As we are in the midst of Thanksgiving week and trying to figure out its details and logistics during a pandemic, it seems like a good time to pause and think about what we are thankful for, or if we should even be thankful at all?
2020 has certainly been a year of hardships and we will likely feel its after effects for some time. The pandemic brought with it great uncertainty, fear and anxiety. It has had social, educational, economic, and political repercussions just to name a few. Students cannot attend in-person school, work life has become digitized, millennials cannot make social connections, patients can only see their therapists on Zoom, friends need to see each other wearing masks, families have had to separate from grandparents, and hugs and handshakes have become a relic of another time.
As we settled into this new routine, there is one thing that we all have discovered: time. Having spare time is a new concept for many of us. While having time is forced upon us by our current circumstance, it is up to the individual to reclaim free time and repurpose it for self-growth and betterment. We should use this time as an opportunity to reflect, reset and reconnect with our basic emotions and desires. We can now reevaluate our pre-pandemic life; was it happy and fulfilling? Was it too stressful and too hectic? Was it too social or not social enough? Were we too ambitious or too lax? Were we in control of our destiny? Were we kind enough to those around us?
At this socially distant Thanksgiving, whether one sits at a table of ten, or a table of one, we all have the luxury to have the time to think and be mindful. Not just about the past but also about the present and what we want our lives to look like in the future. What kind of lifestyle do we really want? What relationships can we develop that will make us happier? Or are there some relationships that have held us back? We now have more time to be mindful of our own feelings and emotions and of those around us, we have more time to be grateful for little things that may have gone unnoticed, we have more time to spend with those we love, we have more time to give of ourselves to those that are less fortunate.
So, on this uncertain Thanksgiving day, let us be thankful for this luxury of having the time that allows us to pause, listen to our inner voice and be more in tune to our spiritual needs and desires. If this time of contemplation does not bring you satisfaction and to a positive reevaluation of your needs, then, maybe it is the right time to speak to a professional therapist to help you navigate and find more clarity.
Hopefully, the slowing down and contemplation that this year allows, will teach us to focus on the truly important things in life and move us forward post-pandemic. The “time” we have now to think about what those things really are, is what ultimately we must be grateful for on this 2020 Thanksgiving day.