Even in the darkness, there was some light
It has been the worst year of our lives — at least, for most of us.
If a year ago someone told you how life would look like in 2020, you would think it was the plot of some bad-taste science fiction movie.
But the movie turned into reality. And in a year where so many bad things happened in the world, it was easy to lose track of hope and happiness. It was hard to find reasons for joy.
But even in an upside-down world, you still have plenty of reasons to be grateful. Some have always been there, others came along with the pandemic.
As the year-end approaches, let’s reflect on the good and carry it with us in 2021.
1. The air in our lungs
Especially when a respiratory disease is taking over the world, the simple ability to take a deep breath in should fill us up with joy.
2. The opportunity to find some forced perspective
It doesn’t always feel good, but it serves us well. We will come out of this year with a greater appreciation for the little things. Let’s try and keep it.
3. Walks outside
Many of us (re)discovered the beauty of a walk through the city we live in, or in nature nearby. In a year where the safest option to meet up with friends was to do it outside, walks ended up being the new evening in the pub. And aren’t they beautiful?
Food is a source of pleasure anytime. But in a year where so many other basic pleasures got cut off from our lives, food is one of the few that remained unchanged. Amen!
5. The Internet
Pandemics have happened before. But we are the first generation to have the privilege to go through one making use of the Internet. All those video chats to connect with friends, the countless hours entertaining ourselves on Youtube, the new skills we picked up with online courses… none of that would have been possible just a couple of decades ago.
6. Restored connections
Not everyone rekindled the connection with their 7th-grade sweetheart. But some people did, and if it took a pandemic to find meaningful connections, then let’s be grateful that, at last, those are finally happening.
7. Family time
For many of us, the quarantine meant spending days and days at home with our families. Let’s be honest, it was definitely not all roses. But it was a tremendous opportunity to spend time with our loved ones, which we don’t always do when life is “normal”. And in the end, nothing matters more than family.
8. A nice hot shower
Try a cold shower or even going a couple of days without a shower at all. It’s the easiest way to find appreciation for one of the simplest, most effective pleasures life constantly gives us.
9. Staying home
In a year where staying at home means protecting your life, having a home where you can stay is a reason to be grateful for more than ever before.
10. First-time experiences
Life is a succession of experiences. A worldwide pandemic is something that almost none of us had ever experienced before. Weird as this situation has been, it is a first-time experience that will enrich us as human beings, as all meaningful experiences do.
11. Having a job
Sure, it’s painful to get up every morning and commute on a bus where you will potentially catch covid. It is also a nightmare to work from home with 2 young children screaming around. But those of us who were lucky enough to keep their jobs over this year have a major reason to be grateful. A job gives us a sense of purpose and belonging as well as some normal routine in a world where most things went upside down.
12. The weekend
One of my friends couldn’t understand my enthusiasm every Friday, as the weekend started. Sure, we had to stay at home most of the time. But the feeling of another accomplished work week with a reward of free time for 2 days in a row is exciting, with or without a pandemic.
Not everyone can be grateful for this, but those who can look at it as the most precious gift. Always, but especially in pandemic times.
They make us live in the moment when our minds are constantly worrying about the future. Say hi to the newest addition to our family, Bennie!
Or HBO, whatever. The possibility of binge-watching your favorite shows on the sofa under a blanket when the world is falling apart outside is something where many of us found comfort in the dark days.
Every day of 2020 or of any other year. Do I need to say anything else?
It gives color to our brightest moments and offers comfort in the darkest ones. It is something to be grateful for every year, and during our whole lives. Right?
18. The sun on our faces
It’s the simplest, purest of joys. It means we’re alive, and there is nothing more important than that to be grateful for.
19. Beautiful stories that happened during the quarantine
Through the gloomy days, occasional stories filled our hearts with joy. Like this 6-year-old having a social-distancing dance with her grandpa, the 93-year-old lady asking for more beer, or this teacher who went above and beyond to explain a math problem to his student.
20. Being alive
The whole world is shutting down because we don’t want to die. If you are reading this, you made it this far. It’s the best reason to celebrate!
After the darkness, comes the light. After 2020, we can only believe that next year will be better, happier.
But being happy is, mostly, a matter of attitude. It starts with appreciating what we have in the present moment, no matter how small those things seem. It is a combination of all the little things that make our lives one grand beautiful story.
Here’s to a grateful 2021!