1. Looking across the tracks of the subway and seeing someone in the window of the opposite train, someone who is reading the perfect book and who wears that familiar combination of tired and hopeful on their delicate features.
2. Stirring your coffee in a small, quiet café where the music is just soft enough to remind you that it is playing every so often when you look up from your notebook.
3. Exchanging a few jokes with a charming stranger stuck in the same endless, bureaucratic line as you, reminding you that you are not alone in your battle with everyday tedium.
4. Sitting on the beach with old friends whom you are visiting for a few weeks in the summer, when the weather is just hot enough to permit you to stay out all night and enjoy one another’s company in a way you were always too busy to do.
5. Reading old chats and messages and letters with people you used to love, and remembering what it is about them that was so wonderful.
6. Looking at pictures where you are smiling in that unflattering way you almost never allow yourself to do, but you couldn’t help it because you were surrounded by people who made you just that happy.
7. Kissing outside at night when you’ve had just enough to drink that your cheeks are tingling and you are afraid that the words “I love you” might fall out of your mouth all by themselves.
8. Hearing someone tell you something that they’ve never told anyone before, because they never felt like anyone would really listen and actually understand.
9. Seeing someone be kind when they think that no one is looking, because they know it is simply the right thing to do.
10. Finding out that an old love is getting married to someone who is so much more right for them that you could have ever been, and realizing that you can love someone and not ever want them for yourself again.
11. Sitting at a restaurant by yourself and getting so deeply lost in your book that you forget you are even alone, and you feel as though you are on a date with the world’s most interesting person.
12. Telling someone that you’re happy for them, and watching their whole face light up with well-earned pride when they realize that you actually mean it.
13. Waiting at the bus stop and seeing the most perfect person in the most perfect outfit who is looking at the map with just as little understanding as you once did when you were new in the city.
14. Realizing that someone who is so very beautiful does not imagine themselves to be anything special.
15. Hearing someone say “If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know” and knowing that you can ask them anything and they would do their best to follow through.
16. Visiting someone when they are sick and seeing the way their eyes light up at the soup and juice you brought them.
17. Sitting in the movie theater with someone and watching them laugh out of the corner of your eye when they think something is really, really funny. Watching their dimples and eye creases form and wishing they knew just how wonderful every little line on their face is.
18. Seeing someone at the gym who is having just as hard a time as you but is still going at it every day.
19. Reading something online that makes you cry, alone, at your computer, simply because it makes you feel — in a way you are rarely lucky enough to feel — that there are other people like you.
20. Running into an old friend at the store and letting it bleed into a long coffee where you talk about every subject that you didn’t even realize had been lying dormant inside of you for years, longing to be confirmed and expressed and understood.
21. Looking across the restaurant at the couple who is too happy to notice anyone around them, and realizing that sometimes we can get a contact high, a little burst of pure joy, just from seeing people who are that in love.
Originally published here.