Five Things I’m Grateful for this Thanksgiving

The isolation brought on by the pandemic has taken its toll on many of us, me included. As a result, rather than seeing the glass half full as I once did, I became a list maker of tiny gripes: endless emails, bad drivers, unreturned phone calls and year-late healthcare bills topped my list.

Thankfully, it didn’t take long to realize that focusing on the negative wasn’t helpful. So I recruited a “bliss buddy” with whom I began sharing what I was grateful for: the beauty of nature, the kindness of strangers and the compassion of friends made the list often.

So did my sister Karen who, for the past 152 days, has sent me a text each morning to remind me that I am both loved and lovable. Her kind words have become the background music of my days, often uplifting my spirits before I even realize they need it.

Here are four other things I am especially grateful for this Thanksgiving:

  • My aunt Caroline. In February 2020, I wrote my first Word Sisters blog post. It was about my aunt and uncle, both in their 90s. He had recently been hospitalized, she had recently suffered a stroke. While he has since died, she continues to thrive, despite having lost the ability to speak clearly or use the right side of her body. The last of my mother’s siblings, she’s an amazing role model whose light continues to shine bright and who shows me that I can age with gusto despite the challenges I may face.
  • My health and healthcare providers. I’ve taken my physical and mental health for granted my entire life. Then, one day in August 2020, despite routinely walking 10,000 steps a day, I could barely get myself around the block. After an MRI, I was told I needed to have my hip replaced. I opted for physical therapy instead and am now able to walk to my heart’s content once again. I also opted to see a mental health therapist. Her support keeps me grounded in the here and now yet gives me hope that I can—and will—change.
  • My book group. I’ve been a member of my book group going on three decades. During that time, one member was murdered by her husband, another died of cancer. Most of us have lost our parents, all of us are coming to terms with our own aging. Getting together every other month means meaningful conversations with women I trust who know both my good and bad qualities and who offer their unconditional love and support.
  • The ability to say no. I’ve been a people pleaser my whole life, afraid of disappointing others. That sometimes meant staying on committees that drained me, meeting friends for cocktails when I didn’t want to be drinking and driving across town in rush-hour traffic when I wanted to be curled up on the couch. The pandemic lessened the things I was invited to do and made it easier to say no to things that weren’t in line with my priorities.

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving? Please share.

6 thoughts on “Five Things I’m Grateful for this Thanksgiving

  1. What a meaningful list! Yes, the pandemic has inflicted horrors on all of us, one way or another. But it has also taught me to separate the important from the trivial, especially since my husband was diagnosed with cancer in the middle of it. So I am thankful for being determined enough to get him diagnosed even during the beginning of the Covid pandemic, when anything other than Covid wasn’t considered really important enough to deal with. I am thankful that he is in remission and healing after a long, hard, struggle. I am thankful for my healthy children and grandchildren, and for the ability to look forward to another one joining us in the next few weeks!

  2. Health is top of the list, followed by a loving husband, healthy adult sons, a beautiful home with acres of wild land for walking throughout our rural community. Thinking of our blessings is so uplighting! Hope your Thanksgiving was a lovely one, Bev!

  3. Bev, I’m grateful for YOU, my lifelong friend! In fact, as I develop a new online course about decision-making without regret, I find myself referring to you as a role model time and again.

    There is such power and freedom in living one’s truth and we do so through our daily decisions about who to spend time with, what to create and share, and when to rest. I am grateful for those million moments throughout my life when I have been guided to think and act in alignment with my truth, my core values; and I’m grateful for the teachings that resulted from the many moments when I did not.

    I smiled when I read that isolation has honed your ability to say no. As counterintuitive as that may seem on the surface, it’s really about being an exceptional student of life and letting the gift within a difficult situation reveal itself. You and your aunt Caroline have such resilience in common.

    In the spirit of your “Five things” headline, here are four more things Iʼm grateful for on this Thanksgiving Day, in addition to our friendship:

    🦃 well-functioning senses that allow me to experience the world (lost my sense of taste and smell temporarily in a mild bout of Covid and have a whole new level of appreciation for them now);

    🦃 the beauty of nature, from the potted plants on my patio to the clear blue sky that hosted six hot air balloons outside my widow this morning;

    🦃 my partner Aarón, who helps me to be my best self;

    🦃 and my karaoke community, a continuously evolving source of joy and amusement.

    Thank you for this post, and have a happy Thanksgiving, amiga!

  4. I like your list! I’m grateful for my two book groups and writers groups and the long-standing friendships with smart interesting women that have resulted. I’m also grateful to be in pretty good health.

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