Looking for Joy in 2024


It is my oldest daughter’s senior year in high school. We’re inching towards the end of it. What we’ve all been working for is happening. And I find myself staring at her a lot lately. Well… if I’m going to be real honest, it’s more like weirdly gazing at her a lot lately. Holding on to moments. Trying to remember everything, so that when she’s gone, I can take the memory out and savor it.

It’s a bittersweet time.

She’s infuriating. She’s so smart. And she knows everything – more than we do for sure (or so she thinks). She’s genuinely clever. Absolutely hysterical. And she actually is so smart. She is wholly enchanting, even in her most maddening moments.

This is how it should be. We know this. We definitely want to launch these kids into their own lives as soon as we can, but there’s dread too. She’s not going to live with us anymore and that’s unsettling and scary and sad and exciting.

So, I’m trying to grab the joy where I can.

As I was scrolling distractedly one day, I saw on my Instagram reels the performance of a poem. Harry Baker, the World Poetry Slam champ, was reciting Donna Ashworth’s “Joy Chose You” and it stopped me in my scrolling tracks. (Full disclosure, I was actually looking for more very important and captivating Taylor and Travis news, because I am heavily invested in that relationship for no apparent good reason.)

Here is the poem:

Joy does not arrive with a fanfare,
on a red carpet strewn with the flowers of a perfect life.

Joy sneaks in, as you pour a cup of coffee,
watching the sun hit your favourite tree, just right.

And you usher joy away,
because you are not ready for it.
Your house is not as it must be,
for such a distinguished guest.

But joy cares nothing for your messy home,
or your bank-balance,
or your waistline, you see.

Joy is supposed to slither through the cracks of your imperfect life,
that’s how joy works.

You cannot invite her, you can only be ready when she appears.

And hug her with meaning,

because in this very moment,

joy chose you.

Joy is supposed to slither through the cracks of your imperfect life, that’s how it works.

I think it’s easy these days to think that every minute of life is supposed to be great and happy and shiny, when in reality, an overwhelming majority of life is just kind of meh – getting stuff done, doing what you have to do. And most of the time, let’s be honest, that stuff is not that fun.

I have this conversation with my youngest daughter fairly often – that more often than not, most of life is just sort of neutral if you’re lucky. Neither especially great nor especially terrible, just right there in the average middle. So, when something wonderful happens, relish it, because it will be followed by something not great before too long. That’s simply what living in the world is like.

I love the idea of joy slithering in through the cracks of everyday minutiae. All the normal stuff that keeps things running and is pretty underwhelming? Joy just tiptoes in; it gets in there anyway if you’re looking for it. It’s fleeting, maybe, but it slinks on in.

Making the ordinary moments extraordinary.

Bringing delight into the routine.

And as we make our way into a new year, I’ve been wondering about a word or idea to focus on, and this poem crystallized it for me. In 2024 I want to be open and receptive. Open and receptive to joy, love, new opportunities, feedback, uncertainty, all the experiences – you name it. I want to live life fully, with all of its…stuff.

Life is short and its timing is unpredictable. When all is said and done, I want to know that I lived it all. And I really believe that you see what you’re looking for, so in 2024 I’m looking for joy and will try to be open and receptive to all life dishes out, so that when joy comes slithering through the cracks of my imperfect life, I’m ready to embrace her.

What are you looking for in the new year?

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Kathy Ferguson
Wildly in love with her perfectly imperfect life, Kathy’s been married to her most favorite person in the world, “The Professor,” for 14 years. They moved to Columbia from Atlanta seven years ago and are enjoying raising their two girls, Gracie (12½) and Tate (10) here. After undergrad and her MBA, Kathy worked in Corporate America for 10 years before retiring to work full-time for the girls. Most recently, she was a grant writer at a college here in town, but had to leave that job when her family moved to New Zealand for six months for The Professor’s sabbatical. She started her blog, kathygoeskiwi.com, to document that amazing adventure, but now she’s home and trying to figure out what to do with her life. Again. Probably the loudest and most foul-mouthed introvert you’ll ever meet, she can usually be found curled up with a trashy romance novel, on the tennis court, at her awesome gym, or drinking wine with people she loves.


  1. Im reading “Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier.” I’ll let you know when im done


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