20 Things I’m Thankful for in 2020

It’s been a wild year so far, and the next few weeks promise to continue be challenging. That’s why it feels even more important than ever to pause at Thanksgiving and consider blessings. Here, in no particular order, are things I’m thankful for today.

  1. The changing of the seasons. There is something soothing about the way no matter what, time passes, the leaves turn, and life goes on.
  2. Technology that allows us to continue connecting. I watched my church’s children’s choir perform this morning from their individual homes. They were able to be apart, but still lift their voices together. How awesome is that?
  3. Dogs. No matter what the current headlines are, my dogs can still be immediately overjoyed when I walk through the door.
  4. Schools. From Zoom to Canvas to Google Classrom to hybrid to face-to-face, educators have been rock stars this year. Never again can we say educators aren’t flexible and innovative.
  5. Scientists. We have not just one but several vaccines on the horizon. They give me great hope this year, as do additional treatments that have been developed to battle COVID. I can’t imagine a world without scientists.
  6. Artists, musicians and entertainers. Their talents in these strange times have managed to unite us and give us hope, while also making us laugh and cry.
  7. Non-profit organizations. Many non-profits are serving more people, with less money. I’m thankful for the way non-profit organizations are able to offer food, housing, Christmas gifts and other items to people in need.
  8. My church community. I’ve often had a tense relationship with my faith communities, feeling like I couldn’t truly be myself. I’m thankful for the way my current community encourages and inspires – and reminds me I’m not alone in my weirdness.
  9. Coffee. Every morning, I have a heaping cup of magic beans that help wake me up and inspire me to do good. How awesome is that?
  10. Children. Honestly, many of the adults in my life have been a smidge disappointing this year, especially when it comes to public health. But children? They have adjusted beautifully, wearing masks, social distancing, and still learning and loving with their friends.
  11. Democracy. The state of democracy around the globe has arguably seen better days, with so many countries now trending in the direction of authoritarianism. And yet, here in America we have seen that our systems are still intact and operating as they should.
  12. Clean water. We had a boil water notice in my community a few weeks ago. That will definitely make you stop taking safe drinking water for granted.
  13. The ability to connect. One of my themes for 2020 was connection – a word I obviously selected before realizing we were headed into a global pandemic, where we would actually celebrate distance. Before the pandemic, I found myself feeling the need to see others, having dinners and connecting for walks with a number of friends old and new. Happily, I found that my connections continued in lockdown. I will never take those connections for granted again.
  14. The ability to be of use. Every day of the shutdowns, I woke up and asked myself, “How can I be of use today?” Each and every day, there was a good answer to that question – whether it was reaching out to people several states over, or creating materials for my work, writing, sending cards, or listening intently to the needs of my teenagers.
  15. Opportunities to reassess. In the spring, as we listened to our teenagers more, we realized that while we thought their school environment was working, they were thrilled to be away from it. This got us thinking about alternative ways to educate. I’m thankful we listened and I’m thankful for options, even while still supporting our public school system and wishing them much success.
  16. Friends who support our efforts to help others. We intensified our commitment to 55 and Love, our mission to serve people who are homeless and otherwise in need, this year. It never occurred to me this would be an effort others would want to give to, but they have – and generously! It’s inspired us to do more and be more and we will forever be grateful. (Look for us to develop it into a non-profit in the coming months.)
  17. Family. I’ve taken a hard look at who family is and is not in the last few years, including as I have found and gotten to know some of my biological family. If I ever tried to map out my family tree, it would be an admittedly dysfunctional one. But it’s mine, and I’m thankful for all of it – biological and adopted.
  18. Difficult times. This year was not the first time I faced heartache and hardship. And while there have been plenty of times in the past that I have questioned the “why” of my experiences, I’ve been thankful this year that 2020 wasn’t my first forray into disappointment and even destruction. Without my previous experiences, I could never have helped my kids to navigate this season.
  19. The rituals of food. I got my eating (mostly) in order this year, shifting to a diet with an anti-inflammatory focus. And yet, despite giving up some of my “comfort foods” this year, sitting around the table as a family in the evenings has been extremely soothing. When this whole pandemic is over, I can’t wait to have more people around our table.
  20. New traditions. This was a year to re-examine everything and do what works best for us. This week, I did something that a year ago I railed against – putting up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. No one died – and I honestly just might leave them up until we all are vaccinated. If traditions don’t serve us, why do them?

What are YOU thankful for in 2020?

2 Replies to “20 Things I’m Thankful for in 2020”

  1. Wonderful post…there’s so many things to be grateful for. I have a long list too. Living in a safe and peaceful place is one of them:)

    Like

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