I woke up this morning and my first thought was “I get to go to the store today.” I get to.
If it had been any other morning, I would have been annoyed and trying to get out of it only to cause a fight with my mom, but today, I’m excited. I just want to say this for all of us: we’re all waiting to get back to exactly how our lives used to be before quarantine, before coronavirus. Maybe we shouldn’t be trying to get back to normal, maybe we should be trying to be better. I am, at least.
The longer I’ve spent in my house with only my family, the more I appreciate the joy I experienced riding in a car with the windows down, laughing with my friends at something stupid in the hallway on the way to class and showing up to newspaper to crank out another story. These little things I take so much for granted impact my quality of life more than I’d ever realized. Now that I don’t have these experiences everyday, I want to make sure that when I do again I appreciate them and make them last. I’ve learned that those little moments are what make up a lifetime, and I should demonstrate how much they mean to me as often as possible.
With that in mind, I decided to start focusing on the little things I do when I interact with my family and my friends and how I treat the people and situations in my life. It’s easy to lash out at your family when you’ve been stuck together in one living space for several weeks, which I definitely have. But as the days go by, I’ve realized having my family with me might be the one thing that’s keeping me sane right now, and I need to let them know that.
So far I’ve focused on the small things I can do, like avoiding causing fights, offering to help out if someone needs it, and spending a lot of time bonding with my little brother over “Grey’s Anatomy.” My best friend and I have also started writing each other letters. We write a note, play each other back in our on-going tic-tac-toe game, include some encouraging quotes, and add a list of songs we’ve been obsessed with lately. It feels good to share something small like that and to run up the hill to check the mail everyday. It feels good to feel excited in a time when everything is scary and turning the news on means feeling that fear and sadness.
I don’t mean you should avoid knowledge about what’s happening. We should all stay informed, but don’t get sucked into heartbreaking stories and news that is increasingly hard to watch. Do a news check once or twice a day and then dive into the things you love and begin to notice the little things. I’ve found this helps me from becoming buried under all that fear and frustration.