How to Find Joy in Your Present During COVID

Monday marked the 1-year anniversary of COVID-19. When we first learned about the coronavirus, nobody could anticipate the detrimental effects it would have globally. But despite the chaos, we can find joy in our lives.

Today I am sharing tips about how to enjoy at least some elements of the present when you’re hitting a pandemic wall.

Photo by Meru Bi on

Appreciate the Extra Time

Being laid off amid the pandemic was one of the best things that ever happened to me. As I reflected on my career options, I realized I needed something more fulfilling than an excellent compensation plan. I needed a career that allowed me to build meaningful relationships, cultivate a sense of community where people feel welcomed by using empathy and creative writing skills and that offered a flexible schedule.

Whether you start a new business, start a project, rediscover a passion, or make a career transition, do it! Conduct research, contact people who can help you, make a plan and begin. One of the most precious things the past year has granted us is ample time to be intentional about what we do next.

Photo by Daniel Torobekov on

Take Risks

I could have spent $500+ on a semester-long course to earn a certification within an industry I’m barely interested in, secure a job in that field and then move.

But that’s not how it worked out.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

In early September, I realized my old apartment had served its purpose and that it was time to move on. Three weeks later, I signed a 12-month lease and moved into a new apartment complex with no regrets.

Taking a leap is scary as fuck because there’s no control over what’s next, no systematic approach, and no comfort in familiarity. It’s based on complete faith in knowing things will work out.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Cherish the Simple Things

Music plays a key role in your mental health and can improve your mood. Blasting Disclosure’s Nocturnal in my car or jamming to Marcos Valle’s Nao Tem Nada Nao while running errands on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon makes the day more joyous, less monotonous and less lonesome.

Photo by Gabby K on

Maintain Your Friendships

Because I have been social distancing since March 2020, I’ve become accustomed to being alone. Consequently, I forget I have friends I can call. If you’re experiencing this, I recommend reaching out to a friend and propose weekly or monthly calls to stay connected.

For example, my old college friend and I hadn’t called each other since August but agreed to do monthly FaceTime calls instead of exclusively communicating via text conversations.

Ultimately, we have 100% of the power to cultivate joy into our lives.

What are you grateful for? How are you finding joy? Let me know in the comments below.


Lately, I’ve been frustrated with some of my relatives. Though I have good reasons to be, I reminded myself to be grateful for them being on this earth.

Last week, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash. Many people have made tributes, sent their condolences to the family and expressed their grief.

Kobe was, he is an era. During high school, I enjoyed watching him play in the Finals. I admired his drive, consistency, consecutive wins and dedication to the craft.

When you think about the Los Angeles Lakers, you think about Kobe Bryant. When you think about basketball, you think about Kobe. Kobe Bryant is the Los Angeles Lakers and always will be.

Despite his multiple championships, he was young. He hadn’t been retired for a full two years. He was healthy.

What hits me harder is his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. She was so young.

I keep thinking about their family. I couldn’t imagine what they are going through right now. The idea of losing your family in one swoop is unfathomable.

It would feel like a huge hole missing that could never be filled. I feel for Vanessa Bryant in losing both her husband and her child.

I feel for their eldest daughter. As the eldest daughter of my family, I couldn’t imagine losing my sister. My sister is my heart. To lose her would feel like losing half of myself.

Everything would feel painful. Memories. Photos. Birthdays. Holidays. Dinners.

I also feel for the youngest two daughters. They’ll grow up not remembering their father and sister. My prayer is that the family heals together and remains a strong unit.

I believe they will heal. I also believe one of the Bryant daughters will continue Kobe and Gianna’s legacy.

Things tend to work out that way in life.

No matter how big or small the issues are with your loved ones, appreciate them for their goodness and their flaws if you can.

Ask yourself: Would the world be better without them?

What I’m Learning About Gratitude

Yesterday, I had dinner with my friend Tracy. Tracy and I first met at The Gathering Spot a few days after I left my job in March.

We are both screenwriters who left toxic work environments.

Six months later, Tracy is a part-time environmental research professor and is developing her own storyboard illustration business. I am pursuing a career in commercial real estate, start my real estate associate program next week, growing my own blog and taking online SEO courses to develop into a side hustle.

During our dinner of lobster rolls, lemon pepper cauliflower, Southern-style deviled eggs and jerk fries, Tracy said something that caught me off guard.

”Someone is praying for what you have.” 

It caught me off guard for several reasons. During the past two weeks, I have been struggling with depression due to unemployment, wondering how I will pay my bills next month, and wondering how I will afford rent next month. I had felt trapped, angry, and helpless. Though I have support from a relative and a few friends, I have felt alone.

Two, Tracy’s statement made me rewind to six months ago. I was leaving my job. I was relieved all the back-and-forth client communication and 2-4 hour daily drives were ending. I had attended my first creative networking event in several months. Typically, I attended networking events for lead generation. This time, it was solely for leisure and I enjoyed myself.

Three, I needed time to figure out what was next. For once, I didn’t know what I wanted. During this 6-month unemployment period, I didn’t realize what career path I wanted until July.

“There are people working 80-hour weeks that make good money but don’t have time to spend with their family or go on vacation,” Tracy said.

I immediately thought about my previous daily routine.  I woke up at 5 am, left my apartment at 6:30 am, got to work at 8:30 am, got home at 5-6:30 pm and did it all over again. I made good money, helped my parents with their bills, had money leftover for myself and built up my savings. I was satisfied financially but was miserable running the hamster wheel.

I didn’t have time to hang out with friends. Due to the long drives, I was too exhausted to go anywhere so I stayed home.  It was then I realized money does not outweigh happiness.

Though what we go through can feel like a tsunami of bullshit, we need to be grateful for what we do have. I am grateful for the time I’ve been given. I am grateful to have a roof over my head. I am grateful to live in a safe neighborhood conveniently 30 minutes away from the city. I’m grateful I have my health and my family. I’m grateful I can afford healthy food and can pay my car note. I’m grateful I’m pursuing my passion as a writer. I’m grateful my long-term goal of being a real estate property owner is coming sooner now that I’m starting a program that teaches the ins and outs of property development, management and ownership.

Through the midst of it all, I have plenty to be grateful for.

And so do you.