Friday, September 18, 2020

2020...a Look on the Positive Side

At the start of this year, we dreamed of a fresh beginning for a new decade. People joked about a Roaring Twenties repeat and moving forward with good intentions. We were going to grab onto life and march decidedly into the coming year. In January, I left on my first international flight alone to study abroad for a semester in Edinburgh, Scotland. Two and a half months later, the pandemic was hitting us in full swing and I got called home to the USA. All of my upcoming travel and study plans were tossed out of the window. Thus began months of ongoing quarantine. I suppose this year did not go as intended, huh?I won't pretend to be an overly positive person. My glass is certainly not half full. But within the absolute train wreck this year has been, I wanted to highlight some good things that came out of it. 

pollution & environmental impacts dropped

Due to everyone being stuck inside, humanity's negative effects on the environment dipped. Carbon emissions and air pollution decreased as people stayed home and businesses shut. Our suffering revealed the damage we were inflicting on our Earth and how large of an impact we really do have on our environments. Perhaps now we can all make a better effort to protecting our world. 

online community 

As in-person activities ceased, businesses and celebrities took to the internet to continuing sharing, selling, and cultivating communities. Famous chefs created at-home cooking videos, musical artists posted online concerts, and movies released digitally right to our screens at home. A favorite memory from this quarantine was walking down the empty Colonial Williamsburg on Saturday evenings with my family. We happened upon a colonial worker/actor that lived down in one of the historical homes and was live-streaming a folk-song concert in his garden. We paused to watch and listen as he performed. It was a small moment, but brought such peace and joy to such uncertain times. 

animal crossing: new horizons

Like everyone else, I had been anxiously awaiting the new Animal Crossing game release. The drop could not have come at a better time. Just as the virus forced everyone inside, a calming game where you could explore, garden, fish, and interact with villagers came to get us through it. Animal Crossing became a new trend with everyone posting their islands and their progress. The game, which has always been a personal favorite of mine, brought peace and happiness to all of its players when they desperately needed it. And yes, I am still avidly playing it nearly every single day. 

everyone learns how to bake 

Other than reading and writing, baking is one of my passions. I love making cakes, pastries, cookies, or anything under the sun. Being stuck inside at home gave people ample time to learn how to create delicious masterpieces. I have loved seeing everyone's creations online as they, too, experience the joy of baking (and the joy of eating desserts). 

embracing the slow life

Listen, I am an introvert and savor my precious alone time. As much as I adore traveling and trying new things, I can be quite the homebody. Spending a day in my bed reading and watching Netflix sounds like a dream come true. I am a perfectionist with many hobbies, a job, and a chemistry degree to work on. I don't tend to have much time to relax and take it slow. So in a way, this quarantine has forced me and many others to appreciate the slow life. The pressure of productivity and jumping from one project to the next lessened or disappeared. When is the last time you paused? Smelled the roses? Also, I certainly don't mind requirements that people must stay away from me at all time. 

The pandemic has not been a blessing. COVID has caused the death and pain of many, as well as exacerbated outstanding political and humanitarian issues. I am not saying that this virus has been a totally positive experience and I certainly wish it had never happened at all. My life, along with everyone else's, has been drastically altered for the time being. No "new normal" is in sight for the USA yet, either. But, I am attempting to be positive for once. In all unfortunate circumstances are some kernels of light and those are what will get us through the darkness. 

What is something good that has happened to you in quarantine?


  1. I really needed this post, Erin. I just came across a tweet of someone saying that the grief that all of our brains have had to endure since January is too much, and that made me kind of sad. I understand there has been a lot of grief. But there also has been some rainbows. I definitely agree on the baking. I got really into The Great British Bake Off so I’ve been trying out a bunch of different recipes! It’s been nice to learn something new. Yes we are allowed bad days. But we also have to remember that we are allowed good ones too.

    1. That is so amazing to hear, Emily. I am so glad you appreciated this post so much. This pandemic has been difficult for everyone and I have to keep reminding myself to focus on the good things, which is not easy when I am not exactly an overly-positive person. I LOVE The Great British Baking Show and I cannot wait for the new season to start.

  2. I love this post, Erin! The pandemic is certainly not a happy experience for everyone, so many plans and lives are ruined throughout the period. But looking at the positive sides are also necessary or else we'll be stuck in the cycle of sadness, anger, and bitterness. For me, the pandemic has given me more time with my family as well to slow down and appreciate the present :)

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

    1. Thank you, Tasya! I am so happy you enjoyed it. 2020 has been so difficult for everyone and I feel like it is easy to get bogged down by all of the negative when there is so much of it. I have also treasured my increased family time. That's another positive!