Unconditional Smiles

Sometimes, the best thing about a day is seeing a smile on someone else’s face…

I went for a jog this morning. It has been a long seven days preparing for the play I’m acting in (for the first time in my life) that starts in less than a week, and I wanted to clear my head of all its nervous thoughts and my stomach of the butterflies ravaging my insides.

I needed an energy boost, so I set Spotify to my “90’s Rap” playlist and let 2Pac and Biggie take control as I set about navigating the road craters and construction barriers around Tremont (Cleveland). In the first ten minutes, I passed several runners—some on my side of the street and some on the other—and although we came in different makes and models, shapes and sizes, gear and form, we all shared scowls that growled at the morning air.

It seems as if they were as enthused about their morning jaunt as I was.

After a few more minutes, another runner and I approached each other on one of the area’s many cracked sidewalks. At about 10 yards apart, I held my left hand in the air poised in the position to give a high five. The running man’s eyes cut me a curious look for a moment before they softened. He flashed a smile, slapped my hand with his, and we both continued on our way.

Two songs later, I encountered a different runner while crossing through Lincoln Park. This time, I thrust my right hand into the air. Once again, she offered me a cautious, momentary glance before embracing my odd behavior with a wide, beaming smile and high five.

I collected my breath on a short walk through my neighborhood after finishing the run. In addition to the terror that haunted me over looming performances, I realized that recently I’d felt mentally withdrawn and unable to glean the energy I normally do from others. Thinking about the two runners’ smiling faces snapped me to life.

Troubles and worries come and go, they’re like seasons that pass and return later just a little different from before. Often it’s the joy of seeing a smile – a wonderful, surprised, unconditional smile – that reminds us how much fun life can be if we allow it.

The challenge we have every day is not only to find something that makes us smile, but also to do something that lets us share in a smile with someone else.



  1. Is twisting the heads off of weakened squirrels an okay way of dispersing the ‘blues’

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. Yes, but only if you do so while swirling a pour of cabernet in your non twisting hand…Life’s rules, I didnt make them.

  2. What a great post Kelly. You extract the smiles of others because you’re open to them. I like to think of a smile as an indication that somebody is resonating at the same frequency as you at any given moment in time. Your energy is always positive and that will naturally come to light during your acting debut. Good luck!!!

    1. Thanks, Rob. Appreciate the comment and agree with you. Being open to others positive energy is a recipe for absorbing their positive vibes yourself… Looking forward to the debut – although it does terrify me!

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