1. 29

I feel like there isn’t enough positivity lately out in the world. It’s easy to focus on negative things and let them ruin our day, so what is (or what has been) a bright/positive part of your day/days recently?

  1. 25

    I have a seriously autistic child. With violent tantrums and the like. The past few months the intervention we are following seems to be working better than expected. The pressure on the rest of the family is lower.

    I have a well paid job that can sustain the above situation.

    Of course, if I want to find things to complain, there are such things. I try not to chose to do so.

    1. 12

      Thanks for this.

      About 7 years ago I was diagnosed with PTSD, and was prescribed a drug called propranolol. It’s a blood pressure medication with interesting properties that is used off-label for PTSD, anxiety, and various other things.

      I used to have severe arachnophobia (not directly related to the PTSD, or at least the arachnaphobia wasn’t why I sought treatment). To the point where when I was around 20 I found a spider on me and stripped naked and ran screaming into the backyard.

      Anyway, one day after having been on propranolol for some time, I was out hiking with friends and we stopped under a tree. After a few minutes I realized there was a spider on my shoulder. I picked it up in my hand and suddenly it dawned on me – I wasn’t afraid. Not even a little.

      I went home and started seeking out spiders to pick up and hold. I went from being absolutely terrified of them to becoming excited whenever I saw one – it became like seeing an old friend. This persists to this day, and I’ve been off propranolol for several years now.

      Anyway, I live in New Mexico now, and right now it’s spider season, so black widows (which have a needlessly bad reputation) and other spiders are out in force. So the best part of my day lately has been walking around the backyard and checking on all of the webs in the garden and around the house, and occasionally giving them a little drink of water. It’s been wonderful watching their progress and getting to know each of them.

      A footnote re propranolol – years after my experience with it, I learned that the effects of propranolol on arachnaphobia were studied[1][2] with results very similar to mine! In a way it makes sense – there are a lot of commonalities between PTSD and phobias, and one could imagine there are similar mechanisms at play especially when it comes to memory.

      [1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/12/15/scientists-say-theyve-found-way-to-cure-fear-of-spiders-in-2-minutes-could-they-also-cure-ptsd/ [2] https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/opinion/sunday/a-drug-to-cure-fear.html

      1. 2

        black widows (which have a needlessly bad reputation)

        Seconded! I have even accidentally lightly mushed them while moving pots around with bare hands to no fanfare from them. Youtube search black widow bite videos and people really have to harass them for a reaction.

      2. 11

        Each of my kids has a thing that he and I do together every day. For my older son, we’re reading Percy Jackson together. For my younger son, we’re (re)playing through all the classic Mega Man games.

        1. 2

          I really love this.

          For my younger son, we’re (re)playing through all the classic Mega Man games.

          Even Mega Man 1? I love all the early games in a different way, but MM1 is obscenely hard.

          1. 4

            Well, I play and he “strategizes” and “directs”. He knows all of the different bosses across all the games, their weaknesses, where the various powerups are, etc.

            But yeah, we’ve played through all of the Mega Man games available on the NES, SNES, and Genesis. His favorites, by far, are the X series on the SNES.

        2. 10

          Definitely spending time with my daughter. Seeing her learning about the world and enjoying every little rock and hill connects all the dots in the universe for me and puts work and stress in a different perspective. Spending time in nature with her, explaining what leaves are and why there comes water from the sky and watching her trying to understand is beyond magical.

          1. 7

            Best part for me recently is when I wanted to go take a walk after supper to stretch the old body. I asked my daughter if she wanted to come along and she answered “Oh! I thought you would never ask!”.

            1. 3

              Same. Before we had our kid I kind of not-joked I expected the first year or two to kind of be like having a puppy - helpless, super cute, not particularly clever. It turns out it is absolutely stunning how intelligent human children are, and how incessantly driven they are to learn things.

              Current favourite activity is feeling the texture of oak trees.

              Not only is the - notable - added stress of taking care of a one-year-old in the middle of all this offset by the joy.. it also offsets the stress of all the rest of 2020.

            2. 9

              taken up drinking coffee again. There is a coffee shop on my doorstep which serves some great coffee. I drink a cup a day and take a walk, there’s lots of street art to find around here so it’s fun to switch off, let the thoughts and caffeine run through my mind while I explore the city.

              1. 2

                A good tasting coffee makes so much difference in mood, speaking personally (not so much for meh tasting coffee, regardless of caffeine). I also discovered that certain cheeses go extremely well with black coffee. So I consume most coffee with a medium cheddar.

              2. 9

                I started getting Purple Carrot and HelloFresh. Making time for home cooking has been a lot easier without the daily commute.

                I’m taking full advantage of the current remote-only climate and moving to Colorado without the hassle of changing jobs. I just signed a lease for an apartment that’s 10 minutes from the nearest trailhead. I can’t wait to add morning hikes to my daily routine! My dog loves hiking too, but when I ask if she’s excited to move to Colorado she just looks at me quizzically.

                1. 5

                  Your dog is cute, thanks for including that picture!

                  1. 6

                    Little known fact: she is actually the cutest dog ever.

                  2. 2

                    I really enjoyed Colorado when I visited last summer.

                    I went for a concert at Red Rocks, spent a day in CO Springs, and spent a day at Rocky Mountain National Park. I’d really consider living there someday. (We did the hike to Bear Lake -> Dream Lake -> Emerald Lake) It wasn’t anything crazy, but the elevation made it more challenging. Well worth the trip and I’ve been itching to go back!

                    1. 2

                      I’m also looking at moving to Colorado next year, though I’d just be changing offices as the company I work for has their main office in Boulder. I’m eager to escape the allergies and terrible winters of the Midwest.

                      And your dog is adorable!

                      1. 1

                        Do it! No time like the present!

                        1. 2

                          No time to move across the country than when you’re young and have no responsibilities

                      2. 2

                        You dog is adorable! What breed is she?

                        1. 2

                          Border Collie!

                      3. 8

                        Thank you for opening this thread. I hope the comments will be wholesome.

                        For me those are motorcycle rides, but I don’t do them often enough because of weather and/or time constraints. Also not every ride is enjoyable and almost none is great the entire time, there are good parts and bad parts in any I guess. So in total it amounts to like half an hour of good parts per week, which isn’t much, but it is something.

                        1. 8

                          When my kids come home at 3-ish and rush in the door to tell me all the exciting things that they did today at school. I get hugs, stories and a lot of shouting and screaming because they missed me.

                          1. 6

                            My wife and I started studying Mandarin together using a “gamified” app, Super Chinese. It’s a fun little break at the end of the day as we compete to get higher scores on pronunciation and tests. 很有趣!

                            1. 6

                              I get to enjoy cooking more lately, now that I no longer have to coordinate meals with other people. I can experiment more and try out more things that I don’t know how to make or don’t usually do, or just improvise. “What’s in the fridge that needs to be used? Potatoes, and salad fixings. Hmmm. Time for… potato potato salad salad.”

                              1. 5

                                Some of my coworkers and I play video games together. We used to do that regularly, on weeknights or weekends, but haven’t kept up with it in the new year. ($WORK went through a couple of restructures, and COVID happened.) But we’re all realizing how much we’ve missed doing it reguarly, and have started to carve out time in our schedules. It’s tough, we haven’t made time for it before, but even getting a little bit of time with them has been truly wonderful.

                                1. 5

                                  Lunch every day with my girlfriend that ends next week as her company ordered her back to the office (during the largest spikes recorded in the province since the pandemic started.) I will miss that.

                                  1. 5
                                    1. being able to see my kid throughout the day (although she’d be happier if she was hanging out with friends)

                                    2. we got some quarantine pet chickens, and they’re growing up, and I take breaks during the day to go give them treats and talk to them

                                    3. since I’m wfh I can take 15 minute breaks throughout the day to do small bits of dinner prep, and I end up cooking more interesting meals as a result

                                    4. not commuting

                                    5. I have better coffee at home than at work

                                    1. 5

                                      Waking up in the morning with my daughters (5 and 3) in the bed all snuggled up. It’s wonderful.

                                      1. 5

                                        My son (5 y/o) has gotten really interested in Lego building recently, so we’re spending at least an hour every night before bed in the spare room, surrounded by bricks, some of which were mine when I was that age.

                                        It’s basically a perfect way to end the day with him and I hope the tradition lasts a while.

                                        1. 5

                                          I’ve been enjoying manually making things with my hands: bread, garden trellises, clay pots. Work has been somewhat stressful and the political situation in the states nearly overwhelming; having to unflinchingly focus on a small task and seeing its immediate outcome, thinking about how to do it better on the next attempt, has been a relief.

                                          1. 1

                                            so good to switch to a different mode of working. I really used to enjoy making ethernet patch cables.

                                          2. 5

                                            lately the bright spots in my day have been the little things:

                                            • reading books with my daughter; it’s basically her favorite thing to do with me. raising a child introduces stress but it offsets work stress, because it puts things in necessary perspective.
                                            • espresso. this is a hobby and obsession, and brings me so much joy
                                            • running. it keeps me sane.
                                            1. 5

                                              I’ve been learning guitar for the past year and WFH has super-charged it. It’s been really nice developing a hobby that doesn’t require a computer. And it’s fun when I’m waiting on someone or some task at work to be able to pick up the guitar just play it for a little bit.

                                              1. 2

                                                I bought a guitar for covid! It’s been a lot of fun, I used to play music every day for a couple hours - but when I graduated college the opportunities for marching band & symphonic trombone were few and far between.

                                                Guitar is so accessible, and being able to play more popular songs from my childhood has really re-ignited my musical side.

                                              2. 4

                                                Driving downtown (I live in suburb hell and hate it) to walk around and take pictures. I don’t do it daily, probably weekly, but it’s been the highlight of my weeks for awhile now.

                                                1. 3

                                                  Pretty shallow but honestly just sleeping on time has been absolutely life-changing. I get lesser time to play games with friends and work on my side projects but my focus and motivation have been through the roof and I’ve been getting much more done.

                                                  1. 3

                                                    Finding new rock routes to climb, mountain bike trails to ride, and trails to run. And the occasional attempt and frequent failure to catch some fish for dinner after work.

                                                    1. 3

                                                      Work: pairing with my brilliant teammates. Since the plague i don’t get as much uplifting technical interactions as before, my teammates stretch my brain!

                                                      Fun: sitting next to my girlfriend on the couch rereading the Liaden series before the new book is released.

                                                      1. 3

                                                        My job really sucks right now and I’m interviewing with other companies.

                                                        Funnily enough I’ve find interview prep quite fun and has given me a mental break from day to day

                                                        1. 3

                                                          I’ve been getting out of work earlier at 3pm and playing with my 2 year old daughter. It’s been amazing. I’m convinced I don’t want to go back to commuting until they’re older, since an hour each way commute means I lose those two hours a day I’m spending with her.

                                                          1. 2

                                                            Best part of my day is the few minutes every day I get to spend with the child and realizing there is nothing more important in my life through all the chaos. Makes me feel I could take on all challenges I put myself into both personally and professionally.

                                                            1. 2

                                                              Choosing not to do any of the “millions of things I should be doing” because few of them are actually pressing, and instead shirking that responsibility to play video games and work on a personal project that mostly benefits my business but it’s far more fun than profit. I got really badly burned out on a lot of things during the summer and needed to step back and affix my own oxygen mask for once. I’m breathing again but need another few months before I return actively to some of the things I’d been working on previously.

                                                              So, the best part of my day has been playing games, and it’s doubled in efficacy when friends are online at the same time and I can play with them. Especially when I get a kill on those who play competitive.

                                                              1. 2

                                                                As a father of (soon to be) 2 month old child, any time I can get some sleep ;) But recently he started to smile back, which is nice.

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  I founded my company. It’s a consult-shop, basically. Since day one we have only sold our time. A couple of weeks ago we sold our first big complete project, with our own software. I do consulting full time but I get up super early morning just to be able to be part of that new project as well. It’s been my dream since forever.

                                                                  So the best part of my days, nowadays, are those first couple of early morning hours, when I can build our stuff , and not just for an hourly invoice.

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    So recently I read Steve Jobs biography, then 21 lessons for the 21st century from YNH, and right after Principle from RD.

                                                                    All 3 books mention meditation as a life changing thing. So I’ve decided to give it a try. I’ve selected 5 means of learning about it (apps/books/YouTube videos/…) and decided to go with apps. So I tried 5 apps and decided to go with “Waking up” from SH which wrote a book on the same topic.

                                                                    The app doesn’t link to any religion or culture, it’s really pure feelings and almost philosophy. It has a practice section and a theory section, which reminded me “So good they can’t ignore you” from CN (thanks Bob B. For the recommendation), which mentions that you need to have both practice and theory to improve.

                                                                    After a few weeks with the app, I feel that it’s really awesome, not in the sense that I enjoy spending time on the app, but more that I feel better after each session. I feel like a better person, a kinder and humbler version of myself.

                                                                    I can not recommend enough to just try it for a few days. And for those of you which are skeptical about meditation, just try it 3-5 days and at least, you’ll be able to either confirm your feelings, or find that you might have been wrong!

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      I started a new job this week at a company with a super small engineering team. They had manually set up a little bit of AWS infrastructure before I joined, but nothing they’re super attached to, and were pleased to hear I had some experience with Terraform and Ansible.

                                                                      So my first real task is to build a completely greenfield infrastructure-as-code setup. My daily pleasure has been finding all the things about the infrastructure setup at my previous job that made me say, “Oh, man, if I were doing this from scratch knowing what I know now, I’d totally do X instead of Y, but I don’t have time to change it,” and getting to do X instead of Y. (For example: using Terraform modules instead of hand-rolled resources.) I’m sure I’ll make all kinds of new mistakes but it’s more fun than repeating the old ones.

                                                                      1. 1

                                                                        My heartfriend hasn’t been working sinde the pandemic hit here, but he still gets paid, so that’s given us lots of time to do things together. Cook, play video games, do sports, go outside and take photos of nature and animals, and other things.

                                                                        I’ve heard that this has been testing many relationships but I don’t understand why. We both get to spend a lot of time with a person we love, doing things that we both enjoy. It’s a good way to spend a pandemic.

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          The best parts of my days are seeing the ways people are not just engineers, but people. So threads like these are always a really special thing – it’s just great to read how people are doing. Thanks, all, for chipping in!

                                                                          Other things that have been great:

                                                                          • a long-form correspondence I have running with a friend from London,
                                                                          • drawing the view from my porch in a sketchbook that’s had no new drawings in many years,
                                                                          • setting out from home with my partner to spend time outside at the start or end of the day – Wednesday began walking around the aquatic park and watching one pelican after another stall out into the water to catch its breakfast.
                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            Start biking again. I am leaving up to the hills in Tuscany, so having the opportunity to ride a bike an hour every day it’s a very good experience. It’s a big help to relief working stress.