My whole life is changing right now. I am currently in my last full week of undergraduate classes, I am likely about to start a full-time job, and we are still deeply embroiled in a pandemic. I won't be marking my college graduation with a ceremony and my family won't even get to go out to dinner to celebrate the completion of my courses. And this year, my family may not be spending the holidays together.
This has been difficult so far for me. Normally, we get together with extended family to celebrate Thanksgiving. This year though, my family of five opted to stay home and do our own Thanksgiving. None of our extended family got together for the holiday. I am very glad we followed the COVID-19 guidelines that kept all of us safe during this dangerous time. However, the holiday was just not quite the same. I missed having a more formal dinner with family members I do not get to see as often.
Looking forward, I know Christmas will likely be much of the same way. That is going to hit even harder than Thanksgiving, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way. Christmas, to me, is all about being around family and letting them know how much I appreciate them. It's going to be a unique experience to find a way to do this from a distance.
This unusual holiday season has made me more grateful for what I have in my life, as strange as that may sound. I am very fortunate that I have an extended family that has stayed healthy and well during this pandemic. I feel lucky to have friends I have kept in my "COVID circle" that continue to keep me in theirs. I am blessed to have opportunities to apply for jobs right now, as many are losing the ones they currently have.
As much as I am missing the usual sort of cheer that comes with the holiday season, I am becoming more and more thankful for the memories I have of this time of year as I miss repeating these traditions. COVID-19 has taken a lot from this world and has shaken me and many others to our cores, but I have learned that there is more to life than what I get caught up in worrying about on the daily. People are what matter most, and I am more grateful for my loved ones this year than I have ever been before.