Munira Premji

There was a book on the table outside The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre’s store that winked at me.  It was called, “14,000 Things To Be Happy About.”

I immediately picked it up and started leafing through it.  The book was written by Barbara Ann Kipfer over a 40 year period, starting when she was in Grade 6.   Some of the entries created wonderful images for me (the sound of an ice cream truck), some made me reminisce (the smell of freshly baked bread) and some I could not relate to (mugs of soup).

So I started to think about all the things that make me happy – the little things, the big things and everything in between.  Within minutes, I exploded with 10 things that make me smile:

  • St. Petes/Clearwater in Florida makes my belly-button happy. There’s something so whole and healing when I step into its warmth.  My heart, my body and my spirit feel connected when I walk on the beach, feel the sand in my toes and marvel at the emerging sunset.  These moments are as close to heaven as I can imagine.
  • Saturday morning dates with Nagib. This is my all time favourite weekly activity and a sacred time for the both of us.  It is time that we use to reconnect, talk, share, eat, make plans, share perspectives, argue, agree, discuss life.  Each Saturday, we try out a new breakfast haunt courtesy of Yelp.
  • I am the Queen of Gadgets, except I don’t always know what to do with the new toy after I buy it. My Instant Pot is an exception. Every day, I enthusiastically tackle it and try a new dish –  sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t – but it gives me a sense of achievement when I can start cooking, and have something edible at the table in 30 minutes, without breaking a sweat.
  • Good books and podcasts sustain me. In the past month, I have been transported into the world of princes and princesses, sword fights and giants.  I have slipped into the mystery of Arabia, dived into questions around why the world has turned its back on migrants, explored the topics of perception and misconception and learnt the fascinating story of Instagram.
  • Waking up each morning at 4 am to meditate. Just magical!
  • Connecting with Shayne, Sabrina and Afzal on WhatsApp. Waking up to delicious messages and voicenotes from them almost every day. Being so connected with them and being part of their lives, in spite of being a continent away.
  • Stephen Colbert makes me happy. He is my guilty pleasure and I am addicted to his late night show.  I love how he confronts hypocrisy; how he helps to make sense of the craziness in the world and how he does all this with humour, sarcasm and an elegant grace.  One of my bucket list items is to see him live in New York.
  • Technology thrills me, even though I have a long way to go to become technologically savvy. My laptop, iPhone, wireless speakers, wireless phone charger and Fitbit are my favourite tools at the moment.
  • Music takes me to new heights. Shayne bought me a one-year subscription to Spotify and now I have all this incredible music at my fingertips to love and explore.  I listen to old favourites that move me; to the familiar sounds of Sade, the Beatles and Michael Buble; to the classical flamenco guitar sounds of Ottmar Liebert.  As I become more adventurous, I am downloading music for sleep and working out.
  • Spending time with my mom makes my heart happy. My mom is the centre of our universe and I revel in the time I have to learn from her, to cook with her, to be around her energy, to delve into her wisdom.  I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have time with her.

And as I finish this post, I can easily think of at least 10 more things that make me happy today.  That’s because gratitude begets gratitude.  And when we choose the path of gratitude, in spite of difficulties and challenges, the gratitude meter inevitably expands and there is even more to celebrate in life, starting with the blessing of being alive.


  • Rose , August 1, 2018

    Wow truly said Gratitude is the biggest gift.

  • Anonymous , August 1, 2018

    Reading your blogs is one of my favorite thing. You are so good and the way you express it. So truly, when you thing ab out it, every little thing because a blessing in your life and bad things gets forgotten.
    Talking about spending time with mom, I can just see how much you must be enjoying it and keep enjoying it. I wish my mom was still around and could enjoy those things.
    Love you so dearly

  • Jehan , July 31, 2018

    How lovely! Just yesterday I said to my husband that I am convinced that gratitude is the key to happiness, and this post is filled with both. Cultivating gratitude requires being grounded in the present, which is something most of us need to practice doing – but it’s so rewarding when you do. You start to realize how many blessings you truly have in your life, small and big <3

  • Ahmad D , July 31, 2018

    This is a great read and reading it did make me happy and grateful. Reminded me of the old saying that my Mom used to quote : “Feeling gratitude and not expressing is like wrapping a present and not giving it”.

  • Faiza Venzant , July 31, 2018

    Love this list, Munira. I feel the same way about spending time with my mom.

    Would love to hear about any Instant Pot successes you have had. I have one and have tried a few things but am running out of ideas.

  • Yasmin Rahemtullah , July 31, 2018

    Muni, as always you are the BEST!! I love the 10 things that make you happy. It’s so amazing how little things makes us happy & makes a lot of difference in our lives. FYI – reading your blog makes me happy.

    • Munira Premji , July 31, 2018

      Thanks Yasmin for your love and encouragement! Writing the blog makes me happy!

  • Anonymous , July 30, 2018

    This article made my day. Thank you. I’m so glad you are doing well. Mary Coulas

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