The little things you do for you and no one else
These last few months have been filled with a lot of struggle. People have had to encounter new problems and have hit new lows. But mixed in with the bad, the constant negativity raging from the media, the never-ending updates from our national politics and pandemic news, there has been a lot of good, it just might seem too small to be noticeable.
The pandemic has, among other things, created an abundance of free time for people. Time that might have been spent doing schoolwork, at a job or with friends was reassigned.
People inevitably ended up with few plans and a lot of boredom. Now, if you’re like me, that might have translated into a weeks-long Netflix binge and a series of questionable hygiene choices, but after that I found myself drawn once again to past interests I had abandoned due to a lack of time.
Soon, I was painting again, my apartment went from having one plant to 76 (and counting) and I soon felt the need to purge all the unnecessary clutter from my life immediately. All of these things brought me enormous joy, but it was an odd feeling. I realized quickly that it felt so foreign because I wasn’t doing it for anyone else.
My paintings weren’t gifts or school assignments and I wasn’t taking care of plants so I could cultivate a plant-lady Instagram aesthetic, no one would ever know about these things I was doing and that felt good.
In the midst of the chaos from the outside world and the inevitable self-doubt that feels constant in a social-media world, I was staying home finding joy in things that I thought I would never have time for.
Maybe you got back into reading or video games or wood-working or juggling, whatever. Maybe it’s not an activity, but a person or a pet. It doesn’t matter. Think of that one thing you want to do, that one thing that exists for you and no one else. What is that one hobby, that one object that whenever you’re taking a break from real life you go to work on instead. These are the small joys that bring some balance and sanity into our life.
If you’re allowing yourself to get pulled back into the school-work-life cycle, take a moment and think about what it is that brings you joy. Perhaps you are still allowing yourself to take part in that joy each day, but if you’re not, reevaluate now.
Everyone needs a small joy, not just to keep us sensible but to keep us whole. We aren’t ourselves while denying true happiness for the necessity of everyday life. So go write that poem or make that candle, do something worthwhile or something useless, whatever it is that exists only for you: find it, keep it dear and don’t forget it.