Book Report: Things to Look Forward To, 52 Large and Small Joys for Today and Everyday by Sophie Blackall (2022)

August 11, 2022

Yes, I know how important it is to live in the present moment.

Breathe in and tell yourself that a new day has been offered to you, and you have to be here to live it.

You Are Here, Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment by Thich Nhat Hand

This gentle and charming book, Things To Look Forward To by author and illustrator Sophie Blackall is a doorway into remembering what brings us joy and the pleasures that sustain and guide us, even when the present moment is fraught with angst. This book is a guidebook for being in the present moment, even as we look ahead.

Some of what Blackall looks forward to are on my list, like “making lists” and “returning home,” and other items, like “rain” and “visiting a museum,” open me to greater appreciation and gratitude. Maybe that’s what this book is–a gratitude book for a life being lived.

Here’s my list, a list that keeps growing, and that is a good thing, I think.

  • Sunday morning church.
  • Fall: weather, food, clothes, pumpkins
  • Being with our kids and grandkids. Anytime. Anyplace.
  • Having written the first sentence or paragraph of a new writing project. The first is always the hardest.
  • Meeting with my spiritual directees.
  • Anticipating the next book to read. I love adding titles to my TBR (To Be Read) list and then checking them off as I read them. And what is better than getting an email from the library saying a book I have requested is now available!
  • Making pesto with the basil from our garden.
  • A cold Diet Coke, especially from MacDonalds. (Remember, Blackall says the list contains both large and small joys)
  • One day road trips and counting eagles and hawks.
  • Cozy days in the snug.
  • The first trip in the morning to the garret.
  • Perfect weather to sit in the side garden, I call Paris.
  • Shopping the house as I clean to create new vignettes.
  • Ironing. Pressing out the wrinkles.
  • Seeing a friend cross the threshold.
  • Morning Meditation Time, whether it is walking in the neighborhood or sitting in my Girlfriend Chair
  • Setting the table for a gathering and thinking about the love that will be present.
  • My husband filling vases with flowers from his glorious garden.
  • Going to a play or concert.
  • A good night’s sleep.
  • Unpacking. I don’t enjoy packing, but unpacking always feels like a new beginning.

Normally we say that the future is not here yet, but we can touch it right now by getting deeply in touch with the present moment. Because it is of an interbeing nature, the present cannot exist by itself. It interexists with the past and the future. It’s like a flower that cannot exist by itself: it has to interexist with the sun and the earth. This is true for time, too. The present is made up of material called the past and the future, and the past and future are here in what we call the present.

You are Here, Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment by Thich Nhat Hanh

Blackall’s list and my list are the result of past times, which we look forward to living again in the present. Past, present, and future are all one.

An Invitation

What’s on your “looking forward to list”? I would love to know.

2 thoughts on “Book Report: Things to Look Forward To, 52 Large and Small Joys for Today and Everyday by Sophie Blackall (2022)

  1. One of my simple waking up joys that I look forward to every morning is that first cup of coffee or tea (I like both…I prefer iced coffee in the summer and hot green jasmine tea in the colder months) and taking it to sit on the porch or patio in the quiet of the morning. Though lately, our neighbor across the street has taken to blasting the music from his car every morning, sitting in his driveway, as he comes home from work on the midnight shift. So perhaps I should say “relative quiet”?!


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