2020 has been a difficult year, with the pandemic forcing people around the world to isolate from friends and family for long periods of time. On top of that, things we once took for granted, like grocery shopping, going to the movies or eating at a restaurant have all become more difficult.
Hardships have a way of humbling us, however, and as we approach Thanksgiving here in the United States there are plenty of things to feel grateful for as we head into the holiday season.
Friends and family.
The stress of daily life can be time consuming. Commuting to work, meeting deadlines, coming home, cooking dinner, cleaning, and those with children frequently supervise homework and other household activities with your kids. Your work and personal relationships can consume almost all of your time. And that’s all before you think about yourself to unwind, or exercise.
Sometimes friends and family aren’t your key focus when your work is stressful. The thing about friends and family, however, is that they’re always there for you when you need them.
Here are the things we are especially grateful for this Thanksgiving season.
The world turned upside down in 2020, and we’ve all had to find new ways to do things. Working in closed offices was not an option for a lot of people, and remote work took off. IT departments around the world had to turn on a dime and quickly get people up to speed at home to maintain business continuity.
At the same time, we’ve had to find new ways to connect with family, friends and co-workers. Happy hours with co-workers were replaced with video meetings. Visiting family for holidays or birthdays turned into long video chats or drive-by celebrations with signs and balloons.
Some households devised clever 12-foot candy shoots for trick-or-treaters to deliver individually wrapped treats to children while maintaining distance. And dinner and a movie turned into DoorDash and Netflix.
We’re grateful to all the people who made these transitions easier, from helping us get our work done to coming up with ingenious ways to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and more virtually or distanced.
We have seen immeasurable amounts of kindness expressed by healthcare workers on the front lines and from those supporting friends and loved ones to overcome great challenges. Thankfully, people have shown great kindness towards each other to try to make other people’s lives a little bit easier during these unprecedented times.
From people around the world honoring their first responders to communities banding together to create rent payment programs and hold fundraisers to help those in need, there are many examples to show how kindness and generosity are making a big difference for those who are in need.
For a change of scenery while staying close to home, many people have gone for a scenic drive, visited an uncrowded beach, hiking trail, river, or lake. Others enjoyed the summer weekends camping or staying in an Airbnb or cabin in the woods. And some have re-connected with nature in other ways such as gardening in their back yards.
Using this time to re-discover the natural world around us has not only provided a beautiful change of scenery from our homes but it has also made us extremely grateful for all of the natural beauty around us that we can see more clearly while our lives are less cluttered.
It’s quite easy to feel like you’re invincible in your day to day life, especially when you’re younger. This comes into sharp focus during a pandemic, which reminds us all how quickly and easily something like a virus can move from person to person.
From following recommendations like washing our hands for 20 seconds, wearing a mask, or maintaining six feet between people, we’ve learned to be grateful for those who are helping us and others to stay safe and healthy.
Many of us have found time we didn’t have before to work out, go for walks, and explore making new, healthy recipes to fortify ourselves.
It’s been difficult to stop sharing hugs with all of our friends and family this year, but we are even more grateful for their love and support, and we’ll never take a hug for granted again.
Here’s wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving as we find many reasons to feel deep gratitude this year.