Monday, November 23, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020: Gratitude in the Time of Covid

Every year I sit down to write a Thanksgiving post, and some years it's harder than others to come up with a list of gratitudes. But this's 2020.

And despite environmental concerns, unprecedented wildfires, political and social conflicts, a global pandemic, and not being able to hug friends and family...yes, there is still much  for which to be grateful this year.

For starters, I'm grateful to live where I do, near a perfect sandy beach on the Salish Sea. In late January I started doing almost weekly plunges in the sea within about 10 minutes from my home. 

While my nearby beach is not a warm, tropical spot, it's thrilling to wade in offshore, then plunge into the chilly sea. It makes me feel like I've done something epic, even though often I'm swimming for less than 30 seconds. 

It's the ultimate Zen experience, being completely in the moment, shocked and exhilarated by the cold saltwater. I highly recommend giving it a try if you can.

Plunge buddies

As a self-employed business owner who works out of my home, I'm grateful to have several projects to work on this year. And honestly, working from home is not a change or adjustment for me. I've made my living out of my home office for over a decade.

I miss weekly mornings working at a few local coffeeshops/teahouses, where a friend often parked at the table beside me with his laptop too. It eased my cabin fever and was nice to be around others. I'm grateful all my favorite spots have managed to stay in business during this difficult time.

Thursday mornings at Miro Tea. Next year again?

I'm grateful that (so far) most of my friends and all my family have stayed covid-free. One good friend suffered from covid-19, but she was never hospitalized and is doing better after several months struggling to regain her breath and energy. For her improved health, I'm grateful.

I'm grateful for the friends I've gotten out hiking and kayaking with this year.
And for the power and joy of being out in nature here in the scenic Pacific Northwest. All that forest bathing and expansive landscapes and seascapes have been a strong balm to help ease the stresses of this year.

And I've caught myself in moments recently just feeling grateful for the precious gift of this life. In my office today, it hit me again. There was nothing extraordinary about sitting at my desk, but I felt gratitude for the everyday, of being here to experience life in all its imperfect, messy beauty.

So while I'm at it, here are few more things I'm thankful for:
-New friends

-Poetry, which is so apt this year to capture the ethos of this time

-Acts of kindness and compassion, to which I aspire

-Zoom and other video conferencing and livestreaming. I know it's not perfect, but it has been calming to see people's faces while catching up and "attending" book clubs, on-line events, and more.

-The joy of cooking. I've had some fun experimenting this year (although no sourdough yet). And also the joy of take-out to support some of my favorite local cafes and restaurants.

French toast a la Brewster

-The Marine Mammal Rescue Centre and Vancouver Aquarium up in B.C. for rescuing orphaned baby sea otter Joey this past summer and then livestreaming his growth into a healthy, happy otter meeting new otter friends at the aquarium. The volunteers are upbeat and diligent, and people all over the world have been watching.

Joey napping

So here's to giving thanks, even if at times this year it has been hard to feel it. I write this partly to remind myself, too. 

May you have a safe, happy holiday season. I'd love to hear some things you're grateful for, too, in a comment below!

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