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Happiness Tuesdays

The Search for Happiness

Good Things That Happened in 2020

It's been a rough year. We kicked it off with brutal wildfires, continued to experience several natural other disasters, that pesky Covid-19 thing, an insanely chaotic election, and a lot of political division. But despite this, 2020 hasn't been all bad. 

This year, we saw the world come together in a way that many of us had never experienced. There hadn't been such global synonymity in suffering since perhaps the World Wars. We started paying attention to who our neighbours are, if they were taken care of and who was taking care of us. 

People used their voices -- sometimes, yes, in ways that were less than helpful, but in many ways they were beautiful. Powerful depictions of individuals taking a stand for what they believe in and advocating for others. 

There's light at the end of the tunnel -- we've learned a lot from the hard stuff this year. Scientifically, in the medical community, individually, about our priorities, and the impact we can have on the world.

We've learned to remember what matters. Yeah, there's been some really brutal things year -- but a lot of found ourselves again. And that's a really, really great thing. 

As we move towards 2021, don't leave this year aside from your story or your memory. It's part of you, part of us, and part of the world we move into. 

Recommended Movie

Ratatouille

Brad Garrett, Lou Romano
2007

Interesting Fact #1

This year, a second person ever was cured of HIV.

SOURCE

Interesting Fact #2

In 2020, the first ever IVF-concepted cheetah cubs were born!

SOURCE

Interesting Fact #3

Recently this year, scientists discovered a fossil of what they're calling a "wonder chicken" -- an ancient bird that appears half chicken and half duck.

SOURCE

Quote of the day

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

- Mae West

Article of the day - 50 positive things that happened in 2020 (so far)

We are only halfway through 2020 and it's the worst — beloved celebrities have died, we are in the grips of a worldwide pandemic and we are living in a country upended by a fight for racial equality.

It really does not feel like a moment to see the glass as half full or make lemonade out of lemons.

But, we are going to try.

This is not meant to minimize the harsh reality of an incredibly difficult year. Many have lost loved ones. Many are struggling. Many feel sad, scared, frustrated and broken.

"It’s OK to not be OK right now and to just do your best to get through this truly unprecedented time," C. Vaile Wright, director of clinical research and quality at the American Psychological Association, told USA TODAY earlier this year.

But while this year seems especially hard, there are silver linings. Out of coronavirus comes creativity. Out of quarantine comes bonus time with family. Out of activism comes changes for the better.

One thing we can try to do is to see the good. Maybe this list will help. From small acts of kindness to new albums that got us dancing, here are 50 good things that happened in 2020 so far, compiled by USA TODAY's Life staff, in no particular order.

1. A 103-year-old grandma beat COVID-19 and celebrated with a Bud Light.

2. Drive-in movie theaters made a comeback.

3. Drive-in concerts are a thing now.

4. “Tiger King” somehow connected us.

5. We got to watch football greats Tom Brady and Peyton Manning play golf with golf greats Phil Mickleson and Tiger Woods in "The Match" for COVID-19 relief.

6. Restaurants shared their secret recipes so we could make them at home.

7. John Krasinski made good news go viral with the YouTube series “Some Good News.”

8. Wearing sweatpants and tees became acceptable fashion choices all day, every day.

9. Restaurants got awesomely creative to enforce social distancing including pool noodle hats, bumper boats and dapper mannequin guests.

10. People around the country brushed up on their sewing skills, making masks for people who need them most.

11. Lady Gaga gave us a new album for sweaty dance-floor fun – in our living rooms.

12. Dua Lipa single-handedly saved pop music.

13. Then Carly Rae Jepsen did it again with her new album.

14. The Chicks returned after 14 years with "Gaslighter" and reignited our love of twangy empowerment songs.

15. Americans rushed to adopt and foster pets in need amid the pandemic.

16. Sure, we might have gained a little weight, but we rediscovered our love for old hobbies like baking and gardening.

17. We also have time to read again and we're seizing the moment to educate ourselves: books like Robin DiAngelo's "White Fragility" and Ibram X. Kendi's "How to Be an Antiracist" have topped USA TODAY's best-selling books list for weeks.

18. Puzzles and board games became cool again and offered a much-needed break from our screens.

19. TikTok blew up and our boredom was cured.

20. Netflix’s elaborate “Floor Is Lava” competition brought us back to the imaginary game of our childhoods.

21. Distilleries, both small and large, around the country used their resources to produce badly needed hand sanitizer.

22. Major companies such as 3M and Apple pooled resources or shifted production to make millions of masks to help keep people safe.

23. Ford, GM, Tesla and other automakers were able to make ventilators and other medical devices to help with the pandemic.

24. Crayola launched a box of crayons with diverse skin colors for children to "accurately color themselves into the world."

25. Amazon introduced fun new boxes that can be turned into a cat fort or robot costume.

26. We learned that homeschooling is hard and finally recognized teachers for the heroes that they are.

27. Health care workers and essential workers. Also heroes.

28. NASA named its Washington, D.C. headquarters after Mary W. Jackson, its first Black female engineer.

29. Birdwatching? Yes, please.

30. Bike trails became one of the few places in the country that were open.

31. We came up with creative ways to celebrate big milestones like drive-by birthdays and Zoom parties.

32. For the first time ever, the Academy Award for best picture went to an international feature film: "Parasite."

33. Brad Pitt charmed us with jokes during awards season. He also won his first Oscar and made a hunky Anthony Fauci on “Saturday Night Live.”

34. Billie Eilish swept the Grammys and announced a new single.

35. Alicia Keys as Grammys host gave us a much-needed moment of comfort following the death of Kobe Bryant.

36. Love is still blossoming amid quarantine thanks to drones, digital dinners and an inflatable plastic bubble.

37. After casting 40 seasons of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” ABC finally cast its first Black male lead, Matt James.

38. Celebrities surprised graduates at virtual commencement ceremonies.

39. Beyoncé dropped some fierce surprises, like her Juneteenth track “Black Parade” and for her visual album, "Black Is King.“

40. Taylor Swift dropped a surprise of her own — her eighth and possibly best ever studio album.

41. Ashley Graham, Jenna Dewan, Anderson Cooper and more stars welcomed the most adorable babies.

42. Smaller movies and hidden gems are suddenly at our fingertips (streaming!).

43. Three words: “Hamilton” the movie. It lives up to the hype.

44. We realized how much we love and need sports and its ability to unite us.

45. With toilet paper out of stock, bidets are booming which is good news for our behinds...and less wasteful.

46. Musicians took to social media to give us personal concerts from home.

47. Late night talk show hosts continued to bring the funny from their homes, with adorable special guests — their kids.

48. While coronavirus pushed many museums to close, it opened up their collections to audiences virtually.

49. People brought out their Christmas decorations to bring cheer during quarantine.

50. Weddings still happened over Zoom, and it was beautiful.

Question of the day - What's been the highlight of your year?

The Search for Happiness

What's been the highlight of your year?