1. When you see someone on the metro in the morning and something just tells you that they’re going to be rude and grumpy, but they end up being the nicest of all — holding the door open for people and letting people go before them, even with a smile.
2. When a baby looks across a checkout line or a store aisle directly at you and smiles from ear to ear. Mouthing back “Hi!” and smiling, and watching it freak out in a small fit of joy and wiggle back and forth in happiness. (And at least for that moment, the parent pushing it around is completely free and undistracted.)
3. Seeing someone stopped to talk with a homeless person and seeing if they can really do anything to help them, aside from just tossing them a few coins and walking away.
4. Realizing that you can do the same thing yourself if you want to — that, with a small amount of effort, you can completely change someone’s day or even their life — and making more of an effort to actually do it in your community.
5. Watching a movie with someone that you have always loved but not many people have seen, and hearing them laugh at all the same things you love (and even a few parts that you didn’t even notice the first time you saw it).
6. Hearing a song come on the radio that hasn’t come on in forever, and remembering exactly where you were and who you were when you used to listen to it all the time, and feeling like that version of you and your life isn’t actually that far away.
7. Catching a glimpse of two people at the restaurant you’re eating at, a few tables away, who are clearly having the best first date of their leaves. Noticing how much they are both leaning into each other, how interested they are, and how excited they are to be together.
8. Being in a moment of reverse-shit-talking. (When a group of people are together saying really nice things about a mutual friend, even though they aren’t around to hear it.)
9. When a friend, one who has always worked really hard professionally but has never had much luck in the job market, finally gets a position that they were looking for and can officially say that they work in their field.
10. Finding out that two friends who have always had a thing for each other from afar have finally gotten it together and admitted it to each other, and are now together after all this time.
11. Getting a message from someone you knew a long time ago who you assumed had completely forgotten about you, reading them say things like “I hope you’re okay,” and “I’d love to catch up with you sometime soon,” and feeling like no time had ever passed between you.
12. Watching a local help out a tourist who is completely lost and too nervous to ask for directions.
13. Being invited in to have dinner at someone’s house when you are new to an area and barely know anyone, when you’ve never been quite as happy to have a home-cooked meal and some good people to talk to.
14. Meeting a person from a much older generation who is just as open-minded and socially progressive as all of your friends.
15. Seeing someone change their mind about a negative judgment they had once been completely certain about, and now actively trying to change the minds of others because they see how harmful it can be to harbor any kind of hatred.
16. When a couple has been together for a very long time, but is still absolutely enamored with one another and can’t help but show it when they’re out and about.
17. Seeing children who are not cruel to other children who are different from them — children that others might hastily term as “weird” or “ugly” — but instead play and laugh with them as they would with any other kid.
18. When old dogs get adopted into a loving family, even though everyone wants the cute little puppies, and the shelter thought it unlikely that they would find a home.
19. Realizing that we are all complicated human beings with serious traumas and disappointments in our lives that could lead us to be cruel, be angry, or lash out with seemingly no reason. Understanding that being kind, and even getting out of bed every day, can be so difficult for so many of us and being amazed that we are all strong enough to make it in spite of our fragile, very human nature.