My birthday is coming up soon, then my son’s, and, later, a special one for my wife.
I would love to arrange the usual kids’ birthday parties, with children and joy spreading everywhere, together with food and fruit juice. I would love to bring my wife to visit a new place on her special day. I am having all these dreams within the four walls of my apartment that I can barely exit due to the pandemic.
When I am thrilled to go out and get fresh air, it is mainly to shop for food, while wearing a mask that creates condense on my glasses, making me want to go back home.
If I look around, it is the same situation everywhere.
Two of my friends are getting their first baby. Unfortunately, their relatives cannot share this unique moment with them because they have to stay at home.
Other friends who came from South America cannot travel back to visit their home country. It’s been almost two years now.
Another friend is in his 30s and single. He would like to hang out with his buddies—maybe at a restaurant, maybe to grab a beer, maybe at a club to find someone special. Right now his focus shifts to learning new skills and working longer hours.
Our neighbors have kids of school age. The parents are forced to work from home and, at the same time, their two kids have to be homeschooled.
Our lives are changing during this period of COVID-19. We have to do things that we were not used to doing and they are changing our lives so deeply.
I ask myself, what is behind all these situations that make us feel so different from the past? Is it that we cannot buy something? Are they the moments we cannot share with our beloved ones? Are they new types of challenges that we are not used to?
I believe the answer is happiness.
This is the common answer many of us give when we are asked what we ultimately want to achieve in life. The events above are part of what defines happiness for us. It is a mixture of goods, experiences, relationships, friendships, love, and family.
We know we are happy when we feel that we are living the life we want; that we are accomplishing what we want in our life.
This pandemic changed the way we approach life, and we are asked to reevaluate our concept of happiness and how we can reach it.
That is also my motivation to find different ways to be happy and to reach what I want in my life. There are many definitions and suggestions that explain happiness. The problem now is that it is more difficult to find a real path to being more in control of our own happiness.
We know what is missing, we know what we want, and we know that the scenario has changed. But how can we adjust to it so that we can still pursue our happiness?
I found an interesting approach about how to be in control of our happiness in Julie Leonard’s page. I started applying some of her principles myself to my own life.
The first one for me during this period was Visualization and Clarity, followed by Goal Setting.
I spent time asking myself what I really want, what I am in control of, and what I can change?
What is it that I can achieve during this time?
After that, I transformed these ideas into goals that I can achieve. For example, I moved from the children’s big birthday party to a weekly celebration, where we will invite only one friend a day over a period of a week so that we can still experience a birthday celebration.
I can picture it, and I think this is a great solution given the current circumstance. I double-checked this with another one of Julie’s principles: Know your Values.
For me, my son is important and I want to give him the best experience he can have.
With the first suggestions, I was able to rethink happiness and how I can be happy despite Covid-19. There is another one of Julie’s principles that I found particularly fitting: Gratitude.
It is true that we can focus on how our lives changed so much. We can also focus on what we are grateful for. Even spending five minutes each day to drive our minds to think in positive terms helps us change our mood, and face challenges with more positive energy.
Overall, we are facing a time that continues changing our lives. But despite the circumstances, we still want to be happy.
There are some ways that can help us be in control of our happiness.