While people continue to try to grasp the crisis at hand, many are looking to reclaim their joy by leaning into their passions and working on projects that can bring meaning and light during a difficult time. For one dancer, this means reimagining his footwork while using household items as his dancing partner. While for a barbershop owner, it means using the extra time to fine-tune his design skills while out of work.
For all, however, these small passion projects serve as a reminder that good still abounds during a hard time.
Quinn Wharton, of Brooklyn, N.Y., is a professional ballet dancer who has worked for the San Fransisco Ballet and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. But while quarantining at his family’s home in Hawaii, the 33-year-old couldn’t stop from doing what he loves most, so he’s putting a spin on some famous choreography at the request of a friend. “It wasn’t a bad idea,” Wharton tells Yahoo Life. “I only did it to make my friend laugh.” Now, after re-envisioning the famous choreography to “(I've Had) The Time Of My Life” from Dirty Dancing by using a lamp as his dance partner, Wharton has gained the attention of thousands of people. “I had to birth this in solitude and silence to take it seriously,” he says of the hilarious clip.
Leland Yu is a New York-native, born and raised in Chinatown and surrounded by the local businesses that thrive in the area. But during the coronavirus pandemic, the cook who is training to become a New York City firefighter was struck by the damage caused to the small businesses that he grew up supporting and decided he wanted to help. In an effort to ramp up the training that he’s already been doing to enter the next FDNY Fire Academy class, Yu was set on teaming up with an organization to do a fundraising run where he would ask friends and family to pledge as little as $1 per mile that he would run. Little did he know that he would end up raising $24,646 for Welcome to Chinatown, which used the funds for its Feed Our Heroes initiative, after completing 61.66 miles around New York City in 12 hours.
Edwin Ramirez is a triple threat, as he owns a barbershop while also running a business as a carpenter and graphic designer. But while all three of his businesses were shut down as a result of the coronavirus, the 40-year-old from New Jersey decided to put his talents to good use by creating a protective shield that could be implemented into barbershops like his upon reopening. He coined the name “Shield on Wheels” after creating a portable shield that sits behind a barber chair and allows the barber to access a client’s hair while both the client and stylist remain protected and separate. “You have to have confidence in yourself,” he tells Yahoo Life. “If you have something in mind, go ahead and go for it. And if you don’t find a solution ... ask somebody.” Although his barbershop’s doors are still shuttered, Ramirez has been able to market and sell his product to people in his business and others.
A New York woman shares the story of her “beautiful reunion” with her pet parrot after the exotic bird flew away while the pair were taking a stroll through a local park. Lenah Alshowaiman, the owner of the 2-year-old African grey parrot named Zoya, was devastated after Zoya flew away when an ambulance drove by with loud sirens. Just one day – and hours of searching for the bird – later, however, Alshowaiman received a call from a woman in upper Manhattan who said that the unique bird had startled her son when it landed on his windowsill. “That Zoya landed in a nice household made me burst into tears,” Alshowaiman tells Yahoo Life after receiving the call and reuniting with her bird. “She is a [forever] companion.”
Although many people are finding it difficult to find joy in the same things we used to as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Yahoo Life Mental Health Contributor Dr. Jen Hartstein assures readers that it’s not impossible. “‘Joy’ can mean so many different things to many people. For me, at its core, it means being fulfilled, finding engagement, allowing it to help you with connection,” says Hartstein. “Those are the things that give back to us. Anything that kind of fits that category might be something that’s ‘joyous’ for you.” Hartstein suggests that it’s normal to feel “down” at times during this crisis. However, she encourages people to be cognizant of those moods to make sure they’re not indicative of something more serious.
For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.
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