This is a weird year. Actually, let me correct myself. This is a shitty year. And shitty years provide very little to be thankful for. They provide more heavy sighs than they do moments of excitement. However, it’s Thanksgiving (or at least, Thanksgiving weekend) and I refuse to not sit down and take a moment to be grateful.
Early on the in pandemic, my younger sister and I played a game: “What are you most excited for when corona is over?”. We talked about the life we wanted post-COVID-19. We talked about going to movie theatres and giving hugs. I have not hugged my best friend since February, and I want to cry. We wanted to go out for dinner and not get hand sanitizer rashes or mask-acne. But as weeks passed, we realised that this game was fucking depressing. The farther we got into the pandemic, the farther we were from the end.
So we changed the game: “What is a silver lining of the pandemic?”. The goal was to focus on the good, when everything was bad. We didn’t want to think about the future, because we literally had no idea what it looked like. It’s not that we were attempting to view the pandemic through rose coloured glasses, we understood what was, and is, going on. People have lost loved ones, lost jobs, lost houses and lost all sense of social interaction. The economy sucks, food insecurity is ridiculous, and I don’t even want to talk about politics. We knew the reality of the situation, but we tried to bring something positive out of it.
I understand that the pandemic is (as Jake Tapper would say) a “hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck”, I’m not denying that. However, here are some of the reasons I am (barely) thankful for the pandemic:
1) I got my family dinners back
My family is busy. We all have different schedules and jobs and social lives. During a usual summer, we would be hard pressed to find time we could all be together. When I was younger, family dinners were a staple in my life but in the recent past they were harder and harder to come by. The pandemic and all its misery gave us the time to sit down and have dinner together. To try new meals and revisit old classics. Usually we all run in 200 directions, but there was nowhere to run anymore. I got to spend time with the best people in my life and I can’t be upset.
2) I started learning American Sign Language (ASL)
This has been a long-time goal of mine. I’ve always been a bit of a nerd when it comes to languages, but there was something particularly appealing about ASL. When I moved home, I recruited my sister to my cause, and we started to learn ASL together. We learned to tell jokes and recite old vines, (Whoever threw that paper, your mom’s a ho) as well as everyday phrases we might actually need. My parents were pretty distressed that we picked up a secret language, but it made gossip in a tight space easier. I recently got to use ASL at work to help a customer, which was incredibly rewarding. Learning to bake sourdough could’ve been fun, but this seems like a more useful skill.
3) I started working out again
Y’all have already read this:
4) I learned to make pie
My paternal grandmother was an incredible baker. She could make anything under the sun, and it was all beautiful and delicious. Granted, I’m going off tales of others because she passed away a year before I was born. Over the years, I heard story after story about her different baking adventures, but one fan favourite was her pie crust recipe. Flaky and gorgeous, I have heard many stories about pies my grandmother made. So, one day I called my aunt and asked her to send me the pie recipe, and went to making my dad’s favourite pie: apple. Upon scrolling through my camera roll, I have eaten more pie this summer than I have in years. We kept coming up with new flavours to test. With fall here, I think I’m going to go for the ultimate diabetes-inducing pie, pecan, which is essentially just butter, pecans and sugar.
So it’s not much, but it’s also a lot. It’s four things, which is more than some people have right now. I still have a job, I’m corona-free and so is my family (knock on wood). I’ve got a best friend who I can’t hug but I can see from a distance. I get to see my family, when I know for many people that isn’t an option. Plus, in 24 hrs I’ll stuff myself full of turkey until I’m nauseous. It’s not the life I wanted this year, but it’s what I have. I’m thankful that I get to spend time with my family when many people don’t. I don’t know if I would got as far as saying I’m thankful, but I’m definitely thankful-ish.
From me, with love, to you,
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