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If there’s one positive that has come out of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s that we’ve learned to appreciate the little things in life.
Ask people what they’re looking forward to most after lockdown ends and the answers usually involve family, friends and small comforts we previously took for granted. The latest iPhone or a blowout shopping spree? Not so much.
And Professor Robert Emmons, known as the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, previously told HuffPost UK this is the best way to boost positivity right now. It’s called gratitude forecasting – “Imagine how grateful you will be when life returns to normal,” he said. “Consider simple pleasures you are currently deprived of, and then visualise experiencing those once again.”
We don’t know when things will “return to normal”, but when they do, man, will it feel sweet. In no particular order, here are 99 things to look forward to – you might not relate to all of them, but we’re sure you’ll smile at some. Bookmark it for those difficult days and remember, small joys are coming in a big way.
1. Ordering a barista-made coffee.
2. That first big family meal. And many, many more.
3. Seeing the familiar faces of commuters who always get on your carriage.
4. Breathing in that fresh scent as you walk through a garden centre.
5. Hugging a loved one, for a really, really long time.
6. A trip to your nearest beach on a hot, sunny day.
7. Shaking the hand of, or sharing a meal with, a newly-befriended neighbour.
8. Going for an impromptu drink after work.
9. Hearing an ice cream van approaching.
10. Watching live sport, and hearing the roar of fellow fans.
11. A normal working day in the office (who would have thought it?).
12. Sharing a dessert, without thinking twice.
13. Hearing kids at a local primary school enjoying playtime outside.
14. Travelling, whether that’s abroad or just to the next town over.
15. Seeing your nieces and nephews and squeezing them extra tight.
16. Playing on a swing in the park, whatever your age.
17. ‘Popping’ to the shops – just because.
18. Carefully turning the page of a delicate library book.
19. A proper pint, not from a can or bottle.
20. Hearing a street busker play Wonderwall.
21. Borrowing a top from a mate.
22. Getting your favourite top back from a mate.
23. Offering to do the office tea round.
24. Answering the hairdresser who asks: “Is that temperature okay?”
25. Trying lipstick samples on the back of your hand.
26. Buying fruit that’s “two for a pound” from a market trader.
27. Taking your kids to the park.
28. Playing your team sport again.
29. Making the “oooh new haircut” noise at colleagues.
30. Catching up with the staff at your favourite local restaurant.
31. Rebooking the holidays you missed with a new sense of appreciation.
32. Listening to a podcast on your commute.
33. Sitting in the park in shorts, whatever the weather.
34. Being reunited with pets that are currently ‘home home’.
35. Camping, thanks to your new love of the outdoors.
36. Scoffing popcorn at the cinema.
37. Singing with strangers, at the football, choir, church or karaoke.
38. Hearing the bartender ask: “Is that a single, or double?”
39. Smelling chlorine as you near a swimming pool.
40. Getting a gel manicure.
41. The smugness of being early to things.
42. All of those postponed weddings.
43. Dancing until sunrise.
44. A bike ride with no purpose.
45. Racing your mates to the front row, top deck of the bus.
46. Using the outdoor gym in your local park on a warm day.
47. Silently cheering on a learner driver from your car.
48. Going out for brunch. Bottomless, of course.
49. Leaning into a sibling as you laugh like big kids.
50. Ordering food from a food truck.
51. Finding an excuse to buy a lilo.
52. Brushing off the crumbs after a Greggs vegan sausage roll.
53. Cloud spotting in the park.
54. Asking someone tall to reach the top shelf at the supermarket.
55. Visiting your grandparents and treasuring each moment.
56. Flirting with a complete stranger. In person.
57. Ordering a takeaway and saying: “Keep the change”.
58. Spontaneously seeing friends, because you can.
59. Diving into cold, open water.
60. Trying to memorise the “specials board” at the pub.
61. Feeling the sea mist against your skin.
62. Fitness classes – well, at least for the first week.
63. Picnicking with your favourite people.
64. Tickling a loved one’s baby until they giggle.
65. Booking a babysitter, if you’ve been at home with the kids for weeks.
66. Rubbing shoulders with complete strangers at a gig.
67. Taking your dog on an extravagant two walks a day.
68. Smelling the distinct scent of McDonald’s.
69. The tombola at a naff village fête.
70. Reading in a coffee shop, among fellow readers.
71. Asking the taxi driver: “So, has it been busy tonight?”.
72. Buying The Big Issue from a Big Issue seller.
73. Tear and share garlic bread.
74. Going to an actual pub quiz.
75. Dating apps when there’s a chance of a face-to-face date.
76. That fresh, post-dentist feeling.
77. Fish and chips, done the proper way.
78. Kissing goodbye to your dye roots.
79. Admiring the skyline from a rooftop bar.
80. Treating yourself to a massage.
81. Hosting a dinner party (who cares if the food’s good?).
82. Sex with that someone you don’t live with.
83. Your go-to shop bought lunch (oh hey Pret).
84. Trying a friend’s drink like it’s NBD.
85. Finding bargains in charity shops.
86. Gesturing for a stranger to share your bench.
87. Enjoying a takeaway tea on a stroll.
88. Appreciating the gym in a whole new light.
89. Escaping from a too-tight outfit in the changing room.
90. High-fiving at any excuse.
91. Going to your pal’s actual birthday party, rather than a virtual one.
92. Petting random cats in the street.
93. Asking a friend to text you when they get home, knowing they’ll forget.
94. Tinnies on a hot day.
95. Window shopping, through actual windows.
96. Planning the most epic Halloween/Bonfire Night/Christmas ever.
97. Crying with laughter at a stand-up gig.
98. Being close enough to do the awkward “I’ll go this way” dance when someone comes towards you on the pavement.
99. Saying thank you to the key workers in person.