Small pleasures during a pandemic

Today is my 20th day of quarantine in Madrid in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve only gone out four times since March 10. I live in a small apartment in the city center, my kitchen and my living room share the same space, I don’t have any sort of garden or backyard, I don’t have a terrace, a big balcony, or a wonderful view. But this is, nevertheless, my safe space. Even more now, when everything around us feels contaminated and dangerous. When not even our hands are to be trusted. This is a space I can keep clean, stocked, private, and safe.

Living in quarentine has forced me to reconnect with my small pleasures in a year in which I was thinking big, rather than small. I’ve been enjoying taking deep breaths, hearing people I love laughing, taking longer showers, sleeping in, running my fingers through my boyfriend’s hair, the scent of food, feeling the sun and fresh wind in my face, taking care of my plants, pictures of cute animals on the internet, hearing the birds sing, learning new things, and feeling bored.

I’ve definitely felt cabin fever and anxiety, the uncertainty triggers me, and things that were ok before the pandemic started, suddenly aren’t. But I’m choosing to not let those things control me. I’m trying to be aware of my feelings and to learn from my extremes, to be compassionate towards myself and others, to be patient and grounded, to accept this temporary new normal and make the most of it. And in the midst of all this, I’ve also experienced joy and sparkly experiences, and I’m holding tighter to those, rather than longing for bigger ones.

Small pleasures are only small until that’s all we’ve got. And these days they are starting to feel as big as they’ve ever felt. I dream with even smaller ones, rather than with the wonderful trips I had planned for the year. I can’t wait to be reunited with my dog. I long for the moment when I can walk barefoot through grass and sand again. Wearing sunglasses. Going on long walks. Hugging my friends. Drinking coffees in my favorite coffee shops and beers in street terraces under the sun.

Which small pleasures are you enjoying these days? Which small pleasures are you dreaming of?

Take a deep breath and think about it.

March 28, 2020