Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Gratitude

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl! It's Thanksgiving week, which means that it's time for lists about things we're thankful for. After this strange, tough year, I'm not really feeling up to making a list (which feels insufficient), but I did put together a little narrative below.


2020 has been a real rollercoaster. It started out more or less like any other year...I had a work trip to California, my mom came into town to visit, I was planning my summer trip with my best friends to Charleston. And then the world as it had been just...stopped existing in quite the same way. The day after the Utah Jazz game got canceled because of a positive COVID-19 test, which still feels like the moment it became real, I went down to a State Board of Education meeting, which was held live and in person. I stopped at the little secondhand bookstore in Carson City and browsed, the last time I went inside a bookstore for any extended period, listening to the retirees who staff the store chatter among themselves about what the coronavirus might mean. And I stopped at the grocery store, grabbing the second-to-last pack of toilet paper on the shelves, wondering to myself why there would be a run on toilet paper for a respiratory illness but thinking I should probably grab some if everyone else was. That day didn't quite feel normal, but it was close enough that I think of it as the last normal day. The last day when my life looked more or less like it always had before. 

I have been very fortunate during this pandemic in many ways: I am spending my time with my husband and dog, whose company I genuinely enjoy. I have a secure job that I like, that I was able to transition to doing from home fairly straightforwardly, with a boss who continues to give me the flexibility to work from home for large portions of the workweek. This is a relief as case numbers spike in my county. Both my husband and I have remained well, as have our immediate families. We do not have children who we would need to manage care and schooling for. My sister is getting ready to welcome her first child, and I am very excited to be an aunt! In all of this, I know I am extremely lucky. 

Even as I acknowledge and give thanks for these things, for my good fortune and that of my loved ones, I want to take space to recognize that this doesn't mean things have been easy. There have been opportunities lost. The challenge and risk of travel means that living on the other side of the country from my friends and family has been extra difficult. I will almost certainly not be able to meet my nephew anytime soon after he is born. I have long struggled with depression and anxiety, and my usual coping mechanisms have proven unable to compensate adequately for the additional stress and pressure that we've all been experiencing the last several months now. I've been able to access resources to help me cope, which is another thing I am grateful for. 

I try to remind myself that it is okay to grieve for what has been lost, even if my own losses have been relatively minor in the scheme of things. I am working not to get lost in ideas of what could or "should" have been. The future as it seemed it might exist on March 1 is no longer the future that is possible, and dwelling on it will not help me better navigate the world as it exists now. All I can do is wake up each day and try to do my best, and be thankful to be lucky in so many ways.

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