On one hand, I cannot believe it's November already, but on the other, I can't believe we are only in November. 2020 has been absolutely insane as we all know, and time is just moving at such a weird pace and I can't even process it.
But we are in November so I do feel that it is fitting to show a little extra gratitude towards the people, places, and things that mean the most to me.
After the shitshow this year was, I am sure it is difficult for some of you to think about the highlights of this past year. Despite all the hardships we have faced, I do hope that you all can find just one thing to be thankful for right now, as I can name a million.
This year may not have been easy, but it has arguably been one of the best learning experiences and where I've done the most growth.
With Thanksgiving and the holiday season approaching, I wanted to take the time to reflect on what this last year has meant to me, and some of the silver linings that have come out of it and I'm excited to share that with you.
1. Being in good health
This one goes without saying. Living during a pandemic has really taught me to prioritize what's important. If all I have is my loving family, supportive friends, and health, then I can consider myself a pretty lucky person.
My heart goes out to anyone who has lost a loved one during this past year.
2. Extra time with family
While it was extremely difficult to be forced to pack up my belongings and cut my sophomore year of college short, I could not have been more thankful to have had that extra few months with my family.
Being stuck inside all the time was definitely not easy, but it definitely brought us closer together.
Not gonna lie sometimes I miss the simplicity of the quarantine days.
3. Slowing down
For those of you who know me, you probably know that I am the type of person who likes to take on a lot, sometimes more than I can handle. I quite honestly thrive under pressure, and prefer to be on the go most of the time.
So during quarantine, I had kind of a hard time coping with all this extra time on my hands. I felt lazy and unproductive, and didn't know how to handle it.
As time went on, however, I learned to appreciate down time a lot more. I began to take on new hobbies, such as reading, which has been a great mood booster for me. I actually began watching (and finishing) new T.V. shows (this is a big one for me), reinvigorating my love for Taylor Swift, and getting involved in new things on campus.
I honestly don't know if a lot of these things would've happened for me if it weren't for COVID, so I'm very grateful that it did.
4. The good ol' outdoors
I did not realize how much I took for granted getting to go outside until we weren't allowed to anymore. During quarantine, I got in the habit of going on at least one hour walk per day, and have continued that trend while back at school.
I have learned to appreciate these walks because it forces me to get some exercise while also enjoying the fresh air.
Being outside really does wonders for my mental health, and I'm honestly concerned about when it gets too cold for it to be unbearable.
But for now, I'm going to continue to enjoy.
5. Being more mindful of what was happening in the world
Between COVID-19, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the 2020 election, this year I learned how to be a much more mindful and active citizen. I started to actually care about what was happening in the world, and for once, do something about it.
Attending the Black Lives Matter protests back in June was a pivotal moment from me, and really put a lot into perspective.
And during this election, besides being a voter for the first time, I actually felt like I had a stake in the matter because I really cared about it.
Although I am still not perfect and have a lot more to learn, I am proud of myself for taking the steps to reflect and better educate myself about the issues that really matter.
Camp actually happening this summer (and happening successfully and safely) was undoubtedly the highlight of this entire year and I loved every single second of it.
Everyone who was there couldn't have been more grateful to be there, and it radiated every day when the staff and campers set foot on the grounds.
On top of that, I found my people who have truly shaped my life for the better and have supported me in ways that I never would've imagined.
Although camp has always held such a special place in my heart, I don't think it has filled a greater void than it did this past year.
7. Attending therapy again
Deciding to attend therapy was a decision that came back during quarantine when I thought I hit my breaking point. School was becoming stressful, my social anxiety was at an all time high, and I was questioning myself more than I ever had before.
When I first attended back in high school it was because my anxiety was making me dysfunctional and preventing me from living my life. This time it was different.
There wasn't one single concrete reason, but it was just everything piling up that caused me to feel lost. But it sometimes when you need it least that you actually may need it most.
I oftentimes wonder if I would've began going to therapy again if it weren't for COVID and the subsequent stressors that it gave me.
But I am so glad I did because it has been one of the best decisions for my mental health, and I did it all to better myself and, in turn, the people around me.
8. A new president about to enter the White House
After one of the most depressing, stressful, and anxiety-inducing years, my hope was all restored last Saturday when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were FINALLY announced as the winners of the 2020 presidential election.
This was truly the best way to culminate all of the terrible things that have happened this year, and I'm so glad we are getting rid of the man who was responsible for a lot of it.
Although the work is far from over and I'm sure it won't always be easy, I am feeling optimistic and looking forward to seeing all the changes that are going to be made for the better in the four years to come.
While 2020 has not been the easiest of years, there happen to be a lot more silver linings than I ever would've thought. I am thankful for what this year has taught me, the people it has given me, and the new found appreciation I have for the little things. I never thought I would ever say this, but thank you 2020.