I’m a creature of habit and I like control. Having a puppy that sheds so much white fur on dark brown laminate compels me to vacuum daily. Not only is my home cleaner, but completing that task almost gives a feeling of peace. I know this sounds a little wacky, but these days I’m finding it’s the little things that bring comfort in a time of such uncertainty where it often feels like everything is out of our control.

I try to focus on what I have as opposed to what I’ve lost. I have access to healthy food, water, shelter, hygiene, income, and human connection. Every morning when I go for my walk or run outside on the lakefront, I see all kinds of people moving, including the elderly. It helps me to see the gift of having a healthy, functioning body. I am inspired by the scenic beauty of Lincoln Park and Lake Michigan. I can’t help but be joyful about summertime in Chicago, despite how traumatic this year has been on nearly every front.

It’s in the small microcosm of my everyday life that I find ways to stay positive and maintain perspective. Yes, a clean apartment, neighborhood walks, nice weather, snuggles with my dog, cooking meals, and calls with my parents might seem mundane, but in actuality, it’s all I need to thrive. This year has allowed me to learn how to cope; boiling it down to basics. Finding satisfaction in small accomplishments. Focusing on access to essential needs. Perhaps this mentality of keeping it simple can help you, too.

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