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 100 good things that happened in 2020 so far, compiled by USA TODAY’s Life staff, in no particular order.
A 103-year-old grandma beat COVID-19 and celebrated with a Bud Light.
Drive-in movie theaters made a comeback.
Drive-in concerts are a thing now (which is great news for those missing live music, or those who don’t like crowds anyway).
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.
Tom Brady ripped his pants. (Sorry, Tom, but we really needed the laugh.)
Restaurants shared their secret recipes so we could make them at home.
John Krasinski made good news go viral with “Some Good News.”
A family perfectly re-created Journey’s “Separate Ways” music video and it’s incredible.
Restaurants got awesomely creative to enforce social distancing including pool noodle hats, bumper boats and dapper mannequin guests.
A squirrel mastered a Ninja Warrior obstacle course, proving that squirrels are more amazing than we thought.
Two lovable Labradors, Olive and Mabel, gave a sports-less world some adorable “athletic” competition in videos narrated by British broadcaster Andrew Cotter. They got a book deal!
This opera performed to a beautiful audience of house plants and then donated the plants to health care workers.
People around the country brushed up on their sewing skills, making masks for people who need them most.
“Tiger King” somehow connected us.
Lady Gaga gave us a new album for sweaty dance-floor fun – in our living rooms.
Dua Lipa single-handedly saved pop music.
Then Carly Rae Jepsen did it again with her new album.
The Chicks returned after 14 years with “Gaslighter” and reignited our love of twangy empowerment songs.
Demi Lovato made a comeback with her Grammy performance, followed by a flawless delivery of the national anthem at the Super Bowl. Then she got engaged.
People got creative about reimagined vacations, including our own staff.
Americans rushed to adopt and foster pets in need amid the pandemic.
Sure, we might have gained a little weight, but we rediscovered our love for old hobbies like baking and gardening.
And when it comes to baking, we got really creative by turning tiny pancakes into cereal and so much more.
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.
Puzzles and board games became cool again and offered a much-needed break from our screens. There are even games you can play over Zoom!
Your favorite Disney Channel stars from childhood had major glow-up moments after overcoming challenges.
TikTok blew up and our boredom was cured (well, at least some of our time during quarantine was filled learning dances and watching endless hours of these short videos).
Also, TikTok gave us Tabitha Brown who soothes us with her calming voice and motivational speeches. These Black creators are bringing joy too.
This marketing team at a retirement community in Connecticut delivered sweet surprises to their residents every Friday.
This denture-stealing dog made us laugh.
This dolphin tried befriending these dogs.
This surfer saved a stranded dog.
Netflix’s elaborate “Floor Is Lava” competition brought us back to the imaginary game of our childhoods. More reality TV games are helping us cope.
Distilleries, both small and large, around the country used their resources to produce badly needed hand sanitizer.
Brad Paisley bought beer for these interracial friends who asked their community to “relax and have a beer.”
Stanley Tucci made a Negroni in an inexplicably soothing video and we just really needed it.
Ina Garten made a cocktail, too, and we related to it’s massive size. “It’s “always cocktail hour in a crisis,” she said.
Major companies such as 3M and Apple pooled resources or shifted production to make millions of masks to help keep people safe.
Ford, GM, Tesla and other automakers were able to make ventilators and other medical devices to help with the pandemic.
The Life is Good brand figured out a way to keep its T-shirt making business going safety amid the pandemic — and in return, keeps optimism thriving in a difficult time as well. Life is still good.
Crayola launched a box of crayons with diverse skin colors for children to “accurately color themselves into the world.”
Amazon introduced fun new boxes that can be turned into a cat fort or robot costume.
We learned that homeschooling is HARD and finally recognized teachers for the heroes that they are.
Health care workers and essential workers. Also heroes.
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered”: Museums got creative when reopening.
NASA named its Washington, D.C. headquarters after Mary W. Jackson, its first Black female engineer.
Birdwatching? Yes, please.
Bike trails became one of the few places in the country that were open.
Zoom flubs brought comedic relief, like this ABC reporter who forgot to put on pants.
Ellen DeGeneres hilariously taught us how to appropriately wash our hands.
This FedEx worker disinfected a package for a girl with autoimmune disorder.
This runner completed an entire marathon on his porch.
We came up with creative ways to celebrate big milestones like drive-by birthdays and Zoom parties.
This toddler still found a way to have weekly playdates with his grandparents through a window. Seriously, so sweet.
Twelve-year-old Keedron Bryant went viral for his powerful song about being a young Black man in America. He got a record deal.
A 6-year-old boy saved his little sister from an attacking dog and celebrities rallied around him.
For the first time ever, the Academy Award for best picture went to an international feature film: “Parasite.”
Brad Pitt charmed us with jokes during awards season. He also won his first Oscar and made a hunky Anthony Fauci.
Laura Dern won her first Oscar.
Billie Eilish swept the Grammys and announced a new single.
Alicia Keys as Grammys host gave us a much-needed moment of comfort following the death of Kobe Bryant.
Then Keys did it again as host of Nickelodeon’s “Kids, Race and Unity,” helping us have important conversations with children about racism and police brutality.
A “Friends” reunion, finally! (It’s delayed because of coronavirus, but you can still rewatch all of the sitcom on HBO Max until then.)
A “Bachelor” for seniors is in the works and we are SO HERE FOR IT.
Love is still blossoming amid quarantine thanks to drones, digital dinners and an inflatable plastic bubble.
After casting 40 seasons of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” ABC finally cast its first Black male lead, Matt James.
Kate McKinnon and Elizabeth Warren flipped the switch and it was amazing.
The cast of “Parks and Recreation” reunited to raise money for families in need and bring smiles to us all.
Celebrities surprised graduates at virtual commencement ceremonies.
A Wendy’s manager helped a truck driver get some food amid the pandemic.
A principal surprised each of his 98 high school seniors with yard signs to make them feel special since celebrations were canceled amid coronavirus.
A stuffed puppy lost in the Cincinnati airport was returned to his family after spending days exploring the travel industry.
Beyoncé dropped some fierce surprises, like her Juneteenth track “Black Parade” and a trailer for “Lion King” inspired visual album, “Black Is King,” headed to Disney+ on July 31.
Taylor Swift dropped a surprise of her own — her 8th and possibly best ever studio album.
Ashley Graham, Jenna Dewan, Anderson Cooper and more stars welcomed the most adorable babies.
Speaking of babies, this couple welcomed identical quadruplets amid the coronavirus pandemic. It is high-risk and very rare, but the baby boys are thriving.
Eminem celebrated 12 years of sobriety. Miley Cyrus is sober too.
Smaller movies and hidden gems are suddenly at our fingertips (streaming!).
NBC saved joyful TV show “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” renewing it for another season just as our readers wanted per USA TODAY’s annual “Save Our Shows” survey!
Three words: “Hamilton” the movie. It lives up to the hype.
Virtual wine tastings! Because we can’t all afford to visit California or Italy, even if we weren’t in a pandemic.
We embraced our gray hair. Well, at least our books editor did.
At-home hair styles brought us much-needed laughs, like Ryan Reynold’s tiny ponytail.
We realized how much we love and need sports and its ability to unite us.
With toilet paper out of stock, bidets are booming which is good news for our behinds…and less wasteful.
Disney Family Singalongs entertained our kids for more than 5 minutes.
Musicians took to social media to give us personal concerts from home.
Late night talk show hosts continued to bring the funny from their homes, with adorable special guests — their kids.
Wearing sweatpants and tees became acceptable fashion choices all day, every day.
Weddings still happened over Zoom and it was beautiful.
People brought out their Christmas decorations to bring cheer during quarantine.
Speaking of Christmas, Carrie Underwood announced she’s bringing us a holiday album this year!
While coronavirus pushed many museums to close, it opened up their collections to audiences virtually. Sure, it’s still better to see art in person, but it’s not a bad way to spend your lunch break. Smithsonian, anyone?
You can also now virtually explore national parks, zoos, even Mars!
Or you can road trip! Our reporter learned to RV and then shared all the glorious details of how to do it with us.
We might not be watching them in theaters, but we still got some really good movies to watch.
Remarkable TV series in the first half of the year have brought a little light to a dark time.
Even while 2020 has been a total dumpster fire, the music that’s come out of it is anything but.
And the very best thing of all: PUPPY PICTURES!