COVID-19 has provided unexpected opportunities for me to appreciate the little things in life. Whether it’s playing fetch with our puppy, running through undiscovered streets in my neighborhood, or sitting down for dinner with my family, it’s been wonderful to slow down and enjoy these rich blessings. Pre-pandemic, I spent my time rushing from class, to work, from the gym, to home– spending hours each day commuting. Now, I spend hours outdoors, enjoying the grass and the sunshine. A few weeks ago, my fiancé, Ben, and I went for a run through the beautiful Cedar Ridge property, which I had never explored before. This time last year, I would have automatically chosen to exercise inside at the gym.

Of course, these things don’t take away from the fact that the past few months have been scary and overwhelming for most of us. But slowing down and enjoying nature has given me unexpected joy and respite during this time.