I’m doing a lot of things this Thanksgiving that I haven’t done in a while – if ever. I’m watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, something that I honestly don’t really like. I’ve always just thought of it as huge parade of commercials with lip synching thrown in between the bad puns and failing attempts to look diverse. (Hi, I’m Chandler and I hate the Thanksgiving Day Parade.)
There’s no big family gatherings planned. However, I will be lucky enough to see my parents and sister. The only upside to being medically unable to return to the classroom in person has been the ability to see my COVID at risk parents because we’ve all stayed home since March. There are a lot of people that won’t be seeing anyone they love – and haven’t, in actual months, plural. I get that my day is something truly special.
To say that 2020 has been a dumpster fire is the understatement of the year. I prefer to call it a landfill fire. But there is beauty in this landfill fire: more than any other year I have found the little things that for which I am thankful.
- Internet access
- My book hoarding
- Impulse decisions
- Talented artists
- Snapchat streaks
- Free time to do nothing
- Teaching in-person
- Tik Tok
- Hot chocolate in my favorite mug
- Instagram friendships
You see a silly list I’m sure. Where is the family and friends, home, health and work? Those things aren’t on this list because this is my list of newly discovered things. I’ve honestly been thankful for the HUGE life MAKING things all my life.
I have always known I was lucky to have a caring family that is mostly functional in the way families can be. My family has been extremely fortunate not to be touched by abuse, loss, and catastrophe. We’ve had the passing of grand parents, in their 90’s. We’ve weathered job losses and seasons where we had to go without, but we were able to bounce back. I was aware early on, that this is not a common experience. So I’ve been thankful for this.
I have written here before about my gratefulness for my friends. I spent most of my life trying to find supportive and loving friends. It took me over half my life thus lived to be able to count people among my chosen family. The fact that I still don’t have a partner to share any part of my life with helps to bring this fact to heart everyday.
Being able to see, hear, walk, climb (rocks…and sometimes men), dance, and taste are also on my always thankful list. I’ve lost some parts of those abilities over the years and I’m the owner of some chronic illnesses so there was no need for me to suddenly rejoice in these. The loss of live concerts, the ability to eat at my favorite restaurants, go to Earth Treks and hit a party make the fact I can enjoy these things in some way at home.
Likewise, I have always been grateful that I have a job I believe in, regardless of the frustration and challenge it brings. But it also brings me unique experiences with my students and the ability to afford a home, energy, food, and the occasional splurge, and the luxury of travel. And coming home to my three furry family member, Wyatt, Sookie and Nugget has always brought me immense joy. Everything is better when the pups are around and the cat is silent.
No, I haven’t taken any of the life making things for granted. But the tiny little things weren’t on my radar.
So this year I’m thankful for the tiny little things that have made life better and this quarantine COVID life bearable. Social media that has brought me new friends and interests, laughs and ideas. The internet has allowed me to continue to teach, reach out to friends across the world, and see what’s happening in the world – for better or worse.
I’ve also realized that the impulses I have to do things is not the worst thing. Sure it has caused me to say or do things that have not been the smartest. But it has also given me my best friends, travel, job and my three pets. My life is filled with people, animals, photos and memories because I impulsively do things. It has lead to a life I’ve looked back on during this year with happiness and eagerness to return to.
So this Thanksgiving, I’m saying a thank you to all the little things I never thought about, while never losing sight of the major stuff I’ve always cherished.