx

    • Reply Min April 11, 2019 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks so much SSG – glad you can relate! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond April 11, 2019 at 7:41 am

    Hi Min, I have this topic on my schedule as I watched the program with Marie Kondo. We all need to reflect on on what sparks joy in our lives. I loved how you wrote the Then, Now and Still. That is a great exercise and one I’m going to try. We can all find some joy in our lives, can’t we? Have a great day! #lovinlifelinky

    • Reply Min April 11, 2019 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks Sue – I’m glad you enjoyed it! I look forward to reading what you write on the topic. Even through the toughest of times there is joy to be found – maybe not huge joy but snippets – in the simplest of things! xo

  • Reply Joanne Tracey April 11, 2019 at 7:46 am

    Absolutely! Whilst I don’t watch Marie Kondo (I got halfway through the first show & wanted to either throw up, throw something at the woman whose house they were doing or throw something at Marie who annoyed in more ways than I can say & for no good reason) I agree – my list of joy is simpler, less focused on stuff or excess & much wider in breadth.

    • Reply Min April 11, 2019 at 1:23 pm

      I watched all the Marie Kondo series, out of curiousity, but I have to say that after the first two I’d had enough. I can’t see how a series like that can be sustained. It’s just more of the same! Good to hear your list of joy is simpler & wider too! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit April 11, 2019 at 7:56 am

    I actually have the THRILL of seeing my dog post beating the Head Coach post on Instagram in my own little competition with Head Coach. You’ll have to read my blog to understand what I’m talking about. The thrill is based more on my laughter and the fact that I’m taking the P*** out of him. He’s laughing too by the way …. perhaps it’s just that sense of laughter, Definitely sparking my joy right now!

    • Reply Min April 11, 2019 at 1:26 pm

      Good move on the Insta dog post! I’ve read your post now so know what you’re talkin ’bout! Keep finding sparks of Joy! xo

  • Reply Natalie April 11, 2019 at 9:35 am

    Hi Min – I can relate to your comparison Then and Now. More meaningful experiences vs. things. I may be the only person who hasn’t watched Marie Kondo 🙂 #LovinLifeLinky

    • Reply Min April 11, 2019 at 1:27 pm

      Hi Natalie – so glad you can relate! You’re not missing much by not watching Marie Kondo. If curiosity gets you, you really only need to watch one episode … the rest are just more of the same just different couples/families! 🙂

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 11, 2019 at 11:19 am

    I find that simple things spark joy for me too Min. I’m also trying to disassociate my own joy from dependence on others and on my situation. I think both of those can enhance my joy, but ultimately I need to take responsibility for choosing to be joyful, choosing to not let stuff get me down, choosing to see the silver lining – man I need to stop because this is becoming a blog post! But I’m sure you get what I’m saying – lovely post x PS: I find Marie Kondo annoying – maybe because I’m already neat and minimalistic?

    • Reply Min April 11, 2019 at 1:29 pm

      Of course I get what you’re saying Leanne – more than you might know! I’m so glad you that simple things spark joy for you too! I can understand how people could find Marie Kondo annoying. She’s cute but yes, could be annoying! LOL xo

  • Reply Denyse Whelan April 11, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    What a “joy” filled post Min! A great comparison and I like the outcomes…yes, we all like simpler more as we age. I did the clothes drawer tidying part of KonMari and I have kept it going. It really helps me understand and see what I actually have! I watched her Netflix doco after dismissing the ideas from the book without reading it and I saw that her ideas were borne of a simple premise.

    Thanks so much for sharing.



    • Reply Min April 11, 2019 at 4:02 pm

      Thank you Denyse – so glad you enjoyed the post and agree that we get joy from more simple things are we grow older. I’ve watched the Marie Kondo series but haven’t done her style of tidying/folding etc but I do love a declutter! Cluttered house/cluttered mind are my thoughts! xo

  • Reply Debbie April 12, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    I will admit I haven’t watched any of the Marie Kondo series and probably won’t! I enjoyed your post though Min and it resonated with me. That spark of joy is a wonderful feeling. That first quote sums it up perfectly the essence of life…simple joys. Perfection right there 🙂

    • Reply Min April 15, 2019 at 8:58 am

      There’s a few good de-cluttering tips to pick up from watching Marie Kondo but in my opinion, not enough for a series. Seems too repetitive to me – same, same only different couples etc. Glad the post resonated with you! That spark of joy sure is wonderful! ☺

  • Reply Christina Daggett April 13, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    I enjoy many of the same things you do, Min. I can relish all these things because I found my joy, after age 50, when I came to terms with my past, through a book called “The Artist’s Way”, by Julia Cameron. Now I take the time to appreciate all the things that I love. Thanks for sharing this thought-provoking post.

    • Reply Min April 15, 2019 at 9:01 am

      Thanks Christina! Isn’t it interesting how the simplest things bring us joy but that we don’t appreciate them until we get older? I will have to Google that book ‘The Artist’s Way’. It sounds very interesting!

  • Reply Janet April 13, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    What a fascinating post Min. Proof that life really does get better with age, I reckon!

    • Reply Min April 15, 2019 at 9:03 am

      Thanks Janet! It does get better doesn’t it … in that we don’t just breeze through it missing all the good stuff. We notice and appreciate more now! Hope you’re well and getting settled after your move! xo

  • Reply Kylie Boyes April 14, 2019 at 7:10 am

    I absolutely loved this post on “Joy” Min.

    • Reply Min April 15, 2019 at 9:04 am

      Thanks so much Kylie! I’m glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for commenting! xo 😆

  • Reply Leslie Susan Clingan April 15, 2019 at 2:45 am

    What I love best of all about this is that your list of what sparks joy at this time in your life is so much longer, and richer than the list of what brought (temporary) joy years ago. How you have evolved!! How we all evolve!!

    • Reply Min April 15, 2019 at 9:07 am

      Thanks so much for your comment Leslie. It was an interesting exercise to do and proves just how much our perspective shifts and our gratitude and appreciation for the simple things in life grows as we get older. Joy comes from feelings, moments, memories and experiences … not things. xo

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