As November is the month for giving thanks, in reflecting upon 2020, I was faced with a conundrum – How does one give thanks amidst a global pandemic? And, is it appropriate to be thankful during this time?
There are those many whose lives have been lost, and the countless sick, but also, America is in the midst of great turmoil. Each day, I think we all wake up with the question: “What else could possibly go wrong?”
I’d rather not think about that, so I will instead offer my “Top 5 Things to be Thankful For”:
- The friends and family lifeline. This year, perhaps more so than at any other time in the past, I have been in ongoing contact with family and friends. We are communicating far more often than pre-pandemic, and even though we may not physically see each other, the group texts without end, extended phone calls and the lengthy e-mails have made me greatly appreciate all those who I am fortunate to have in my life.
- We were able to push the “reset” button. Face it, life had been flying by at warp speed before the first COVID droplet ever hit the U.S., but when that happened, everything stopped, stalled and was issued a cease and desist order. I don’t know about you, but the past nine months have provided me with many opportunities to reflect upon what is truly important in life – and also, what is not.
- I reconnected with nature. This was not by choice. I am an avid gym goer, but when those were shuttered, I was forced to find ways to exercise – outside. At first, the thought of riding my cobwebbed, dusty bike was foreign, but I quickly regained my sense of balance and leg strength. Living in Palm Springs, we are flush with a number of amazing hiking trails which really opened my lungs and eyes to the wealth of beauty found in nature.
- We were given a reminder of the importance of humility. While watching the nightly news, I cannot tell you the number of times I was silenced by the sobering images of body bags being kept in refrigeration units; the countless families, their pain exposed on a national level; the faces of doctors whose cheeks were blistered by wearing PPE. It is very humbling to see all this going on, and to understand and appreciate that it could just as easily be you and your loved ones. I hope I have gained a greater sense of empathy for the pain and suffering of my fellow humans.
- I got married. You didn’t think I’d end a piece about thanks on a note of sadness, so here’s the happy ending. At the tender age of 59, I finally got married – for the first time in my life! Going through this year made me acutely aware of the importance of seizing every moment, of alleviating myself of the fears that in the past may have restricted me, and of the importance of being the moment – for however long that time may last. So, hallelujah, I am thankful for tying the knot.
As I write, I find there are so many more things I am thankful for. Yes, it has been an incredibly weird, absolutely strange and totally unforgettable time (try though I may), but amidst all this chaos, there is a silver lining. And, I have discovered, these “linings” are the greatest gifts we can be thankful for.