For more help, I also turned to our readers, and asked what’s bringing you joy these days. Hundreds of you wrote in.
Stephen Martin of Cave Creek, Ariz., learned the piano at age 76, while Carol Babcock of Dallas got back on a bicycle at 83. Susan Ko of Victoria, British Columbia, rediscovered her passion for making films, while Blass Freed found peace in origami, folding cranes on a “teeny tiny kitchen table” in New York City.
Many found solace in nature, whether gardening, hiking, bird watching or camping. Others brought new animal companions into their homes and have cherished the extra time with their pets. Some overachievers, like Salomón Salcedo-Baca in Santiago, Chile, used these solitary months to write a novel, while others finished screenplays or wrote poetry.
A lucky few found joy in new romances. During lockdown, and shortly after her 72nd birthday, Melanie Beene of San Francisco got a LinkedIn message from an old college boyfriend.
I hadn’t thought about him in more than 50 years. When his wife died and he was preparing their house for sale, he found letters that I had written him from my junior year abroad and wondered if I wanted them back. Despite being on opposite coasts, and thanks to technology, we were able to be in daily communication: first by email, then telephone, then FaceTime and Zoom, and finally in person (five visits so far and more planned). I am savoring the sweetness of deep connection with another; of being seen, appreciated, and loved. And all the more special because of its unexpectedness!
Relationships also ended, but some, like Victoria Restrepo of Potomac, Md., found contentment there, too.
I am 63 years old and last year was a hard one for me, not only because of the pandemic, but because my husband left me, I had to sell my home, and my youngest son went to college. Since I didn’t have a place to stay and I was very confused about what should I do in the future, I first started visiting the national and state parks. I stayed in cabins, tents, boats, trailers, and inside my car. I have visited 31 states so far. I still don’t know what I will do in the future, but even though it’s been hard traveling by myself, I feel much stronger and happier now.
More than anything, flourishing came for many of you through self-discovery. Here’s John Robert Hatherly from Chicago:
Last year when the pandemic first took hold in the U.S., I decided to give myself a mulligan and take a second chance at my life. I quit drinking and started doing yoga, left a toxic workplace and abusive employer, and opened my own creative studio dedicated to promoting peace through nonviolent communication. My newfound joy comes from knowing that “normal” never existed in the first place. And I’m never going back.
The vaccination campaign in Europe is accelerating, and officials expect to match the pace of the U.S. by July, the Washington Post reports.
The vaccines regulator in Britain advised that all adults under 40 should be offered alternatives to AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
Norwegian Cruise Line is threatening to skip ports in Florida because of the governor’s order banning businesses from requiring that customers be vaccinated, The Associated Press reports.
Serbia is offering $30 to every citizen who gets a coronavirus vaccine before the end of May, Euronews reports.