Last week, I received what can only be described as a chain email. I was—to describe my reaction in a single word—elated. Unlike the chain emails of the early-aughts that threatened murder and promised (in various shades of neon Comic Sans text) that Bloody Mary would crawl out of the nearest mirror if you didn’t forward them to 25 people by 11:11 p.m., this email was a polite invitation to share your favorite poem. It was ghost-free and, to a sad sappy sucker like myself, completely delightful.
I’m not the only person who’s been on the receiving end of a chain email in the year 2020. When I mentioned this phenomenon in a meeting last week, Leandra said she’d received no fewer than three chain emails that previous weekend. I know they’re not for everyone. But they are for me: a tiny reminder of how much we all truly value human connection.
After the poetry exchange, in which I shared a poem that was left in the comment section of this story, I was invited to a recipe swap. This morning, I forwarded my favorite chickpea pasta recipe to somebody I don’t know, then forwarded the email on to friends who I know would be excited to do it too. The whole process takes all of five minutes and in the days that follow, you get to see your inbox fill up with emails that have nothing to do with coronavirus, shipping delays, or like, a flight refund status.
Instead of starting a new email chain from scratch (there are so many already out there and tbh, the whole put one person’s name in this slot, and another in this one, then cc person #1, but bcc person #2 can get confusing), I say we start our own in the comments section. Rather than limit ourselves to one thing—like a poem or recipe—I’m requesting we all share the one surprising thing that brought us joy — made us feel good — this month. It could be a song, an Instagram account, a habit, a snack—anything! Leave your One Good Thing below (with links, when possible), ask your friends do the same, and we’ll meet you down below. Here, here to things-that-are-life-affirming!
Graphics by Lorenza Centi.