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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy

person holding a smiling balloon in front of their face

We've got 10 smile-worthy finds to lift your spirits.

One of the most classically "Upworthy" stories of the past decade is the story of Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench. In a twist of fate, Wanda texted her grandson about Thanksgiving plans in 2015, or so she thought. The number she texted belonged to a young man named Jamal, who said she wasn't his grandma but could he have a plate anyway? It was a joke, but she invited him to join her family's dinner—and he came.

Jamal and Wanda became fast friends, and they have gotten together for Thanksgiving nearly every year since. They've seen a lot of life changes together—Jamal finding love, Wanda losing her husband, a global pandemic. And Jamal is still getting random texts from random numbers on occasion, which is just a reminder of the story that has delighted millions over the past eight years.

Jamal and Wanda made this week's list along with some other delights, both old and new. May these tidbits of joy lift your spirit and bring a smile—or 10—to your face.


1. Three cheers for the greatest college trick-or-treaters ever

Swipe to see the whole thing. Reason #739 to not put an age limit on trick-or-treating.

2. Woman who worked as a housekeeper for 30 years to help fund her son's pilot education gets the best surprise

There's nothing like a mother's love. Nothing.

3. 4-year-old Emi is out here making eternal optimists out of all of us

"Everything that changes has a sweet to it." Wise words, little one.

4. It's year 8 of the greatest Thanksgiving story ever told and we are here for it

It never gets old. (Scroll through for the whole story.)

5. Baby girl repeatedly pranks her parents by pretending to have her arm stuck in a bottle

The acting chops, though. So adorable. Read the full story here.

6. The way this mama cat introduces her baby to her doggo friend

It looks like she's teaching him how to be gentle with her baby. So sweet.

7. Backpacks of school supplies in lieu of flowers? We don't deserve teachers.

"A teacher to the end" indeed.

8. Ever seen two cellists rock an AC/DC song? It's amazing how well it works.

This isn't new, but it's new to some people and definitely worth revisiting for those of us who have seen it. Read more about 2Cellos here.

9. Hummingbird gets stuck inside, but lets a gentle human help

Here's to helping the gorgeous little birdy find its freedom.

10. Ginormous dog sounds like Chewbacca while getting a bath

First of all, how is that dog real? Secondly, what on Earth is he going on about? Does he like the bath or hate it? Or maybe he's just trying to make conversation with the hairdresser like the rest of us.

Hope this roundup brought a few smiles to your face! If you enjoyed this post and want to see more like it in your inbox, subscribe to our free email newsletter, The Upworthiest, here.

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Making new friends as an adult is challenging. While people crave meaningful IRL connections, it can be hard to know where to find them. But thanks to one Facebook Group, meeting your new best friends is easier than ever.

Founded in 2018, NYC Brunch Squad brings together hundreds of people who come as strangers and leave as friends through its in-person events.

“Witnessing the transformative impact our community has on the lives of our members is truly remarkable. We provide the essential support and connections needed to thrive amid the city's chaos,” shares Liza Rubin, the group’s founder.

Despite its name, the group doesn’t just do brunch. They also have book clubs, seasonal parties, and picnics, among other activities.

NYC Brunch Squad curates up to 10 monthly events tailored to the specific interests of its members. Liza handles all the details, taking into account different budgets and event sizes – all people have to do is show up.

“We have members who met at our events and became friends and went on to embark on international journeys to celebrate birthdays together. We have had members get married with bridesmaids by their sides who were women they first connected with at our events. We’ve had members decide to live together and become roommates,” Liza says.

Members also bond over their passion for giving back to their community. The group has hosted many impact-driven events, including a “Picnic with Purpose” to create self-care packages for homeless shelters and recently participated in the #SquadSpreadsJoy challenge. Each day, the 100 members participating receive random acts of kindness to complete. They can also share their stories on the group page to earn extra points. The member with the most points at the end wins a free seat at the group's Friendsgiving event.

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Education

3,700-year-old Babylonian stone tablet gets translated, changes history

They were doing trigonometry 1500 years before the Greeks.

via UNSW

Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.

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Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Van Gogh’s Starry Night.



Van Gough never got to enjoy his own historic success as an artist (even though we've been able to imagine what that moment might have looked like). But it turns out that those of us who have appreciated his work have been missing out on some critical details for more than 100 years.

I'm not easily impressed, OK?

I know Van Gogh was a genius. If the point of this were "Van Gogh was a mad genius," I would not be sharing this with you.
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Christine Kesteloo has one big problem living on a cruise ship.

A lot of folks would love to trade lives with Christine Kesteloo. Her husband is the Chief Engineer on a cruise ship, so she gets to live on the boat pretty much for free as the “wife on board.” For Christine, life is a lot like living on a permanent vacation.

“I live on a cruise ship for half the year with my husband, and it's often as glamorous as it sounds,” she told Insider. “After all, I don't cook, clean, make my bed, do laundry or pay for food.“

Living an all-inclusive lifestyle seems like paradise, but it has some drawbacks. Having access to all-you-can-eat food all day long can really have an effect on one’s waistline. Kesteloo admits that living on a cruise ship takes a lot of self-discipline because the temptation is always right under her nose.

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Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Women do better when they have female friends.

Madeleine Albright once said, "There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." It turns out that might actually be a hell on Earth, because women just do better when they have other women to rely on, and there's research that backs it up.

A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that women who have a strong circle of friends are more likely to get executive positions with higher pay. "Women who were in the top quartile of centrality and had a female-dominated inner circle of 1-3 women landed leadership positions that were 2.5 times higher in authority and pay than those of their female peers lacking this combination," Brian Uzzi writes in the Harvard Business Review.

Part of the reason why women with strong women backing them up are more successful is because they can turn to their tribe for advice. Women have to face different challenges than men, such as unconscious bias, and being able to turn to other women who have had similar experiences can help you navigate a difficult situation. It's like having a road map for your goals.

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via Pexels

Millennials are now old enough to seriously reflect on life.

It seems like only yesterday a millennial was a college kid that baby boomers chided for being entitled and Gen Xers thought were way too sincere and needed to learn how to take a joke. Today, the oldest millennials, those born around 1980, have hit their 40s and have lived long enough to have some serious regrets.

They also have enough experience to take some pride in decisions that, in hindsight, were the right moves.

The good news is that at 40 there is still plenty of time to learn from our successes and failures to set ourselves up for a great second half of life. These lessons are also valuable to the Gen Zers coming up who can avoid the pitfalls of the older generation.

A Reddit user who has since deleted their profile asked millennials nearing 40 “what were your biggest mistakes at this point in life?” and they received more than 2,200 responses. The biggest regrets these millennials have are being flippant about their health and not saving enough money when they were younger.

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A woman giving a stern warning.

Over the past few years, women named Karen have taken a lot of heat in the media. The term "Karen" has been used to describe a specific type of entitled, privileged and often middle-aged white woman. Typically, "Karen” is depicted as demanding, self-important and constantly seeking to escalate minor inconveniences to authority figures, like demanding to "speak to the manager."

Identifying the folks who create unnecessary drama in our world is important. But calling them a “Karen” isn’t the best way to solve the problem. There are many reasons to have an issue with the “Karen” stereotype. First, it’s terrible for people named Karen, and it’s also a connotation that many feel is racist, sexist and ageist.

Further, according to a new study by Trustpilot, the stereotype isn’t accurate. A recent survey by the online media site found that the people who leave the most one-star reviews aren’t female, and the women who do it the most aren’t named Karen.

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