Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
January 24, 2021

Finding happiness in the little lollipop moments

By GABI SWISTARA | October 24, 2019



Swistara keeps a journal of the little moments that make an impact on her.

I feel as though I was happier in high school than I am now, and there are probably a number of reasons for that. One I’d like to discuss, though, is the fact that I’ve stopped giving credit to my lollipop moments. 

Sometimes we take the little things for granted; it’s tough to take note of them when we’re so busy. Drew Dudley’s idea of a lollipop moment is that people can have major positive impacts on your life that change the course of it and not even know that they did so.

For Drew Dudley, he gave a girl in line on her first day of college a lollipop when she was just about to give up on college. 

By giving her the lollipop — and prompting the guy in front of her to tease that it was
day one and she was already “taking candy from a stranger” — he made her feel like she was right where she needed to be. 

She stayed in line, she stayed in college and many years later she married the man in front of her in line.

This was her lollipop moment, and it is a memory that Drew Dudley doesn’t even remember. We have the incredible ability to change people’s lives, but so often, we never know that we had an impact. 

People think they have to change the world to make a difference. But taking credit for everyday accomplishments should be a bigger part of our lives. One way to do this is by telling people about your lollipop moments, reaching out to let people know they had a major positive influence on your life. 

Another way is to keep track of your lollipop moments. Something I did in high school was keep a running notes page of quotes from people in my life. Some of them are from best friends of mine, and some are from strangers who — despite having written their names down — I don’t even know who anymore. I think of this running tab as a list of my own lollipop moments. 

I think it has helped me to stay more positive throughout my life. Reading this list makes me feel supported by people and reminds me of my connection to the world around me. As such — and as an example if you want to start your own running tab of quotes or wonderful moments — I want to reflect on some of my own memories. These are things that people have said to me that still make me smile. These are also things that people have said to me which have helped counter my own insecurities. 

Here are some memories that always make me laugh. 

Me: “I have so many issues that I’m juggling. Thank you for juggling with me.” Friend: “I’m always happy to grab some balls.”; “If I had to take the SAT again, I’d need a calculator on the reading section”; “Yeah he’s still there. No, wait, that’s a chair. Same thing, you could sit on [our TA].”; “I thought about seducing [redacted bully’s name] just so I can punch him in the dick when he doesn't expect it."; “I may not have a brain but I have an idea”; (when I had a bruise from jiu jitsu) “I don’t even want to know what happened to that guy.” 

Here are some memories that always make me smile, or help me deal with insecurities. 

“Maybe it’s because you’re ungodly beautiful”; “Selfish gets a bad rep. If you’re being selfish to take care of yourself, that’s kind to the world”; "I feel like I'm not sophisticated enough for your jokes"; "I don't know why he wouldn't wanna get to know you"; "Well then he's a crazy person, if he broke up with you! He didn't know what he had”; Me: “I have an underbutt,” Friend: "what you just showed me was adorable. It's like a butt dimple"; “I feel so loved by you.” 

Most of the people I just listed were not a huge part of my life. In some ways, having strangers notice you without the context of more interactions with you, actually reinforces the power of their words. 

Even strangers can see strength in you. And I think it’s important to take note of when they do.

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