What brings me joy?

I was talking to my friend Robin and she said something that really inspired me. She was working through what brings her joy and, among other things, can she leverage that knowledge to find a career that she is passionate and joyful about?

I decided to make my own list. The list is organized into categories with things that bring me the most joy at the top. Items with a star are ones that really get me excited.

Things that bring me joy:

The outdoors:

Spiders*, creepy crawlies, animals/creatures in general

Hiking*/walking/exploring outdoors in the country or even walking in urban areas

The ocean* (but also) creeks, rivers, lakes, sloughs, any body of water

Wildflowers (but also) any type of flowering plant*

Living in the country*

Foraging for wild foods

Plant/animal identification



Visiting monuments, museums, botanical gardens and other types of attractions*

Adding new states to the list of states I’ve visited (or countries)

Learning about/experiencing new climates/weather patterns

Learning with my daughter:



Silly rhymes*

Making up jokes*

Researching animals/creatures online or with books*

Writing and illustrating her stories*

Crafts, especially with loose parts



Listening time*

Emotionally Focused Therapy, relationships, connection, personal growth, healing trauma

Positive parenting


That moment, in journalism, when you find the information/quote or interview that you know will make for a good story that is different from other stories out there on the same topic*

Word jokes*

Regional/cultural definition of words*

Researching the origins of words*

This was a really fun and interesting process. Some things that it helped me realize are, No. 1, I want to live in the country someday. I’ve always known I like that idea but now I’m realizing that needs to be a life goal. Secondly, this list helped me clarify why it was that I loved the travel nursing lifestyle. However, even without moving from place to place, we can still enjoy a lot of the things on my list, especially if we are able to live in an area with lots of hiking (like Bemidji, where we are moving now) and if we can someday live in the country.

I also thought more about, if I could pursue the things that bring me joy as work, what would I do? I think the answer is either writing, podcasts or YouTube videos about nature related topics. One of the things I’ve been pondering for quite a while is a children’s book or books about the importance of bugs and what’s happening now that so many bugs are disappearing from earth due to human interference. Another possibility is combining those loves with my love of teaching, especially in the unschooling style, by providing resources for unschoolers or children in general.

What brings you joy? I challenge you to write up your own list.