I struggled and struggled to come up with a topic for today’s blog, but everywhere I turned seemed disingenuous. I felt like I was grasping for straws, trying to come up with something “big” and “worthy” that would resonate with people, some problem with which I was struggling that could inspire others who were doing the same.
But why does it always have to be a problem?
We are bombarded every single day with problems. The news seems like a never-ending spiral of sadness and frustration and sometimes it seems difficult or even pointless to get out of bed at all. Our country, our world, is suffering from a terrible case of depression and it seems we are constantly being told that it’s just going to get worse before it gets better.
So today, I don’t want to talk about an issue that I’m having. Don’t get me wrong, I have several that I could wax poetical about, I’m sure. But today, let’s talk about small victories that have gotten me through the stay-at-home order.
- I successfully managed to cultivate a sourdough starter. Her name is Fiona, and she is very, very active and was very very difficult to create. I really thought I killed her in the beginning, but she’s very much alive these days. She helps me kill time in my apartment by allowing me to make giant, crusty loaves of sourdough bread and pizza dough. We made bagels once, but that was a whole three-day intensive ordeal that I probably won’t repeat again because yikes. I like to gift small parts of her to my friends and relatives, so they too can have a needy yeast culture sitting in their fridge with which to play.
- I learned how to play the ukulele. I am by NO means excellent, or even great, but I am certainly better than when I started. Growing up, I never played a string instrument (played flute for five years though), so teaching my fingers to manipulate the strings was nothing short of very frustrating. Sometimes I wanted to smash my ukulele against the wall because I couldn’t get my fingers to do what I wanted them to do. I refrained from doing so. Perhaps that is the small victory in this story.
- I successfully made it through the entire Gilmore Girls series from start to finish for probably the third or fourth time. This is quite a feat, as the seven-season series has about 22 episodes per season. That’s 154 episodes. Go me.
- My partner and I finally painted our bathroom, something we have been talking about since we moved in in January. It has now officially made the transition from 1970s pink to a cool light blue. Every time I walk in now, I breathe a sigh of relief—who knew that a simple paint change could make such a difference? (a lot of people, and also now me)
- I’m finally getting used to being inside and sitting more often. I’m a very active, anxious individual who feels caged if I spend too much time sitting it my apartment or sitting indoors in general. In the beginning of quarantine, I spent my time pacing and running through cycles of recurring anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still happening. But significantly less. I can spend like an hour sitting on the couch without losing my mind, which is a huge improvement.
- I’ve had zoom dates and phone calls with a lot of friends and reconnected with people I haven’t spoken to in ages, which is really fun.
- I started volunteering walking dogs at the local shelter/dog store near us (the dog store houses two shelter pups at all times). This past week, I walked a four-month-old black mastiff mix named Titan. He was ADORABLE and so good on the leash, until he decided to finally poop in the middle of a crosswalk with cars waiting. Sorry, drivers. Gonna have to wait this one out.
I think sometimes there is so much negativity and distress in the world that our little “victories” seem dwarfed, but it is important to not lose sight of those good things going on in your life, no matter how seemingly insignificant. My advice? Make a list of your recent little victories. You might be surprised at what you come up with—I had completely forgotten at least half of these things until writing this post today. But it’s a nice reminder that things are not all bad—it’s like a little breath of fresh air in a stale room. Small, but so so important.
Kristy Cloetingh is a Philadelphia native who is currently trying to figure out her place in the world. Her passions include reading, singing, dancing, nature, yoga, chicken fingers, and puppies. An anorexia survivor and mental health warrior, Kristy has made it her life’s mission to remind every single person that their bodies and minds are worthy of unconditional love and respect, regardless of size, shape, or whatever “normal” is.