Tiffany’s 21 tips to turn 2021 around, part 2

March 7, 2021, 11:06 p.m.

Happiness. Gratefulness. Love. We seek these three words during our lifetime, and as far as we go, we forget that they are hiding within our souls; we just need to look in the right direction. These set of tips are meant to show that we are little stars in a darker universe, but our light outshines the obscurity. We should just acknowledge that the light exists and that it starts from the deepness of our own darkness.

4. Send love to your loved ones, don’t fight

I wish I could send all the love in my heart just like I could send a text message to my family in Beirut. They have been quarantined in the house since Jan. 15, and all they need is a warm embrace and some giggles to lighten up their mood. I have used the social isolation and the lockdowns to further develop my relationship with my parents, who mean the world to me, and to delve deeply into my poetic world. I wish this love was pervasive, spreading to reach every point on this globe. I wish my love could reach those captured by fear, those tossed in the waters of despair, those yearning for a cup of water and a piece of bread. People suffering through COVID who lost their sense of security, those scarred by their last goodbye and those struggling to understand what love means, they never give up the fight for another sunrise. 

We are all fighting personal battles and the collective battle to fight the coronavirus; we need to unite in the name of resilience and our hope to proceed toward the unknown.

Today is when we fight and hope to fight again tomorrow, not in quarrel or in conflict, but toward peace and serenity.

Send love to your loved ones: in a letter, in a song, in a picture, in a place, in a virtual touch or even in the corner of a smile. Send them what they are missing.

5. Focus on the little things that make you happy

Did you ever have time to stop, sit back and ask yourself: what makes you happy? Or did you just incorporate moments and activities into your lifestyle that you thought were the basis of happiness, but brought you temporary and ephemeral pleasure? I assume that people feel “happy” when they achieve a goal they worked hard for, or when their favorite team scores, or when their favorite brand has their correct shoe size for their preferred design or when they party until the early morning and soak their minds in alcohol, endorphins and adrenaline.

Nevertheless, amid a pandemic that easily threatens the roots of true satisfaction, it is important to redefine happiness as times fluctuate and our priorities shift. My goal is to remind you that you could find this ethereal feeling in the unexpected details at the most unintended time. I am learning, step by step, to embrace it. Even when everything seems gloomy, I shift my panoramic angle to the parts that initiate satisfaction and contentment in me, such as the little details of a magnificent work, a tender voice, a tiny bush and other elements I probably did not know that could result in my smile. But why keep guessing what your source of happiness would be, when the most important guess is that the sparkling feeling is out there? When I first laid my eyes on the paradisiacal campus of Stanford and looked at the shining palm trees under the golden sun, I knew that it was not a guess anymore: It became a certainty.

6. Think of three things you are grateful for

Take a moment before you sleep or as soon as you wake up to list three elements that make you feel blessed and thankful. It will give each day some new meaning and a unique motivation to resume your academic, personal and professional journey that is not interrupted by constant procrastination. I want to give you some liberty to expand your thoughts on this part: Why are you breathing every day? What gets you out of bed in the morning instead of crumpling in your comfortable sheets? What would your comfort zone look like in a constantly changing world that permanently guarantees the elements you are grateful for?

Think it through and remember that what you are grateful for is what makes your life worth living rather than merely surviving and that acknowledgement of these elements is a sign of utter strength and nobility. It feels good to say “thank you” for what we have been blessed with. Even when the occurrences are bad and dark, it doesn’t mean that these three elements are not hiding underneath to project their light as soon as the clouds lose their tint.

Tiffany Saade is a staff writer in the news and The Grind sections. She is a freshman from Beirut, Lebanon and will probably major in Political Science in the Justice and Law main track with a double minor in International Relations and Human Rights with an interest in Creative Writing. She enjoys riding her yellow bike and singing out loud on Stanford campus! Contact her at thegrind 'at' for additional optimistic conversations about the future, and for some much needed light!

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