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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

We could all use a roundup of joy.

10 things, piano, squirrel

Upworthy's roundup of delights from around the internet.

Have you ever pondered what joy actually is? Is it different than happiness, and if so, how?

Though the dictionary definitions of the words are quite similar, people like to debate how happiness and joy differ. Some people say happiness is an emotion while joy is a state of mind. Some describe happiness as coming from outside of us while joy comes from within us. Some describe happiness as surface and fleeting while joy is deeper and more lasting.

In the documentary "Mission: JOY," iconic spiritual leaders Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama explore the concept of joy. Each of them has endured a great deal of tragedy and struggle in their lives, yet both exude and embody joy at the deepest level. In 2015, six years before Desmond Tutu passed away, the two holy men spent five days together sharing their thoughts on life, suffering, compassion, joy and more.


The two agree that joy comes from within and is largely born from helping people. As Tutu said in the film, "Joy is the reward of seeking to give joy to others." And science backs that up as well. Research on happiness shows that those who do kind things for others are happier and healthier. The more joy we spread, the more joy we receive.

One of the best things about joy—it doesn't require everything to be OK to feel it. Even in the face of difficulty and struggle, we can find joy. People who face physical or mental health challenges can still experience joy. Though tragedies may touch our lives, joy still finds ways in.

Whether these 10 things will bring you joy or happiness I can't say, but hopefully, they will bring a smile or 10 to your face. Enjoy.

1. Let's all live vicariously through this baby squirrel being brushed.

This might seriously be the most relaxing video I've ever seen. I'd grab that brush and bring it back too, lil' squirrel.

2. These seniors got tap lessons and the joy is palpable.

Just the best. So much fun.

3. Seriously, this documentary about the kinship between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu is what the world needs now.

Everyone needs to watch this film. It's joyful, hopeful, beautiful and hilarious. Desmond Tutu's daughter said these two together have the energy of two 8-year-old boys, and it's so easy to see. Their friendship is truly a wonderful example to us all. Read the story here.

4. Kiddo meets his baby brother for the first time—with a Mario Bros. twist.

"It's a me, Mario!" And he finally got his Luigi. So sweet.

5. Baby leads a dance class and gracious, the cuteness is too much.

Let's have wee ones lead all of our exercise classes from now on, please.

6. Pianist unexpectedly summoned a fellow piano player at a London train station.

How fun is that?!? (Also, more public live music like this, please.)

7. Take a scroll through these pics of sweet doggos smelling the flowers.

The only thing better than a sweet doggo is a sweet doggo taking a moment to smell the flowers. Click the arrow on the right to scroll through.

8. The European Union beat its greenhouse gas emissions targets by more than 70%.

EU, flags

In a bit of good climate news, the EU blew past its greenhouse gas emissions goals for 2020.

Photo by ALEXANDRE LALLEMAND on Unsplash

In a bit of good news on the climate crisis front, official EU data submitted to the United Nations this week shows that the EU not only succeeded in cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20% but actually reduced them by 34%—a whopping 70% more than the goal. Undoubtedly, that accomplishment was helped by the COVID-19 shutdowns in 2020, but hey, we'll take it.

9. Gorilla family takes a keen interest in documentary filmmaker.

Can you even imagine? So thrilling and terrifying and adorable, all at the same time. Their curiosity is so innocent and sincere. And the silverback pulling that baby away, like, "Okay, that's enough. Leave the nice man alone." Just incredible.

10. Security camera captures this couple's sweet goodnight moments.

@isabellafons1

é meu vídeo favorito 🥹

The first shot of this video reads, "Me telling my boyfriend that I wanted to record more of our moments." And what follows is a series of candid clips from a home security camera showing them saying goodnight to each other. Awww. Young love. Gotta love it.

Have a joyful week, everyone, and come back next Friday for another roundup of delights!

Pop Culture

Guy makes a tweet about what you should have 'by age 30.' People's responses were hilarious.

"By the age of 30 you should have anxiety, and an emotional support pet that also has anxiety."

Photo by NIPYATA! on Unsplash

This is 30.

When Steve Adcock, an entrepreneur and “fitness buff” posted this to his Twitter:

“By age 30, you should have a group of friends that talk business, money, and fitness, not politics and pop culture.”

… people had thoughts.



His post might have been intended as more of an encouragement to surround yourself with people who challenge your current mindset, considering the tweet continued with “one of the biggest mistakes I've ever made was making friends with like-minded folks who talked about the same [stuff] over and over. I agreed with 99% of it. Your comfort zone will kill your progress.”

But still, overall the tweet left an unsavory taste in people’s mouths—primarily because it implied that money was somehow a better conversation topic than what people are usually genuinely passionate about. Why not talk about your favorite television show with friends if it lights you up inside?


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1989 video brings back strong memories for Gen Xers who came of age in the '80s.

It was the year we saw violence in Tiananmen Square and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. The year we got Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally" and Michael Keaton in Tim Burton's "Batman." The year "Seinfeld" and "The Simpsons" debuted on TV, with no clue as to how successful they would become. The year that gave us New Kids on the Block and Paula Abdul while Madonna and Janet Jackson were enjoying their heyday.

The jeans were pegged, the shoulders were padded and the hair was feathered and huge. It was 1989—the peak of Gen X youth coming of age.

A viral video of a group of high school students sitting at their desks in 1989—undoubtedly filmed by some geeky kid in the AV club who probably went on to found an internet startup—has gone viral across social media, tapping straight into Gen X's memory banks. For those of us who were in high school at the time, it's like hopping into a time machine.

The show "Stranger Things" has given young folks of today a pretty good glimpse of that era, but if you want to see exactly what the late '80s looked like for real, here it is:

Oh so many mullets. And the Skid Row soundtrack is just the icing on this nostalgia cake. (Hair band power ballads were ubiquitous, kids.)

I swear I went to high school with every person in this video. Like, I couldn't have scripted a more perfect representation of my classmates (which is funny considering that this video came from Paramus High School in New Jersey and I went to high school on the opposite side of the country).

Comments have poured in on Reddit from both Gen Xers who lived through this era and those who have questions.

First, the confirmations:

"Can confirm. I was a freshman that year, and not only did everyone look exactly like this (Metallica shirt included), I also looked like this. 😱😅"

"I graduated in ‘89, and while I didn’t go to this school, I know every person in this room."

"It's like I can virtually smell the AquaNet and WhiteRain hairspray from here...."

"I remember every time you went to the bathroom you were hit with a wall of hairspray and when the wind blew you looked like you had wings."

Then the observations about how differently we responded to cameras back then.

"Also look how uncomfortable our generation was in front of the camera! I mean I still am! To see kids now immediately pose as soon as a phone is pointed at them is insanity to me 🤣"

"Born in 84 and growing up in the late 80’s and 90’s, it’s hard to explain to younger people that video cameras weren’t everywhere and you didn’t count on seeing yourself in what was being filmed. You just smiled and went on with your life."

Which, of course, led to some inevitable "ah the good old days" laments:

"Life was better before the Internet. There, I said it."

"Not a single cell phone to be seen. Oh the freedom."

"It's so nice to be reminded what life was like before cell phones absorbed and isolated social gatherings."

But perhaps the most common response was how old those teens looked.

"Why do they all look like they're in their 30's?"

"Everyone in this video is simultaneously 17 and 49 years old."

"Now we know why they always use 30 y/o actors in high school movies."

As some people pointed out, there is an explanation for why they look old to us. It has more to do with how we interpret the fashion than how old they actually look.

Ah, what a fun little trip down memory lane for those of us who lived it. (Let's just all agree to never bring back those hairstyles, though, k?)

A viral video from a Little League game has people celebrating good sportsmanship.

Youth sports have gotten more intensely competitive, to the point where overeager parents and coaches have to regularly be reminded to take it down a notch. So when humanity takes precedence over team rivalries, it's extra heartwarming.

And considering how many "kids these days" laments we see coming from older generations, it's also heartening to see kids showing excellent character qualities when no one directly asked them to.

A viral video from a Little League baseball game is giving us a nice dose of both—good sportsmanship and basic human kindness from two players from opposing teams.

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