Can we all agree that while this year seemed to be the longest year in our lives, it has also passed very quickly? Just like that, the end of the year is near as Thanksgiving is only a week away. And while we are taking Covid-cautious measures to ensure the safety and well-being of our family members and ourselves, I think we should take a moment to give thanks to what we have gained this year while we pledge to keep our gatherings small.
This holiday gathering will most likely not be in the traditional setting we have grown accustomed to throughout our lives. This month in itself was laced with ups and downs (and ups again) of the presidential election, as well as watching the news report that Covid numbers are on the rise again. Almost each one of us knows of someone who has been impacted by the virus, whether they had it or lost someone close to them because of it. Maybe they lost their job. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe you were forced to do virtual learning and the lack of structure has gotten you down. Even with all of that, we should keep in mind that we truly never know what is planned for us tomorrow, so it’s important to take in each day with appreciation and to be mindful of the blessings we do have while we navigate through this life.
So what have we learned these last eight months? Hopefully, many of us have gained a new sense of appreciation for healthcare workers and medical first responders. They put their lives on the line to make sure we get better.
Hopefully we see essential workers in our stores and gas stations and acknowledge the hard work they have always done for us.
We understand the stress and anguish our teachers have always endured while working under budget cuts and lack of supplies, and they are those who truly work tirelessly as they provide guidance and support for children who are having to learn from home now.
And to our grocery and food delivery people who risk their own lives in the outside elements to bring us our orders (Don’t forget to tip them well.) These people were always rockstars, but now we really know the value to the work they’ve provided us.
We have found a new way to view the world, completely aware of our responsibility in ensuring the safety of those around us.
We have limited our events, as well as the amount of people at gatherings, making sure that only those closest to us remain near. Wedding have gone from 500 invitees to an extravagant and over-priced spectacle, to small family backyard gatherings with attached Zoom guests watching with smiles.
We went from not being able to find masks anywhere to not forgetting to put on our home-made masks we keep extras of in the car when we run our errands. And while we still pull them off after we leave the store like we just came out of an eight hour intensive surgery, we still carry on, knowing that our masks worn properly is saving someone’s life. It has become our superhero cape, but instead of draped across our back, it dons upon our face. Our masks allow us to literally save the world. Think about that the next time you complain about having to wear it – you’re literally a superhero now.
Many of us have become amazing chefs, seamstresses and organizers. Our houses never smelled so fragrant with banana bread baked from scratch, looked so polished with our hand-made curtains and reupholstered dining room chairs, and been so organized with only one junk drawer left rather than the six there used to be in the kitchen.
This year has been a whirlwind of emotions: Confusion, sadness, grief, some relief at times, anxiety, and a lot of anger. But even with all of those emotions, maybe we can take this time during the month of November and focus on the positive.
We are close to a vaccine with 95% efficacy, and the treatments for Covid patients are becoming better.
Our children are really working hard in virtual school, ensuring their safe health, as well as for our teachers.
We are thankful for the virtual mental health options, like therapies and hotlines, which keep us together when we feel like falling apart.
We are thankful for our friends and families because we truly are in the same boat. Now is the time when we need to start focusing on what we have in common, rather than what divides us. While we may have been thrown a ton of curve balls filled with negativity, we managed to dodge each one of them – together.
While Thanksgiving is next week and you may be disappointed that social gatherings are limited to a small number of guests, please remember that keeping your small circle with you this year will ensure future gatherings and celebrations for us all in the years to come.
This past year seemed pretty crazy at times, but knowing that we are all in this together has made us stronger. And for that, I am thankful.