I miss being able to hug my family members. I miss smiling at familiar, unmasked faces on my college campus. I miss screaming at concerts until I have no voice left, as I move in sync with sweaty bodies around me. I miss cozy sleepovers filled with hysterical laughing fits. I miss being able to spontaneously leave my house, without needing a real reason why. I miss sitting in classrooms with my peers. I miss seeing others in person. I miss browsing at the grocery store without worrying about bringing a deadly sickness back home to my loved ones. I miss not having to live in constant fear about the state of the world around us.

It’s no secret, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Schools and work places have gone online, people are confined to their homes, and everyone seems to be on edge. Though, if you read my last blog post, you’ll know I am not one to sulk in sadness. Rather, I try to look on the bright side of every (and I mean every) situation. Do I regret all of the little things that I had taken for granted in the months leading up to this crisis? Absolutely. Have I been continuously thinking about what life would be like right now if we weren’t in quarantine? Without a doubt. Have I let these thoughts consume my mind in its entirety? Some days it feels this way.

However, if I have learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that no aspect of life should taken for granted. (Not once did I expect to yearn for the opportunity to put away my groceries without having to wipe them down first.) Thus, I’ve been trying to be more appreciative of all of the little things around me.

And, to push this one step further and counter these feelings of despair, I have given myself a task.

Every night, as I’m winding down before bed, I pull out my journal and write down something I’m thankful for. And yes, I mean things that I’m thankful for right now. My goal is to get my list to 100, but so far I’m only at 45– even after keeping up with this for a couple of weeks now. Though this is an excruciatingly optimistic mindset that I’m trying to mold my brain into, it genuinely does make me feel slightly better about the situation at hand. The way of the world is much less than ideal right now, but I still see no harm in searching for the teeniest, tiniest silver linings.

That, my friend, is your challenge as well. I urge you to try to write out one, two, even ten things that you are grateful to have or experience in your life right now. Trust me, if I can get to 45, you can get to three.

As a little inspiration, and for permanent personal documentation, I’ve decided to copy 20 things off of my list that I am thankful for in this moment in time.

So, amidst all of the darkness in my own bubble and the world around it, I am so very grateful for:

  1. Having a safe home to stay in.
  2. Being able to afford groceries.
  3. Getting to spend an ample amount of uninterrupted time with my dad.
  4. Having a strong body that lets me move and stretch everyday.
  5. Being back in my hometown environment.
  6. Having a few unread books laying around the house to keep me busy.
  7. Random bursts of motivation.
  8. Having my own car to take on rides-to-nowhere (just to get out of the house).
  9. Being able to still continue my education remotely.
  10. Receiving “check-in” texts from loved ones.
  11. Getting to actually witness the trees and flowers in all of their blooming stages.
  12. Having a deck to sit on and a backyard to garden in.
  13. Writing & journaling.
  14. Knowing that I am not going through any of this alone.
  15. Getting to have FaceTimes and phone calls with friends that I normally do not see as often.
  16. Having the ability to listen to my favorite music and dance around my bedroom.
  17. My constantly growing independence.
  18. Getting the extra time to focus more on myself.
  19. Being able to try new recipes and cook my favorite dishes.
  20. Recognizing the fact that I hold such a positive mindset, even in times like these.

So, there you have it, folks. This here is a little less than half of my big ole’ list of things that I am thankful for. Doing this has allowed me to take the time to acknowledge things that we typically brush over– like noticing the flowers in bloom. So, like I said, pay attention to those daily doings that you may normally take for granted. Life is so incredibly different now than it was just a mere few months ago, and who knows what the future has to hold? In turn, I encourage you to take this time to reflect. Recognize those things that you’re grateful to have, no matter how minor they may be– you just never know when you’ll get to experience them again.