That’s a line from “Thank You Friends” by Big Star … and seems an apt way to kick of a Thanksgiving Day post. I am thankful for so many things as we approach the end of this year, a year in which the word languishing took on new meaning for many of us. A year in which we had the briefest of respites in what one friend referred to as COVID Rumspringa … shortly after the vaccine rollout, when getting back to “normal” seemed so imminently possible, before the realization that navigating this virus would be a part of life for the foreseeable future. I suppose once that Rumspringa ended as quickly as it began, I started languishing … felt not depressed, but blah. Not despondent, but not optimistic. Frustrated. Because things never had to get this bad in the first place, and once the vaccines were available, we could have progressed much further than we did. But that frustration is not useful; instead I will continue to do what I do to protect myself and surround myself with people who do the same. Feeling vitriol toward every noncompliant mask wearer, the folks who don’t seem to understand that the nose is an integral part of the respiratory system, is exhausting.
So instead I turn to gratitude: for science, and those who respect it. Gratitude to those who are doing their part to minimize risk to others. The vast majority of people reading this. I am grateful that, thanks to all of the above, we are spending Thanksgiving with family this year—not that last year’s cozy Thanksgiving à deux (ou trois, avec le chien) was not perfectly lovely in its own way—but we needed this.
I am thankful for my family, including my beloved B, and I am thankful to my friends, old and new, near and far, those I’ve shared decades of memories with and those I’ve yet to meet in person. That I’ve been able to reunite with so many people after over a year of isolation has been a beautiful thing. Going out to safely hear live music, going to theater, hugging people I love … I missed these things so very much when they were not available. Last Sunday I got to see my talented friends play a show over brunch and I spent the afternoon with some of my favorite people. I am grateful to the businesses that have measures in place so that staff, performers, and customers feel relatively safe.
If you are reading this, I am thankful for you.
I am grateful to the people in my life who have been supportive of my writing endeavors—professionally and personally. In this last breath of 2021 I am embarking on new projects. I’m writing another novel while I
impatiently wait to see what will happen with the first one, and I am working with my talented and prolific friend John on a very cool new project that is nourishing my creative soul. I hope you’ll check it out once we’re up and running.
I am thankful to everyone who operates from a place of compassion and empathy, who has learned from the past few incredibly challenging years that things work best when we look out for one another. That kindness and generosity of spirit are far more fulfilling than power and winning. From these very difficult years has emerged a resilience and wisdom that I truly hope we can harness in the face of all of the people and things seeking to drive us apart.
If you are one of the many people for whom this time of year is fraught, I hope that you find some peace and comfort along the way. If you need support, look for it; there are few things more empowering than recognizing when you need the help of others and being courageous enough to ask for it. Be good to yourselves. And if you need a kind word, just ask me for one.
Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends.