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Finding joy in difficult times

I’ve been writing about finding more joy in the past, and on how my focus changed from trying to log one enjoyable thing per day to creating memories.

As I am writing this, in a pandemic that will stretch on for many more months to come, it is difficult not to be overwhelmed: by the job insecurity and associated possible financial setbacks, by the lack of childcare (although my mother-in-law has been a blessing for the past months!), by the online teaching and all the demands that come with it, by the antivaxxers and conspiracy theorists in my near and dear family who are willing to sacrifice our family bonds over weird stuff they read on the internet, and the general bleak outlook for the next few years.

It’s easy to write off 2020 as a bad year. But 2020 is also the year in which my daughter turned 3, and explores the world in her way, blissfully unaware of the major implications of this virus. When she smiles or is her goofy self, there is joy – plenty of it.

So I decided on trying my best to create memories for our family – even though the conditions are not ideal (far from…). There’s been more time on the ugly roof of our apartment building. There’s been lots of Disney princess movies. There was the big Frozen-themed cake for her 3rd birthday party. I’m training for a half marathon distance, which I can run on my treadmill or by circling our gated community. Even when we are very limited in what we can do, we can still work on creating memories.

On a practical level, I keep using my “Fun” lists, and I have a running list of creative ideas for things to do with my daughter. Even when the day is short because we are working and she spends the day at her grandma, I still try to have 1 special activity in the day for her to enjoy. Planning this activity does not take much time, but the extra enjoyment and special flavor it gives to our days makes that time slows down just a bit more.

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