Here in the United States, Thanksgiving is coming up. This holiday kicks off the season since it is immediately followed by mass consumerism leading up to Christmas.
This year has been one of the most difficult for virtually everyone I know. Between the ongoing pandemic, a contentious Presidential election that the loser refuses to concede, and continued uncertainty stemming from both — the holidays are going to be weird.
For a lot of people, traditions are hugely important. Family gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas (and Hanukkah, if you’re Jewish) tend to be long-time annual affairs nobody wants to forgo.
However, this is 2020. And we must recognize that the norm is just not going to work this year. Rather than put loved ones at risk — it’s wiser to pass on the gatherings.
Yes, I know that sucks. Yes, I recognize that it breaks tradition and keeps families apart. But that’s a short-term problem. Getting together this year with your family may lead to it being the last year you get to do so.
COVID-19 isn’t gone. In fact, it is worse than it’s ever been before. The best thing we can do is isolate and NOT visit friends and family for the holidays.
Genuine kindness and real gratitude should lead you to the conclusion that the risk is not worth it. Why endanger the people you love for a traditional gathering?
COVID-19 is something lots of people think happens to other people. It’s a pandemic that may soon have a vaccine — but not before it kills potentially hundreds of thousands of more people.
I do not desire to focus on the negative with this. That’s not my point. My point is that to truly express love, gratitude, and kindness this season — stay home.
Humans need social interaction
Every year, my sister hosts Thanksgiving dinner. My wife and I contribute a couple of dishes, as does my stepmother. She and my father, as well as my mom and stepfather, all attend Thanksgiving together. Often a friend of my sister’s or my wife and I join us — or are invited to join us.
Back in October, we decided to stay home this year. My wife and my parents are all in high-risk groups for various reasons. Rather than gathering together, we’re keeping apart.
And yes, this sucks. But I would rather stay home and share thanks apart than get together and potentially lose someone from the celebration next year.
Many believe the lie that the press has made this pandemic much worse than it is. I have lost 3 people to COVID-19 this year. And don’t argue semantics — often it is the impact OF the coronavirus that causes another issue to kill a person. They still would likely have survived if they’d not been exposed.
The meaning of Thanksgiving has gotten muddied over the years. Let’s face it, the Pilgrims destroyed the Native Americans that helped them over time — and today their ancestors are generally not treated well.
Setting that aside, however (not disregarding — setting it aside for a different point) giving thanks and expressing gratitude is incredibly empowering.
One of the things I am grateful for most are the people in my life. I miss them terribly right now. Yet, as much as I would love to uphold family traditions and see them — I don’t want to risk them in the process.
This applies to friends and family. While not seeing them feels negative — the truth is it’s a matter of positivity.
Stay home and share thanks apart
I recognize that using Google Meet, Zoom, Skype, or Facebook’s tools to get together with family is not the same as actually being with them. But it’s a lot safer and kinder.
Is it so important that you travel and risk exposure to spend an evening or a weekend with the people you love? Is it worth it if that trip causes you to get sick, potentially die, and/or kill one of them? Yes, that’s harsh, I know — but it’s the reality of living in the middle of an out-of-control pandemic.
I want to not only give thanks with and for the people I love this year — but next year, and as many years as possible going forward. The risk is too high to not stay home and share thanks apart.
Those who are screaming about violations of civil liberties and other conspiracies regarding the pandemic are being selfish. Not wearing a mask in public is selfish. This time of the year is supposed to be more kind, courteous, and selfless.
If you are healthy and desire to stay that way — stay home. The more people who are out and about, the more the virus can and will continue to spread.
So how is this positivity? Because amid all the selfish acts we are also seeing people at their best. We have a unique opportunity to be kind, express gratitude, and protect ourselves and the people we love.
A Zoom meeting Thanksgiving can bring families together from greater distances a lot cheaper than flights and long drives. If your family is scattered all over the country or all over the world, it’s easy to get online and come together.
No, you can’t hug. But that’s a small price to pay to be able to do so in the future.
Giving thanks for the little things
There are so very many things that I am grateful for. Tangible and intangible, I have a lot of things for which I feel gratitude.
As mentioned before, my friends and family. There are so many amazing people in my life, and I am truly grateful for that. The things I call my own — the roof over my head, my car, the electronics that let me share with you and tell and share stories from fantastical worlds. My overall health, and the freedom I enjoy to pursue my goals.
Then there are the everyday little bits for which I am monumentally grateful. My eyes, my hearing, my senses of touch, taste, and smell, my empathic strengths. The sun and moon, the purrs and meows of my cats. All of these everyday things in my life I am so, so very grateful for.
You, no doubt, have similar tangibles and intangibles you are grateful for. To be able to maintain that gratitude now and in the future, and to allow those you love to do so as well, be smart this holiday season. I know it hurts, but it’s better, in the long run, to take the immediate pain and inconvenience for the long-term benefits.
Stay home and share thanks apart.
It’s easy to stay home and share thanks apart
But it requires mindfulness of your thoughts, feelings, actions, and intent to understand the inherent positivity of this action.
Knowing that the risk to yourself and others is high, you can protect yourself and those you love by a simple choice. When you choose to stay home and share thanks apart, you are expressing enormous love and gratitude for yourself and everyone you care about. And that ultimately empowers you.
When you feel empowered, your mindfulness increases, you become more aware overall, and that can spread to people around you. This creates a feedback loop of awareness and positivity.
You build more positive feelings and discover further reasons to feel positivity and gratitude. That can be the impetus to improve numerous aspects of your life for the better, help overcome the overwhelming negativity of any current situation, and generate yet more positivity and gratitude.
An attitude of gratitude is an attitude of immense positivity. That positivity can generate even more good energies — and that, like you, is always worthwhile. You are worthy and deserving of all the good you desire.
Thank you for reading. I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, and similar life lessons.
Originally published at https://titaniumdon.com on November 23, 2020.