Giving Thanks in an Unsettling Year

Even though I try to feel gratitude regularly, as we sit down for a Thanksgiving meal in November, like most people, I take more time to think about what I'm really grateful for in my life. And this year, exceptional in every other way, is no exception. We really have a lot to be thankful for, although a lot of it might not be things you normally stop to appreciate.

This year, I'm going to share what I'm grateful for that might not normally be on a list like this. Don't get me wrong, I'm still grateful for my family and friends, my roof over my head, things like that. This list is a little different.

1. First Responders, Doctors and Nurses.

Of course we appreciate them any time we need their services. They are often heroic, and always on-call, even on the holidays we all enjoy. This year, we have needed their services more than most years. Even if your life hasn't been directly touched by COVID-19, spend a moment to be thankful that they are there for those who have needed them desperately.

2. Jobs, Work and Customers.

Many people have lost their jobs this past year, so if you have one, be glad of it, even if it means you have to go to work bright and early on the morning of Black Friday. Others don't have that opportunity and would gladly take it. Every harried holiday-shopper is a customer, and they deserve thanks, whether they are purchasing in a shop or over the internet. I am thankful for each and every BRUSH ON BLOCK® customer!

3. Zoom and FaceTime.

Is your Thanksgiving table a little smaller this year? Mine is! So instead of saying "no electronics at the table," we are welcoming a tablet or laptop. We can share our meal with loved ones that we couldn't go see this year. If you think watching each other eat is a little odd, you can have a post-meal get-together, catch up on what was on the menu and who burned what side-dish. It's not the same as being there, but it can be a lot of fun.

4. Face Masks.

Sure, they can be a pain, but they have given us a lot of our freedom back. By wearing one and being smart (hand washing and distancing), you can actually go to the grocery store, the post office, nearly anyplace outside of your house. I personally am looking forward to not only staying COVID-free, but also flu-free and (dare I hope), even common-cold-free this winter.

5. Pets.

Wonderful all the time, pets have taken on even more importance during this global pandemic. Working from home is more pleasant with a fuzzy friend curled up at your feet. They offer you unconditional support and get you outside every now and again for a much needed walk. They never complain about who jammed the printer, they really are delightful co-workers!

6. Humor.

I don't know about you, but all I could watch from March through June was comedy. Schitt's Creek, Space Force, The Daily Show, Grace and Frankie, rerun after rerun of The Office...I needed it. I'm glad it was there to keep me sane, and I still need a daily dose of funny. I imagine I will continue to need it until spring at least! 

7. All of us.

It hasn't always felt like it, but we are all in this together. We'll get out of it together, with cooperation and (I hope) some humor. Maybe you don't agree with all of the changes we are asked to make, but there's almost nothing everyone agrees on anyway. Right now, kindness to each other goes a long way. A head-nod at a stranger (they can't see your smile!), a door held open, allowing someone in front of you in traffic--these little gestures remind us that we are in this together.