While I may have landed in the quiet airport of Harrisburg, Pa., content and relieved to be home, I cannot help but feel a sense of despair wrap around me at the milieu I happen to be in. The lack of routine is driving me into a slow internal death. The constant presence at home is bringing my mind into a frenzy. Every day I take a walk that I practically run outside to take. I find myself walking alongside a river where the water is surely traveling much farther and wider than I am. It seems to be a dreary reality that I am encapsulated in, and I find myself without an exit.

It is for this precise reason that it is so incredibly important to find little pockets of happiness where you can. For me, sometimes it is sitting on a rock that lies alongside the bank of the river I tend to frequent on my daily walk. Sometimes it is notebook full of sketches that I filled with color. Mostly it is the tens of thousands of sugar delicacies I will bake with my brother, an experience that bonds us and results in a rush of glucose. And other times, it may just be reading a book in silence next to my brother as he plays a game. It is these small things that have managed to keep my sanity intact. And it is these small things I suggest you seek to keep your own mind safe. 

It is important to remember through all of this that you cannot be so harsh on yourself. These times are trying, and you cannot expect to be your normal and fully-functioning self. It is okay to find yourself in the kitchen more often than not. It is okay to experience waves of sadness in the midst of this pandemic. It is okay to want to run outside, fight that urge, and become suddenly withdrawn. It is okay. I myself have to keep reminding myself of that. I have to remind myself that despite everything, the uncertainty of our world, the insecurity of finances, the distance from friends and family, that I will be okay. Time heals everything, I tell myself, and so I will make it through this trying time.

Happiness can seem unattainable right now. After all, it is the last thing one can conceive right now. But finding little pockets of happiness is important. This is a time where you are alone with yourself, and being alone can prompt creativity. Seek inward and dig out harsh truths, confront them, heal from them; you have all the time in the world. Reach out to family and friends. We live in the 21st century where communication is at our fingertips. Of course, nothing will be the same as in-person communication, but reach out all the same. The truest bonds will reveal themselves now, and the flimsy ones can grow even stronger. 

Try to find happiness in the material too. Take a walk, remind yourself of the earth's beauty that our diurnal, fast-paced life never reminds us of. Paint to heal, not to craft. Listen to a new, perky album and internalize the words. Sketch a new dream. Bake a sugary delicacy into existence. Remind yourself that although today may be tough, tomorrow will be better. 

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