UVA Today caught up with Davydova via email to learn more about her first book and for a few tips on finding joy.
Q. The book is a collection of essays you have written on separate topics that all pertain to joy?
A. That’s exactly right. My goal was to interact with the world, whether within the comfort of my home or while venturing into known and unknown lands, and practice the art of noticing. Any delightful thing or moment that caught my eye got memorialized in my digital notebook to then be woven into a cohesive narrative later on. The weave of that narrative pulls from memories, experiences, worldly phenomena and sometimes, a sprinkle of imagination.
Q. What do you think distinguishes your book from the so many other books that are out there about finding happiness?
A. Mine is not a prescriptive nor didactic book – I’m not here to tell readers the five easy steps to find everlasting joy. “Joy in Plain Sight” is just one person’s take on how to make sense of the confusing, noisy world, weaving in my own memories and sometimes research – and perhaps that’s the beauty of it.
Humans are intrinsically drawn to and bound together by the stories they tell, and mine is just a minuscule thread into the tapestry of our existence. Maybe it will connect with some readers’ own threads and inspire them to find their own joy in plain sight and spread it to others. That is my ultimate wish with this book.
Q. In that vein, what has worked for you personally? Do you have any tips that might help people?
A. Identify WHY you want to have more joy: Any successful, substantial change is ideally rooted in something bigger and meaningful to the individual person. I personally wanted to focus on finding the joy in everyday moments because I’d noticed (for years) the deleterious effects of not being able to sit still, of being driven by productivity and accomplishing one thing after another. I wanted to be more at peace with the current moment, to be so passionately in the now, that I needed something simple that I could do every day, anywhere.
Your why could be to also feel more present, or to have one more tool in your arsenal against stress, or even to try an experiment for only a month to see how your outlook may change. This could look like writing about a current pain point, and where joy could show up more fully.