This year, it has been very difficult for me, as well as most of you I’m sure, to feel joy and be optimistic about the future. To cope, I’ve been keeping a list of people and things that have helped me get through it. I find that I “forget” the positive aspects of my life when I get caught up in my feelings and can only think of negative things. Even though it seems like such a simple, useless task, reading a list of positive things to remind myself of what I have to be thankful for grounds me, puts me back into the context of my whole life rather than my current circumstance, and makes my outlook more neutral, if not positive.
I make lists of nearly all of my thoughts (my notes app probably takes up more storage space than my photos app does at this point…being stuck at home has left lots of time for thinking) and they’re usually just for me, but I figured I would turn a few items on my gratitude list into a kind of thank-you letter:
Thank you, mom and dad, for welcoming me back home with open arms. I know you only planned on housing me for 17 and a half years plus for a couple of months once or twice a year for the next four years. You’ve been very patient for parents that had to unexpectedly reverse their empty nester status and accommodate a 19-20 year old;
Thank you, fall semester roommates, for giving me some sense of normalcy for a few months, for helping create some of the best college memories I’ll ever have, and for giving me COVID-19 (oops) but getting through it with me;
Thank you, friends at Emory, for making me feel a lot less lonely, for loving and caring about me even though we’re hundreds of miles apart, and for giving me something to be excited about when I return to campus in the Fall;
Thank you, hometown friends, for being practically the only human beings other than my parents and short-term roommates that I have been able to spend time with in person, and for staying my close friends after all these years even though we attend different colleges;
Thank you, professors, for being understanding during this pandemic, for lightening the workload as much as you can, and for doing your best to engage a silent, faceless class even though it must be so disheartening;
Thank you, Tik Tok, Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify, for being my temporary escape and my boredom cure;
Thank you, CeraVe, for (mostly) clearing up my skin and making me feel prettier;
I know this thank-you letter is a little simplistic, cheesy, and sounds way too similar to a LinkedIn job acceptance post. I’m only sharing it here in the hopes of inspiring those of you who read this to make your own thank-you letter or gratitude list. Add to it when you think of something else that makes you happy and look back on it anytime you find yourself at a low point. I think you’d be surprised how much this silly little exercise can do for your mood, even if only temporarily. I also think it’s important to verbalize your gratitude to the people in your life, even if you think that gratitude is implicit. People like to be reminded that they’re appreciated.