Another long day and I feel tired. All I really want to do is go home and retreat. Maybe you can relate. Sometimes instead of doing the thing you first think of, you reach deeper and listen for that thing. That small prompting from your heart. I reached in and found myself sending this quick text to my new neighbor.
“Hi J: do you have any extra plants that you want to give away? I would love to have one or two if you do.”
A neighborly text, a belated follow up to an exchange I had with her months ago. I had recalled that she had a lot of plants and was eager to share some with me. Unaccustomed to such generous goodness, I just smiled.
Thank goodness for redos.
Once upon a time, quite a while ago, I was a city girl comfortable with blank stares and no eye contact on the streets and on the subway. Finding simple joys in everyday life was really foreign to me.
These days however, you’d find me experimenting and living the good neighbor ethos.
Which is: Make the world a better place. Be the change you want to see in the world. If you can be anything in the world, be kind. (In fact, I created a series of Be Kind products here in my Redbubble shop.)
Create. Live it. Share.
Hi there, my name is Angela. Thanks for coming along with me on my Simple Daily Joy journey. Let me share my brief neighbor exchange to make a point about genuine human connections as a way of living in simple daily joy.
Often when we think of finding joy, the notion centers around how to make yourself happy. You feel like a cup of boba tea and so you go get one. You feel like a new top or a pair of shoes is in order and so you go shopping. Sometimes our wants are bigger. You want a new car and if the price is right, you go purchase it. You enjoy having new experiences and before you know it, you find yourself in a new travel destination.
Such purchases and pursuits do bring us some measure of happiness and joy. In this article however, I wish to talk about how being neighborly brought me simple joy.
Here’s a few things I suggest as a result of the experience:
- Do something for a neighbor.
- Expect nothing in return
- Keep sharing kindness.
- Be willing to live in surprise.
Be a kind human
There was a knock on the front door. I was finishing up the dishes. My husband answered it and said it was J from across the street.
“Hello! Come on in.” I said cheerily.
“Do I take off my shoes?” she asked with hesitation.
“It’s up to you,” I responded. It’s always fun to see how first time guests introduce themselves in our home. Customs and cultures differ, and it’s always wonderful to see what people do.
To help her feel comfortable, I offered her a drink and gave her a quick tour of our home. Then we sat down in my studio and chatted.
So what happened here? We both took time out of our busy day to say hello and make a genuine human connection.
Such is simply the first act toward simple daily joy :
Be a Kind Human.
Do something for a neighbor.
Simple daily joys take a tangible form
It began last year when I first opened my online gift shop, Simple Daily Joy on Etsy. I swore not to have a lot of merchandise in my house, yet I still found myself with a number of sample products.
I wanted to make sure these products were well made and if not, I would change or eliminate any design that I wouldn’t myself buy.
One cold winter day, I found myself sorting out the samples and suddenly realized I do not need them sitting on my shelf. I grabbed one of them and decided to just knock on my new neighbor’s door.
“Hello,” I said. “My name’s Angela. I live across the street. I just want to say hello. Welcome to our neighborhood and um… here’s a little something for you.”
Her face broke into a smile and in a happy voice exclaimed loudly, “Oh! How did you know I love mugs?!”
Ever had the experience of feeling you didn’t try very hard and yet you hit the jackpot? Well, it was a moment like that for me.
Once more, I’m reminded of this: Simple is best. You should have seen the joy on her face. Sheer happiness.
Really all I did was share something I have in surplus.
What do you have that is in surplus that you can share?
Your time, a smile, a kind word, a personalized gift or perhaps extra food? Drop your comments below and share. It would be such a gift to hear from you.
Let your simple daily joys take a tangible form.
Begin. Even if you feel like it's just breadcrumbs.
Welcome to our neighborhood. I hope you enjoy living here.
And that is how our human connection began.
We exchanged a few more words. I said goodbye. She closed her door. I went back to my work.
Isn’t it interesting how you can be absorbed in your work totally and forget everything else?
Winter soon turned into spring. I spotted a few robins and hummingbirds. That led to a few more products around birds. Before I knew it, we were almost into summer. I figure if there is any planting to be done, it needs to happen now.
And so the text and the connection out-of-the-blue. No expectation. Yet joy received in every splendid way. Plants galore!
That evening, after a long day out, expecting ourselves to just crash on the sofa and most likely decompress with social media scrolling, my husband and I found ourselves making further connections with our neighbors.
I showed J what I did often in my studio. To make things understandable, I created a plant visual mockup for her. She shared her tips on how to enliven the monstera plant she just gave me. Who knew plants could look prettier with Leaf Shine spray?
We soon found ourselves outside. I saw Ron, my husband, had climbed up in one of their trees.
“We needed a few old branches removed,” she explained.
Ok – makes complete sense. Neighbors helping one another. We had our front tree trimmed a few years ago and he knew what to suggest.
Out of the corner of my eye, as if by magic, I spotted new elephant ears and caladium freshly planted in a corner of our front yard. Oh my!
I squealed in delight. The men had replaced the barren spot with new abundance of green which the freakish Texas winter storm earlier this year took out.
What our neighbors probably think are mere breadcrumbs from their trove of carefully tended plants only inspired more simple joys into our lives.
Never underestimate the good you can share out there.
Create. Tend with Love. Share.
I design things I love. You probably are clued in by now that I do not have encyclopedic knowledge for every product I design. Just enough to know someone out there might like my design.
There were a few more designs I found myself creating as I learned more about plants. Here’s one: Calathea Indoor Plant | Mug with Color Inside if you are interested. When I look at my Etsy plant listings now, new joy swells up in my heart. Our house is a little livelier with a few more new house plants – courtesy of our neighbors. I guess it is as simple as that:
Joy can be simple, no matter what, on a daily basis.
Go ahead, tend to something lovely. Create beautiful things. Share that joy of yours.
Thank you for reading this article. Welcome to my online shop, currently housed at Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SimpleDailyJoy .
I hope you find something you like there.
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More on other topics soon.