I know 2020 has been one for the books. It’s been a crazy year, full of anxiety, annoyance, laughs, cries and just a roller coaster of emotions. I remember thinking when quarantine began in March, what a great amount of time I would have, but as we grow closer to the end of the year, I feel like these months have flown right by me. I know around Thanksgiving it’s cliché to express what you are most grateful or thankful for, but after THIS YEAR, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity. So, here are the things that keep me grounded and grateful not just this week but every day.
Not just my own, but my entire family’s. In March we all took turns with what we thought was a horrible sinus infection/cold. Because no one was having difficulties breathing or a fever over 101 we assured ourselves that it wasn’t COVID and there was no need to risk contracting it by going out for testing or to a doctor’s appointment. At the end of July my mom got pretty sick as I mentioned in an hour to breathe. Horrible stomach issues and on and off fever, similar to what she was experiencing in March only worse. Turns out her and I both tested positive for antibodies, and though we can’t say for sure, it is highly possible that we had COVID-19 in March. I don’t take health lightly anymore. I have so much gratitude for the ability to easily breathe. I lost dear ones because of COVID-19. I watched healthy peers and colleagues deteriorate and fall ill because of it. In my gospel voice “I count it all joy” to be alive and well.
I’m the biggest critic of this. I’m quick to say, “I don’t want to do this if it’s a waste of time.” But what exactly is a waste of time? Some may perceive watching reality TV or talking on the phone to a friend for hours a waste of time. Others may view spending hours on Pinterest or playing in the park a waste of time. Pre/mid-pandemic I considered a waste of time engaging in an activity that wasn’t beneficial to my goals. Now I realize that my well-being is the best thing that could ever contribute to my short- and long-term goals. So many times, we miss the journey while focusing too hard on the end result. I’ve enjoyed watching reality tv, playing with Oakley and making time for myself (even if it’s looking up Pinterest recipes I’ll probably never cook). I don’t know how much actual time I have, so instead of focusing on not wasting it, I just want to make sure I spend it happily, with the ones who want to spend their time with me.
Even during this period of social distancing, I found that through zoom, facetime and other sources of technology I feel more connected to family and friends than ever before. Even you who are reading this, you’re a part of my community and I appreciate you. I’m grateful for my NYU family that I still keep in contact with even post-graduation. The support of the BYW I Come to Breathe Community is unbelievable and the strangers who’ve become friends through the Aurelia Michael Living Challenge is surreal. I have shoulders to lean on not just here in New York, but all around the world. My parents, in laws, husband, daughter, aunts, uncles, sister cousins, and friends are all here for me even if it's a call or text away.
Look, 2020 has been tough but guess what? We’re here. God saw fit to keep us here while so many have left us without a goodbye. I’m grateful for so many things but let’s be real I would develop carpel tunnel typing them all. So, the last thing I’ll share with you is that I’m thankful for the opportunity to keep going, keep dreaming, keep reaching and keep being just who I was created to be. I get the chance to love a little harder, have more patience, be gentler with myself and somehow make a difference in this world. I hope that if you’re feeling uneasy, or saddened during this Thanksgiving holiday, you’ll remember how much value you bring to this earth just by being you. Let me know how it goes.
Love ya and Happy Thanksgiving,