Twenty-One Happy Moments in Twenty-One Years

My 21st birthday is Apr. 24, 2017. Last year for my birthday I wrote a piece titled “20 Things in 20 Years” which listed all the important (and irrelevant) things I’ve learned by running around the block for a couple decades. You know, those little laundry detergent pods should be tossed into the barrel of the washing machine before the clothes go in.

This year, here is a collection of twenty-one moments that make me happy.

1. Biting into really ripe fruit. Nothing makes me happier than really, really ripe cantaloupe, pineapple, or summer strawberries picked right off the runner.

2. Driving down the highway with the windows down. It makes my heart surge with freedom.

3. Fresh flannel sheets on a clean bed. Proceeding to build a nest of pillows.

4. When the phone rings and it was somebody I was just thinking about.

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5. Walking up stairs three at a time. Jumping down the last four steps.

6. Shaving my legs for the first time after a long winter. Smoother than a dolphin.

7. Vacuuming bits of sand and pebbles out of the car. So satisfying.

8. Slippery smooth, post-braces teeth. I still run my tongue along them.

9. Eating anything I grew myself. It tastes better when you worked hard for it. I’m looking at you, green beans.

10. Getting letters from my grandma in the mail. I send her back stories I’ve written about her.

11. Finally taking a shower after getting absolutely filthy. Nothing better than watching the dirt, paint and grime swirl down the drain.

12. Pulling out the wad of hair built up in the hairbrush. Yesssssssssssssssss.

13. Dozing off as someone lightly scratches your back. When I was a kid my grandma would draw pictures on my back and I would try to guess what she drew. I was a bad guesser.

14. Turning off all the lights during a thunderstorm. I love to stand by the window to feel the mist of the rain on my face and watch lightning sizzle across the sky.

15. Construction projects with my dad. It means a trip to the hardware store for fresh planks wood, watching him work with power tools while wearing flip flops, and sloppily nailing together our latest project in a shower of sawdust. Is it a bird house? I don’t know, but he’ll hang it up anyway.

16. Biking on a smooth road. I zoom so fast.

17. Having exact change at the check out. Here’s exactly $7.42.

18. When the guest finally leaves. The makeup comes off and the sweatpants slide on.

19. Long, comfortable silence with a close friend. I spend time with the people I really like by ignoring them from across the room.

20. Riding the shopping cart down the aisle. Hop both feet up and go!

21. Seeing your hard work appreciated. Thank you to everyone who has read Stories for Strangers over the years or who has taken the time to like and comment upon my work. I feel so lucky to share my life with you.


Until next time,



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