RADIATE S.U.N.S. JOY to add more sunny happiness and warm contentment to your world and to others. American literary legend, Edith Wharton, glowed with this luminous wisdom: “There are two ways to spread light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
“The S.U.N.S. (Smile-Making, Uniting, Neighboring, Spellbinding) Joyous Aging System” has been explained and illuminated in the many previous chapters of this series.
Now, I encourage you to spread the joy by letting these 50-plus easy, FREE or inexpensive ideas prompt you to create your own joy-giving radiance.
RADIATE S.U.N.S. JOY (SMILE-MAKING)
- SMILING IS FREE and CONTAGIOUS Give one of yours to someone who truly appears to need one. You may start a SMILE-MAKING pandemic.
- GIVE SOMETHING SOFT to SOMEONE HAVING A HARD TIME A pillow? Fleece mittens?
- MAIL SOMEONE SOMETHING SMILE-INDUCING Let the U.S. Post Office help you make some smiles. Now that emailed thank you notes are acceptable etiquette for most folks, taking the time to mail even a handwritten postcard shows someone they matter.
- COMPLIMENT SOMEONE Simply let them know you sincerely admire or appreciate something about them. Sometimes we are in a “victory parade” and sometimes we can sit on the curb applauding.
- SHARE A BOUNCY or CALMING YouTube SONG. How about “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” by those jaunty Monty Python blokes? Another SMILE-MAKING earworm with surefire uplift is from the Broadway musical “Annie”—“You’ve got to S-M-I-L-E to be H-A-DOUBLE ‘P’-Y.”
- GIVE A CANDLE to someone who is in the middle of something dark.
- FIND OUT WHO SOME CELEBRITY JOY-GIVERS celebrating a birthday this month are. Share a joyful, meaningful quote from one of them with someone.
- SHARE SOME “GOOD NEWS” If you’re struggling to think of some, explore the “Good News” sources online.
- “MAY DAY” FLOWERS ARE WELCOME ANY DAY OF THE YEAR When you buy a bouquet from the grocery store, leave a little bunch as a doorknob-hanger surprise for a neighbor or friend.
- JUST DO IT If you have the imagination and ability to make someone else smile, do it. Maybe you’ll start a SMILE-MAKING movement.
- TEXT SOMEONE A PHOTO of YOUR “HAPPY PLACE” and ask about theirs.
- SHARE A JOKE Here are a few to consider:
- Since this is an election year…A voter says to a politician, “I wouldn’t vote for you if you were St. Peter himself.” And the politician says, “If I were St. Peter, you wouldn’t be in my district.”
- Why do bagpipers always walk when they are playing? They’re trying to get away from the noise.
- Did you hear about the skunk who came into the church? He had his own pew.
- BABIES ARE SMILE-MAKING If you see one, brag on it to the caring adult it is with.
- HOLD A DOOR FOR SOMEONE Let someone in a hurry go ahead of you in line.
- THINK OF SOMEONE WHO DID SOMETHING SMILE-MAKING IN THE PAST and remind them of it. (For example: My smart, agile, 60-ish friend could walk across the gymnasium on his hands when he was in his teens and he’s now a brilliant medical mind: Dr. Dan Williams.)
- DRAW A “SMILEY FACE” or BAKE “SMILEY FACE” COOKIES and give them to some people. Draw an entire page of “Smiley Faces” and give that to someone who really, really needs more smiles.
- GIVE YOUR UMBRELLA to someone who left theirs in the car and let them drive yours back to you.
- MAKE A PLAYLIST of “SMILE-MAKING MUSIC” for yourself and share a copy with someone.
RADIATE S.U.N.S. JOY (UNITING)
- REFLECT ON SOMEONE WHO MADE YOU FEEL WARM As autumn brings cooler days, let that person know you think of them warmly and are thankful for them.
- THINK OF THREE THINGS YOU LIKE ABOUT SOMEONE Tell them.
- CONSOLE a worried family member or friend by sincerely saying, “You will be fine.”
- CHILDREN NEED RESPECT and ADMIRATION, too. Think of some child and something you particularly admire or appreciate about them. Let them know. Many children will remember your joy-giving message for years.
- INTERVIEW A FRIEND with the “Proust Questionnaire” and learn new things to connect you more deeply. Check online for a collection of these tried-and-true questions for your query.
- PLAN A “FRIENDSGIVING”
- GIVE SOMEONE A BIG HUG TODAY You could do this like a “Hugging Telegram” delivered to their house. (Note: This post-pandemic suggestion still might require asking for their consent prior to hugging.)
- SEND YOUR COMPLIMENTS TO THE CHEF Even corporate, fast-food workers have gone to some effort to please you with their food. I try to remember to say “Thank you” for any and all food including McDonald’s, Chick-Fil-A or Cracker Barrel.
- LOG OFF TECH and GIVE YOUR “FULL ATTENTION” to someone often.
RADIATE S.U.N.S. JOY (NEIGHBORING)
- CELEBRATE “MODEL CITIZENS of KINDNESS” These souls do not always have their names in public places and they may not desire a lot of acclaim, but it is still good to let them know they are recognized and valued. You might tell them in person or send them a note of thankfulness.
- “YOU DO A GREAT JOB and YOU ADD TO OUR PART of the WORLD!” Think of a deserving local person and let them know your appreciation this week.
- COOKIES FOR OUR COPS would be great if you’re a baker, and “store bought” cookies for our cops if you’re not. #policelivesmatter
- JOIN or START a “BIG SING” in your community. Joyful communal noises add joy to the world.
- BUY ADVERTISING SPACE TO THANK A LOCAL DO-GOODER CAUSE This doesn’t have to be a full-page splash in a newspaper, it could be a small “want ad” size but it still radiates positive joy.
- SPONSOR A MUSICAL or THEATRICAL “BUSKER” Where you live may not have a subway or train station but pre-paying some banjo picker or kazoo wheezer could add a little surprising joy to some dull spot.
- IF YOU SUDDENLY BECAME PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. what is something you would make a national priority on Day 1? (Please don’t demand your face on a postage stamp.) What could you do today, where you are, to make a positive difference on this?
- YouTube GLEN CAMPBELL SINGING “TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS” Choose a version that shows you the simple but profound lyrics. The chorus is:
“You got to try a little kindness,
Yes, show a little kindness.
Just shine your light for everyone to see.
And if you try a little kindness
Then you’ll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets.”
- CREATE A COMMUNITY “WALL OF KINDNESS” in a café’ or courthouse and invite everyone to add kind words and thoughts.
- EXPLORE JOYOUS IDEAS from JOYFUL PLACES that your spot on the map might adopt. A good place to start is the annual “Reader’s Digest Magazine Nicest Places in America” series.
- DONATE ANY CLOTHES or OBJECTS that AREN’T “SPARKING JOY” Thanks to professional “purge princess” Marie Kondo this is advice we all should remember at least once each season.
- MAIL A “THINKING OF YOU” NOTE TO SOME “SHUT IN” THIS WEEK Don’t wait for February to send valentines. Every day of the year is a good one to let someone a bit isolated know they are not alone in the world.
RADIATE S.U.N.S. JOY (SPELLBINDING)
- RAKE SOMEONE’S AUTUMN LEAVES with them or for them. The repetitive action will transport you from your own little world as you get lost in a rewarding, SMILE-MAKING, NEIGHBORING task.
- ARE YOU AN OBSESSING, FALL FOOTBALL FAN? This would be a good message for you to share with someone: “The days get shorter each Fall which makes us even more thankful for radiating sunshine. You and I will be fine. We and Bama football make ever autumn a winning season.” Then, it’s always in good taste to add a loud, boisterous—ROLLLLLL TIDE!!! (Just sayin’.)
- DONATE SUPPLIES TO YOUR LOCAL, OBSESSIVE ARTISTS/ARTISANS Give chipped pottery and loose beads to a mosaic artist or crafter. Those of us who regularly enjoy being “makers” always want more materials to transform art which viewers/patrons may find SMILE-MAKING and we find SPELLBINDING during the creative process.
- OCCASIONALLY INVITE SOMEONE TO SHARE YOUR PARTICULAR PASSION If you go for a walk daily, ask a more sedentary friend if they might like to join you sometimes. As you are UNITING with a friend, you can still enjoy your walk but perhaps let them know that generally this is something you will want to do as a sort of meditative solitude—if that’s your thing. We all need to “move” some regularly.
- TEACH A MAN TO FISH or TEACH A KID TO TOOT a horn. Let your local schools know you have a skill you would love to share with a student. Woodworking? Sewing? Vocal coaching? Chess? Pickleball? Flower-arranging? Grammar policing? (Note to my delightful, eagle-eyed editor, Wendy Sack: You would be great mentoring grammar lessons thirty years from now when you retire. Take my editor, please.)
- START A “WORD-A-DAY” BUDDY PROGRAM Build your vocabulary and activate different parts of your brain and heart by UNITING through a shared love of words.
- COLOR SOMEONE’S WORLD a bit more beautifully by celebrating their “signature color.” People who are “pink passionate” would find it joyful to be given some pink cupcakes or possibly pink grapefruit.
- TAKE A DOG ON A “SNIFF-A-THON” WALK You will find it SPELLBINDING to be out in nature UNITING with one of human’s best friends and the dog will find it aromatically SPELLBINDING.
- GET LOST IN YOUR HOMETOWN by corralling someone to join you as you roleplay being tourists wandering among the familiar sights and sounds and smells and hugs and eateries.
- CREATE YOUR OWN VERSION OF A FAVORITE JOY-MAKING VIDEO This may take some planning, practicing, patience and a willingness to look goofy, but it could be totally absorbing to do. When you share it online, many others could find your thoughtful creativity spirit-lifting and SMILE-MAKING.
- “HOLIDAY COOKIE or CRUDITE’ SWAP” The planning and making could be SPELLBINDING in a mostly SMILE-MAKING way and the sharing could be both UNITING and NEIGHBORING. Christmas will be here before you can say “Bob Cratchit!”
50-plus Ways to RADIATE S.U.N.S. JOY are easy to think of once you get yourself in the habit of being a joy-seeker and joy-maker. Look for acts of kindness and graciousness this week. Write your observations down so you’ll remember them. Tell the person who is adding joy to your week a hearty “Thank you.” Look for “Everyday Heroes/Heroines” in your local newspaper, then clip out the article and mail it with a “Thank you.”
Select a day this coming week and get ready to write down everything you find SMILE-MAKING starting with a big grin stretched across your face ear-to-ear before your head leaves your pillow. Be grateful for whatever weather welcomes you into your “One Radiant Day of S.U.N.S. Joy.” This will be a terrific way to become more thankful for our blessings as we tootle toward Thanksgiving.
JOY-MAKERS CELEBRATING A BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK
Oct. 15—Penny Marshall
Oct. 16—Andre’ Leon Talley
Oct. 17—Evel Knievel
Oct. 18—Chuck Berry
Oct. 19—Peter Max
Oct. 20—Snoop Dogg
Oct. 21—Carrie Fisher
PRUNE POWER BALLS—OREGON PRUNES
Each week, “The JOYrontologist” shares a recipe saluting a healthy food produced in America. This nutritious and delicious collection is called “The S.U.N.S. Longevity Cookbook” and highlights vitamin B-3 (niacin) which many gerontologists believe holds the promise for a long, healthy, joyful life.
- 3/4 cup whole almonds or walnuts
- 1 cup Sunsweet pitted prunes, chopped
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp. smoot peanut butter
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- Place nuts in bowl of food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add prunes, chia seeds, cocoa powder and peanut butter and pulse until combined. Add coconut oil and pulse until mixture forms ball and holds together.
- Roll into 1 tbsp. balls. Place coconut in shallow dish. Roll balls in coconut to coat.
- Refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes to set. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 1 week.
“The JOYrontologist” RECOMMENDS pairing German Rieslings with prunes and prune desserts. A good selection would be Schloss Vollrads 2018 Estate Riesling Kabinett with green apple and honeycomb notes. The enthusiasts at winemag.com called the 2018 German Rieslings “an epic romantic comedy that has an instantaneous international appeal and a heart-swooning finish. This vintage was marked by a long, dry and consistently hot summer that produced powerful, ripe wines with ample fruit and structure. They are sunny, charming wines…”
1,070 JOY-GIVING THINGS FROM MY FIRST 70 YEARS (continued)
891.”Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night
892. Strobe lights
893. Lava lamps
894. Illuminated manuscripts from the 11th century onward at the V&A Museum (London)
895. “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart”
896. Knowing the difference between Shinola and that other thing, occasionally
897. “Shine a Light” at a Rolling Stones concert
898. “Radiate Positive Vibes” hippie poster
899. “Radiate boundless love toward the entire world,” Buddha
900. “Joy to the World” English Christmas carol based on the Jewish Psalm 98
HAPPY, SUNNY, RADIANTLY JOYFUL WEEK!
Read all the installments in this series at www.cullmantribune.com/tag/odes-to-joy-2022.