Everyone can benefit from something to look forward to. I feel strongly about this and wrote a post about the subject a few months ago (more here). In a follow up to this post, today I write about the things that I look forward to even during the lockdown. Especially when things are hard, little special things take on big significance.
A Cup of Coffee
Working at home means that every morning I can brew coffee in my favorite mug, lounge on the couch, and read a little before work. This hour of solitude is a bittersweet gift that is only made possible because my commute was eliminated as a result of the pandemic-related lockdowns. Coffee is a means to an end – I am tired; therefore, I drink coffee; I drink coffee and therefore I gain energy. For me, coffee is both a means and an end. I enjoy the act of drinking coffee just as much as I enjoy the boost of energy. Because I so enjoy my coffee ritual, I started to buy decaf coffee, so I may even indulge in a second coffee break during the day.
Before the pandemic, my morning walk was my commute to the office. This meant that I was uncompromising about leaving on time and I paced accordingly so I could arrive at my usual café at the exact time every single day. Even though this walk was routine, it inadvertently brought me (at least a little) stress, as I found myself speeding up or slowing down at different parts of my walk to hit my time marks near exactly (with great success!). Today, working from home means that I will never be late, as my walking path can be easily adjusted to suit the time allotted. This freedom has allowed me to take other liberties in my schedule. Before, I set my morning alarm to (I kid you not) exactly 5:47am to make sure every piece of my morning routine worked out according to plan. However, now, I set my alarm anywhere within a given 45-min range depending on how much I’d like to do in the morning. Although I have always enjoyed my morning walk, I relish in it even more now that I can be freer in my path, length, and pace.
Cooking has absolutely never been my thing. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, the fact that I would be eating at home every single day for every single meal was as daunting as the virus itself. When I was running around all of the time before the lockdown, the thought that I would literally need to work for food (i.e. cook), seemed like a chore that I could replace with take-out options and the ever-convenient grocery store salad bar. However, with fears about the virus raging within me, it seemed that making simple meals and saving money could be wiser than ordering takeout or going outside for a pick-up order. In addition to making simple meals like sandwiches, salads, and smoothies, now, once a week I spend about 90-minutes preparing a fancier meal and dessert. While in the past, I would have found this endeavor ridiculously domestic and unnecessarily time consuming, now, I look forward to preparing a meal to share while listening to an audiobook. Without the pandemic, I do not think my life would have slowed down to a point, where such a pursuit would have ever felt worthwhile to me.
All in all…
The pandemic has brought us all stress in unexpected ways. As someone who is restless by nature, being confined to my home is tough. In the beginning, working from my bed brought me so much mental disquiet that I could feel that my natural temperament bordered on low-grade anger. Gradual acceptance of the state of things and the ability to look forward to little pieces of goodness made it easier for my mind to enjoy the moments of happiness rather than fester in the bad ones.
Perhaps, when life picks up again, I will chug my first cup of coffee on my way to work. Maybe my morning walk will be taken at a feverish pace for fear of being late. Conceivably, future date nights will no longer center around a home-cooked meal.
The pandemic has shown us that life can change fast and seemingly all at once. The special thing about special things is that you give them their significance. If you choose to savor a moment and hold it close to your heart, then it shall forever remain beautiful. In this way, you have all the power to bring and hold onto the goodness in your life. Special things are always abundant and ever in your reach.
You create your collection of special things, Dear Reader, so when you find something to look forward to– cherish it.