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I’ve never been very good at completing those “30 days of gratitude” lists people do in November, but if there’s ever been a year when we need to purposefully find the good around us and be grateful for it, this is the time.
Many of the things we look forward to during the holiday season aren’t going to be the same this year, and that can make holidays especially difficult. The loss of a tradition, or having someone missing from the Thanksgiving table, or not being able to do things the way you normally would is stressful.
It’s been a long time since I played the piano, but I remember learning the difference between the major and minor keys. In a very simplified sense, a song that’s written in a major key has a happy, cheerful sound, and a song written in a minor key sounds gloomy and sad. If 2020 was a song, it would be in a minor key. Played with a missing key, a broken string or two, and a cat screeching in the background.
Sad songs have their place in the world, but if you listen to nothing but sad songs, don’t be surprised if you find yourself feeling down. So if the whole year is in a minor key, how can we change our tune personally and avoid falling into the pit of despair? We’ve baked, we’ve learned new hobbies or picked up forgotten ones, we’ve added healthy habits (hopefully), read books, done household renovations. What can we keep doing, everyday, to keep going? I keep coming back to gratitude.
I know it sounds cliché, especially this week, but it works. Look around and find something to be thankful for. Anything. I’m thankful for the Thanksgiving cactus in my office that bloomed this week (yes, there is such a thing as a Thanksgiving cactus, and it’s slightly different from a Christmas cactus).
I’m thankful for my neighbors down the street who put up their Christmas lights early this year.
And I’m thankful there is some good news on the horizon. Vaccines that appear to be highly effective have been developed in a miraculously short time and could become available as soon as next month. If nothing else has gone right during this pandemic, that might be the one bright spot.
Those vaccines won’t be here on time to stop the wave we’re currently riding, but they might be here in time to prevent the next one if we buckle down and do the things we’ve been asked to do. We know how to slow the spread of this illness.
And, by the way, I’m thankful for all of you, our readers and our advertisers and subscribers. You’re the reason we keep doing this crazy thing, week after week. Stay safe out there.
By NIKI TURNER – firstname.lastname@example.org