If you reflect on every holiday season you’ve had in your life, some memories are sweeter than others. Our lives oscillate between times of feast and famine, and the holiday season has a way of exacerbating the overall sentiment of the year.
Last year around this same time, I felt especially grateful. I even wrote a blog post about it. While last year’s post is more reflective of my nature, I would be lying if I said I felt the same way this year. As I read it, I feel as if I sound naive or immature. Of course, I don’t have the gift foresight, so I never in a million years could have predicted what 2020 could hold.
This year has a different lens. I haven’t been able to laugh with co-workers in months. I deeply miss my grandparents who won’t be able to join us for the holidays. I wish I could see my childhood home one last time before my parents move out at the end of the year.
We’re all feeling loss or grief of some size or scale this year. And it’s really hard not to strap into the roller coaster of emotions that this year has heaved into our laps. While I believe that sitting with our tough feelings is a natural part of the human experience, I also believe that we can simultaneously search for the diamond in the coal. So, this Thanksgiving, I have a few recommendations to help you find gratitude, even if you have to search high and low.
- Focus on what you do have. There is absolutely nothing that could replace my Mimi’s antics. But this year, she learned to FaceTime. I’m so grateful that I can still see her face and hear her voice three states away. I get to see her and Papa, watch them cook their meal and share how thankful I am that they are protecting their health. I have technology as a way to connect with people I love and to make the most of our shared experiences.
- Think ahead. Yes, my parents are selling my childhood home in Florida. That comes with some sadness and sentimentality. But, they’re going to be living substantially closer to me in fewer than six months. Soon, I’ll be able to visit them for weekend trips, and they can come to Memphis much more often. I’m grateful that, in the near future, we’ll be physically closer than we’ve been in 10 years.
- Remember nothing is permanent. In January, I’ll be back in the office with my peers. Even with distance and masks, it will be incredible to hear their voices and see their faces again. This time of separation was temporary, and we’re only a few months away from reuniting.
- Knowledge is a gift. We have all learned a lot this year. I learned so much about my husband, Nathan, from spending uninterrupted time together. I’ve learned that I can adapt my plans more than I ever thought I could. I learned that having your health is everything. And I am grateful for these examples and all of the things I’ve learned this year.
We’ve all experienced 2020 differently and have walked away with unique appreciation for what we’ve learned in the process. Throughout the month of November, the Obsidian team will share stories of gratitude from 2020 every Tuesday starting Nov. 3. I hope you’ll follow along with us and try to find your gratitude this season.