Updated: Apr 7, 2021
After over a year of the COVID-19 pandemic, I've learned a lot about #gratitude.
In many ways, I'm lucky. I survived having COVID-19 myself, and my family and friends are in good health, but that doesn't mean it has been easy. I'll forever grieve the loss of my senior year of college, time spent with family, celebrating birthdays, holidays, and the opportunity to travel over this past year. I'm allowed to feel sad, but there's still been plenty of joy in the last year.
It's the small things that make life worth living. Here are a few of my favorites:
Listening to Dua Lipa
I've always been a Dua Lipa fan, but her Future Nostalgia album made me a forever stan. As a result, I may or may not have spent an inordinate amount of money on a 2021 Dua Lipa calendar and necklace with the lyric "sugaboo" on it... However, my impulse purchases aside, there's no question that she deserves a place on this list. She's kept me dancing through the pandemic and brought me so much joy. Thanks, Dua.
Showering after a long day at the beach
I don't think I need to explain this one. We all know there's nothing quite like it.
Cat snuggles are THE BEST, especially when they're from your two cute kittens.
Getting dressed up and feeling beautiful
There haven't been many occasions to get dressed up during the pandemic... but who said you need an occasion? My roomies and I decided to have a COVID-safe costume party for fun because why the hell not!
Laughing so hard you cry with friends
Quite possibly my favorite thing in the world. There's nothing like laughing a deep, belly-shaking, snorting, crying, can't breathe laugh. It's the best medicine.
Feeling sore after a good workout
Feeling sore lets me know that I did something good for my physical and mental health. It's a little reward for growing stronger!
Closing your laptop after work
Ahhhhh, finally off the clock!
Waking up and opening the blinds to let the sun in
Riiiiiiiseeee n' shiiiiiiiinnnnneeeeee!!!
Watching (and making) TikToks
As a Zillennial, or person born in-between the definitive Millennial and Generation-Z groupings, I remember Vine very well. When TikTok came out, admittedly, I was a #hater. But the boredom of quarantine brought me down to Earth. Curiosity got the better of me and I fell down the rabbit hole of the #foryoupage. Hey! If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!
Hugging someone you love
I'm lucky to live with very affectionate roommates, but my godmother, Frazier, gives the BEST hugs. I miss those most of all.
Getting a thoughtful text
Hi!! How are you love?? - text from my sweet friend Lilly <3
Lilly and I wearing funky colored wigs for Halloween
Feeling the sunshine after being indoors
Going to bed and not having to set an alarm
Ironically, the more free time I have the more tired I am. The best part about the weekend is being able to sleep-in to my heart's desire.
Taking a walk with friends
Walking around Chapel Hill and UNC's campus with friends has been one of my favorite, socially-distanced activities. It's good exercise and a great way to unplug from our online world to truly connect with friends.
What has brought you joy during this time? I'm working on finding joy in the small things. Maybe some of my favorite things will become some of yours too!