Debbie Duncan: Three Good Things

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Debbie Duncan says acknowledging three good things a day keeps the blues away.

When the pandemic hit, lockdown began and I found myself at home every evening, I decided to be more faithful about writing in a journal.

Unlike the diaries I’ve kept off and on since third grade, however, I gave my pandemic jottings a focus, one I learned from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. It’s called the Three Good Things practice: simply write about three things that went well that day. It could be as simple as enjoying the first cantaloupe of the season, or as memorable as receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

What I soon learned was that the practice makes me look for good things as my day progresses, and thus improves my happiness. It also helped me deal with those nights in the past year when I worried about my adult daughters — working on the front lines or out protesting racial injustice, or simply unable to come back inside the family home. We all missed hugs.

Now that everyone in my orbit has been fully vaccinated and California is opening up again, I wondered if I could try the Three Good Things exercise on 15 months of restrictions. With the obvious caveat that I wish COVID-19 had never been inflicted on the planet, are there certain aspects of lockdown life I’d like to see continued?

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Well, yes. I hope senior shopping hours join early bird dining in our culture. What a privilege for us oldsters! I’ve gotten to know a few of the workers I see in the 7 a.m. hour every week. We’ve been through a lot together. Those stores are keeping my business.

I’m also now committed to wearing a mask when shopping indoors or while outside in a crowd. I like not getting colds or the flu. It took months, but I finally have a defogging method for my glasses, and masks that fit and keep me and those around me healthy.

Years ago a friend and former co-worker always asked, “What’s the purpose of this meeting?” Now, after months of meeting only online, I know I’ll consider whether a gathering or project must be in person. KQED even makes it possible to record Perspectives from my dining room table. You can’t beat the commute!

With a Perspective, I’m Debbie Duncan.

Debbie Duncan writes children’s books from her home on the Peninsula.