Finding Joy in the Little Things

This is part 1 of my 2020 annual review

I want to live my life so that I maximize the amount of first hand stories I can tell. By that measure, this year has been relatively weak. At the beginning of the year, I had plans to travel internationally during my sabbatical until the global pandemic interrupted those plans. Instead, I stayed at my family home all year. Though I enjoyed living with my family this year and I made many memories with them, living in the same house, seeing the same people, and eating the same food gets mundane quite quickly.

At first I felt restless, earlier in 2020, I wrote about coming of age in the past decade, a period of continuous growth and optimism, and how no significant world events that had a direct negative impact on me”. Right after writing that piece, disaster struck, and the entire world shut down. Many aspects of my life were put in limbo. Romantic relationships, career prospects, travel, health and fitness, etc.

This is where my gratefulness practice saved me. After nearly three years of practicing gratefulness it wasn’t until this year that I truly experienced the benefits. It’s easy to be grateful when you’re winning, when you land that dream internship, when you get the grade you want, or when traveling someplace new.

But where gratefulness matters is when you hit rock bottom. To find things your grateful for even on your worst days is like lighting a candle in the darkness. Gratefulness is how I learned to love my new lifestyle. Yes, things may have not gone as planned, I may not be able to travel, I may not be able to see my friends in person or I might’ve not gotten the internship I wanted yet I’ve still got so much to be thankful for.

Most experiences are not objectively bad or good, rather it’s how we perceive them that make it that way. Gratefulness trains us to view the glass as half full rather than half empty. And building a gratefulness habit is insurance for when the bad days inevitably come.

January 2, 2021

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