It’s Thanksgiving here in the US. In addition to stuffing ourselves with turkey and cranberry sauce, it’s tradition to show appreciation for the people we care about and the things we have. This year, for some of us, it will be a hard day. Loved ones have been lost, illness has plagued entire households, jobs have disappeared. In our family, we won’t be able to spend Thanksgiving or the Christmas holiday with two of our children who live on the other side of the country. In no way do I want to minimize the terrible toll the virus has taken on people all over the world. But, I do think when we look back on the COVID pandemic, we may discover we’ve learned a few things about what’s truly important, and we may have found a few things along the way that we’d like to keep for the future.
We’ve been living in the midst of the pandemic for about nine months now, and we’re about to enter the winter season with cases of the virus soaring. There is a hope on the horizon, in the form of a vaccine, which looks like it will help move this strange time into the rearview mirror sometime next year. Even so, this moment in time, this pause in our normal lives, will have a lasting impact. This Thanksgiving, I’m choosing to purposefully reflect on the positive, and imagine my hopes for the future.
It’s a small world after all.
In my non-writing life, I’ve had the privilege of working with educators all over the world in preparation for opening schools this past fall. The dedication to the health, safety, and emotional well-being of the children was inspiring. It brought to light very clearly that we are all in this together. This virus has touched the entire human race. The decisions we make, the care we show for one another has global implications.
Enough is actually plenty.
When the pandemic first hit, and we weren’t sure what financial impact it would have on our family, we sat down together and talked about what was truly essential. Turns out, to have enough, we didn’t need all that much. The exercise of prioritizing and simplifying felt empowering and helped show us we’d be okay. Together, we’d figure out how to support one another and get to the other side of this challenge.
Simplicity is freeing.
One of the things I enjoyed most about this past summer was the fact that I couldn’t travel. I know, it sounds strange. After all, I count on summer travel to Comic Cons and other events for book sales. Not being able to participate certainly hit my bottom line. But, summer in our part of the world is beautiful, and we have a terrific piece of property that is generally underused in the summertime. This year, we hosted small groups for outdoor, socially spaced barbecues, swam daily, roasted marshmallows around the fire pit, and spent entire days outdoors. It was wonderful. We took walks and hiked. We had meals together nearly every day. It was simple, and it was lovely.
As we move toward what we all hope will be the end of this pandemic, I hope some things will be changed for the better. I hope we’ll emerge on the other side of this trying time more patient, more appreciative of the small things, more focused on what really matters. I hope we’ll make choices thoughtfully, and consider how our choices impact those around us. I hope we’ll help support the most vulnerable members of our community. I hope we’ll take better care of our environment. I hope we’ll continue to live simply. I hope we’ll learn to better recognize the difference between our needs and our wants. And, I hope we’ll stand outside in the sun and realize that every day is a gift.
Happy Thanksgiving wonderful writing community!