Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”William Arthur Ward
A friend of mine asked me if I could name a single person I was thankful for this year. With Thanksgiving festivities around the corner in the US, this question seemed apt. In the UK, we don’t particularly celebrate it, but I am all in favor of being thankful. According to modern spirituality, being grateful is equivalent to feeling the presence of the divine. Who wouldn’t want that feeling?
The other benefits of being grateful, according to Happify Daily, are that it can reduce depression, lower blood pressure, increase energy and happiness, and even prolong your life! Gratitude also increases the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin and helps you deflect those negative thoughts. So let’s get on the gratitude bug!
But as I sat with this question, the year 2020 came flashing in front of me, and I realized if there is one person I want to thank, it is the big human collective – which includes us all.
We all know how insane this year was. COVID dominated the scene, and if it has its way, it will continue to do so for a while. But despite its nasty grip it has had on all of us, we’ve survived or fought back strong. We may have been bent and worn out, but not broken.
The toll it has taken on people emotionally, mentally and financially will be felt for decades to come. I don’t think its aftermath will go away anytime soon for we have seen so much.
The losses we faced
- Many of us lost our loved ones. My friends who are ex-pats like me lost parents and could lay not them to rest. What a tragedy! They had to say their goodbyes from countries apart, leaving their families who were closer home to do the final goodbyes, while they wept from afar. They had to put strong faces up for their kids and had to tell them that everything was going to be ok and that their grandparents were in a better place and happy.
- Then there were the old and vulnerable old aged parents whose kids are abroad, and they stood like stallions not knowing what lay ahead of them. Would they get to see their grandkids again? Would they survive this virus? They had to be brave and learn to depend on themselves and their kind neighbors.
- Many faced financial stress. With Job loss and unemployment rates skyrocketing, many families are scrambling to make ends meet. Some are holding tight to savings and hoping that they can survive till the next employment. Others are trying to survive the day or month.
- Who can forget our children? They couldn’t quite fathom what hit them, but still, they did their part. Many have been brave, while others broke down.
- Many people suffered mental anxiety either because of loneliness or the pure stress of it all.
- Some didn’t survive the virus, and we will always moan them.
The list goes on; the virus spared no one, but yet, we all put our best foot forward. We were forced out of our comfort zones and to think out of the box. But we learn to swim with the tide.
So this thanksgiving, I want to thank, the whole collective, all of us here, who have made it through this storm, and the ones we lost on the way because what we did was like no other. We all have done our bit and took things in our stride, chin up, like the resilient and never giving up people we are. I am thankful for that human spirit that lies within each of us, that kept the flames alive.
We outdid ourselves, we have shown ourselves that we can, despite all the odds, and tried our damnest best to stand tall.
So – A big thank you to all of us beautiful people for being the warriors we were meant to be. Our resilience, our hard work, and our efforts will pay off in 2021. I am so sure of it. May we live to tell great stories of the year that was to our great-grandchildren, because with this experience, we are blessed with kindness, compassion, and love for all. May God grant us every wish we have in our hearts.