TThe little things in life matter most, it is said, which is fortunate given that most of the important things have been canceled anyway. Guardian readers around the world share the little joys that have helped them overcome the blocks.
‘The last honest thing in our modern life: football’
Since the Covid pandemic hit the radio waves, time has collapsed. To stay sane, I look at the last honest thing in our modern life: soccer. Jump from the English Premier League to the Cup of Spain, Italy, Germany and Africa. The game of soccer is inclusive, eloquent, straightforward and multinational. Soccer is not so much about the occupation of the territory; it’s about changing positions, maneuvering, and executing a series of attacks and retreats, not necessarily winning with physical dominance. In football, there is always hope for the underdog. Ahmed Tharwat, Minnetonka, Minnesota, United States
My fabulous neighbor across the street. We stand on our front porches, catch up, hug, and laugh at the absurdity of life.
We became friends when we greeted each other from across the street three years ago when they moved in. But what elevates her above being a good neighbor is the enormous goodness that flows so easily and naturally from her. The pandemic has deepened our friendship because it is so easy to share the fears that grow when faced alone.
I was there when my neighbor called crying, panicking because her sister in intensive care was going to die. They were there when I was concerned about the cancerous growth on my face. I knew that my neighbor’s husband’s job was putting tremendous pressure on him, to the point that he was on the verge of resigning, even when many were out of work. She thought of him constantly when she went to an interview for the only job available in her field. I cheered when they told me the good news.
We are happy in each other’s company, it is not necessary to talk. Suddenly my world became richer and warmer when this woman I have grown to love moved across the street. Suzy Kunda, Walla Walla, Washington, United States
‘Watching old movies’
I started watching old movies at the beginning of the pandemic because I also wanted to help my parents with something to do during those long days of confinement. The first six months in El Salvador were very strict; I saw my parents (aged 85 and 76) at most twice during that period, and we only live 15 minutes apart. I created a WhatsApp group called films (movies) and send them recommendations. We went to the Oscars website and made a list of the best films of a given year, starting with films made in 1950. We searched for Oscar-winning foreign films, as well as those that included the best actor, actress, cast, and award winners. director. Jorge S, San Salvador, El Salvador
‘My daily playlist, which a nurse puts on her patients’
My daily Spotify playlist, From the Bunker, is today at # 340. Some are always foreign bands, some are older, and some are new releases. I started it shortly after the first blockade started here in Rome. It is now distributed to people in the UK, USA and Italy. A nurse I know in Somerset makes it available in her wards, and she said the other day that everyone sang as they handed out vaccines. Hopefully, it encourages people. I’m not sure everyone gets the daily topics, but it’s fun and I get good feedback. It is important to have that feeling of connection with everyone, as I have been working from home for almost a year. Sean Perry, Rome, Italy
‘Play Dungeons and Dragons online’
I started playing Dungeons and Dragons online with friends and it has saved my life. I find socializing online a bit difficult as we all sit there and realize that nothing is wrong so I don’t have much to talk about. But the game means that I am socializing with structure, which makes it easier. Without being able to travel in reality, traveling in the theater of the mind has been a comfort. Unlike computer games or television, the math and creativity involved make it feel like a less passive form of entertainment. My character is a 19-year-old volatile half-elf warlock named Leeora who has cut white hair. I’m about to run my own campaign, as the Dungeon Master, with a team of five friends that I hope to guide through our imaginary world. Ashleigh Loeb, London
‘Treat lunch with respect’
Treating lunch with the respect that is rarely given has helped me keep going. As a teacher, I usually rush to eat a poorly assembled sandwich or chow down on a cream of tomato soup, while double-checking my PowerPoint. It has been amazing to be able to turn off the laptop, go to the kitchen, and sit down to a well-considered meal in company.
They have never had Michelin star quality, but my favorites are the salad with bread and cheese. My fiancee is half French and always insists on a variety of cheeses. We also went through the mandatory sour dough phase from the start. We will also have leftovers from last night’s dinner. When I was teaching at school, these were served between lessons, using orange-tinted Tupperware as Trump’s skin. Now, we serve it all on plates. It has become a proper meal. George Shaw, Bury St Edmunds
I am a neuroscientist, and at the beginning of the first lockdown, I began to investigate the cerebellum, also called the “little brain.” It is a fascinating part of the brain, and its functions are much more complex than sometimes thought. For example, I have learned that the cerebellum plays an interesting role in relation to prediction and cognitive functions such as perspective taking. The projects, readings and connections with other scientists that I have done thanks to the cerebellum have been a great cause for joy. Sofie Valk, Leipzig, Germany
Towards the beginning of the confinement, I began to write erotica. It was a lot of fun and I found that time flew by. I have written four stories. I sold one to an online feminist magazine, and I have 42,000 words in a novel. It has changed my life and if it weren’t for the pandemic, I never would have.
I guess the impetus came from needing to find something I could do while I stayed. I am a voracious reader of any kind of fiction and I refuse to get bored. Initially, a story popped into my head and it turned out to have erotic overtones. (I have no idea why). I really enjoyed forming it in my mind and started writing it. I was quite satisfied with it and wrote another. And other. Writing erotica is exciting, which is a huge plus. The antithesis of boredom.
It changed my life by giving me an all-consuming approach. I can’t wait to start every day. I think back to the plot twists at 4 in the morning and resist the urge to jump out of bed and take notes. (My husband supports me a lot, but I don’t want to risk my luck.) Sarah Phelps, Buffalo, New York, USA
‘My rabbit, Lola’
I am 26 years old and beyond the point where I thought I would be interested in small animals. I wanted a dog, but I have no garden, no money, no time. But I felt that loving something unconditionally and being loved would also help during the lockdown and life beyond.
Tried various pet stores, but all rabbits had to be sold in pairs for their own needs. Devastating. But in the last store I visited, it turned out that a rabbit had been delivered a month earlier and was ready to be adopted. She also had to be adopted by herself, it was perfect. Her name is Lola, but her original name, when I adopted her, was actually Cow. I changed the name; The cow is not flattering.
Now I can’t imagine life without her. She is so sweet, loving and entertaining on an evening where we have nowhere to go.
Lola is very doggy. She runs up to you immediately when you enter the room, ordering food, and chasing balls and toys. When you’re sick of TV and can’t go for a walk, it’s good to just watch it. Faleena, London
At the beginning of the first confinement, I had just moved house and moved to a flat with a friend. The weekend before it was announced, I bought a small plant at the local garden center. I didn’t want anything too high-maintenance, just something to brighten up my room. I chose a jade plantCrassula ovata) and put it in a pot on my windowsill.
Over the weeks, I began to notice that little new leaves were sprouting, which brought me so much joy as I did not have access to any outdoor space other than the local park. The well-being of this plant became so important to me during the closing; Each new blade seemed to reflect the care and attention I was giving it. I would give my boyfriend, who I couldn’t see for months during the lockdown, updates via FaceTime, pointing out any new sessions. At first he was just pleasing me, but gradually he got involved and now he thinks he has joint custody.
The disaster happened in November when the heating was turned on and I did not realize that my poor plant was burning. The leaves started to fall off and I overcompensated by watering too much, which compounded the problem. I realized that I had subconsciously thought, if my plant was fine, then so was I, but here I was on the verge of death. I spent many hours watching YouTube videos on houseplant care and moving it to different places in my room trying to find a way to resuscitate it. I finally came across a tip that said to have the plant on a newspaper and leave it for two weeks. He made a full recovery. Now he’s doing great. Serena, London
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism