What I’m Thankful For

I spent a lot of time this weekend thinking about the things I’m thankful for. I’ll be honest– I’m struggling to feel good about the world these days, as much as I’m grateful for the many things I have. A good friend just found out his wife has cancer, and I’m devastated for him. So many people have lost loved ones this year, and so many are spending this holiday season alone.  And while that makes me treasure what I have even more, that gratitude is mixed with guilt. It’s not that I think I’m to blame for the suffering of others, but I see this country growing more and more unequal every day — so the comforts I have really do mean that others have less. I do what I can to volunteer my time, to donate to good causes, and to be there for friends and family.  But in the face of what’s happening right now, it feels like so little.

What am I thankful for?  My husband of nearly 20 years, who’s supportive and funny and generous, and who knows me better than anyone else in the world. My home, for being a place we could comfortably quarantine in this year without driving each other crazy. My family, especially my parents, who thankfully remain in good health. My job, which is challenging and meaningful, and importantly, lets me work from home rather than risk my health. For the extra time we’ve had this year with our cats, who won’t be with us forever. For the time to read and blog, and for the friendships I’ve built around reading.

I’m grateful for the city I live in, especially for the walking trails and parks near my home. My daily walks this year have kept me sane, and the natural beauty that surrounds me is something I never take for granted. I’ve spent the year taking photos of my walks, and I’m hoping some of those photos will be worth using in some way.

And I’m thankful we’ll have a new President and VP soon! While it doesn’t change the underlying problems this country is facing, it’s much better than the alternative. 

Thanksgiving can be a mixed bag for a lot of reasons — problematic history related to Native Americans, family tensions, and this year, COVID. In recent years, I’ve spent Thanksgiving in Maryland with my father and extended family.  It’s been a day to reconnect, to share favorite dishes, to bond over the occasional cooking disaster.  I’ll really miss them this year.  But I’m thankful for friends and for family who feel close even if we can’t be in the same room. I’m thankful that this difficult year has actually helped me build stronger relationships with some of my family, though I regret that COVID and politics have created tensions with other family members. I hope we can resolve some of that in 2021.

I’m extremely thankful for the plentiful food on my table. I encourage anyone who can give to food banks this year to do so, or feel free to suggest other options — so many people are going without right now.

This year has made me slow down and appreciate the many things I have. Thank you so much for reading, and I wish all of you a happy holiday season, whatever form it takes.

  2 comments for “What I’m Thankful For

  1. November 25, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    Wonderful post. Amidst the turmoil and uncertainty, it is so important to literally count our blessings. Like you family, home, job are all what makes me smile, and thankful that our country has the opportunity to heal under new leadership.

    Take care, stay healthy, and Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. November 26, 2020 at 8:35 am

    Great post! I’m also thankful that I live in a place with walking trails. That’s the only time I get out of the house! And it’s nice to see the deer and coyotes and whatever else is out there.

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