Acting Grateful in a Time of Crisis

New York is the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak.

To be safer I’m risking going outside only twice a week.

Walking outside I was suddenly grateful like I hadn’t ever been before for things I took for granted:

In 1999 I moved to Brooklyn when it wasn’t popular to do so. I wasn’t guilty of gentrifying a neighborhood by moving there.

I’m grateful that no one wanted to move to this area. It’s mercifully free of hipsters and multi-million apartment high-rises like in Williamsburg.

I was not ever as grateful as I was this week to be able to walk a long, long distance to and from a food market.

Grateful for my 2 feet that I can use to walk wherever I want to go.

Grateful for the air I breathe.

Grateful for the organic food I could find in the market.

Grateful that I had lifted weights for the last 9 years.

This gave me the strength to carry 2 tote bags filled with 50 pounds each of groceries.

I was also grateful that a woman asked if I wanted help carrying the bags. Even though her face was not covered.

“No thanks,” I told her.

I was also grateful to be able to use a spare orange bandanna to cover my nose and mouth diagonally.

You’re not supposed to buy masks. This diverts the masks from medical staff.

I was the only one on the street wearing a colorful bandanna as a face mask.

It matched the orange FreshDirect tote bags I carried. An unintended fashion statement.

It was a scary experience having to breathe through a bandanna.

That’s when I was suddenly grateful for the air around me.

I tell readers everywhere:

Live with gratitude. Take nothing for granted.

Live for today. You don’t know when it will be gone.

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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