Although today is Thanksgiving, just so we are clear, 2020 has been a very hard year from the start, but where there is negative, we must also look to find the positives and the opportunities in downtime’s. We have to be thankful.
It seems as if 2020 was doomed from the start and the world could not catch a break.
Remember back to January, we had the Australia Wildfires which burned an estimated 46 million acres. Meanwhile, the sports world lost Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash. Then in February, the coronavirus began making its way through China. In March, the pandemic truly began with shutdowns being ordered in many countries—including the Olympics that were postponed for a year. By May, racial protests began to occur after Ahmaud Arbery had been shot while running in February, however, the movement became even greater after the George Floyd killing—which sparked major protests in Minneapolis and across the country. Also in May, “Murder Hornets” were spotted in the United States. Just to name a few. This fall, the coronavirus has come back with a vengeance.
Locally, in California, we have had to deal with wildfires which have burned over 4 million acres, smoke was consistent for weeks at a time and we also dealt with power shutoffs. Due to the virus, many local businesses have shuttered, many are on the brink of shuttering, stay-at-home orders have been rather annoying at times, financial struggles for many are now rearing its head for those who had a decent six-month emergency fund, and parents having to balance work from home with distance learning.
Bottom line, 2020 has been a giant disaster and at first glance with it appearing there is little to be thankful for, however, that could not be further from the truth. Even in the great year of separation from masks, social distancing, cancel culture, business closures, work at home economy, there are many things I am still very thankful for probably even more so than I ever realized.
Here is my rundown:
- Time With the Family: While too much time with three kids under 13 can be a challenge, I realize this is time I will never get back. For all the frustrations, this pandemic has allowed me time to get to know my kids in more ways than I ever imagined. We have spent time trying new things and truly building a bond that will be stronger than ever going forward. Be thankful for your family, you never know what tomorrow may bring.
- Friends: Without a doubt, if 2020 hasn’t taught you who your true friends are I don’t know what will. I know many people have stepped up in ways I could never have imagined, I hope in a way I was able to do the same for others. This year, with less experiences and less time going out, friends have actually had time to build relationships even stronger—I know I have. Be thankful for your friends and those who have stepped up in your time of need.
- A Giant Reset: With such busy lives running the rat race, 2020 has allowed not only myself to take a pause in how I run this news site, but its also allowed me to figure out where I want to take it in 2021 including building out a new podcast show (Contra Costa Today) which was launched earlier this year. I’ve been able to build out a bucket list of things I want to accomplish, places I want to go, what things I want to experience and reset my daily focus going forward once this pandemic is over. I am not alone in this, 2020 has allowed for the great reset of our lives. Just think, did you ever believe you would have this much freedom in terms of less obligations that you had so much opportunity of how you would truly fill your time each day? Be thankful for the reset opportunity you have been provided.
- Healthcare Workers & First Responders: Having a mother who works in an ER I’ve seen and heard many of the superhuman things these people have been doing—from long hours to COVID-19 exposures to hospitals being overrun, these people have done some superhuman things. Meanwhile, let’s not forget our police officers who have had a rough 2020 while trying to keep the peace, our firefighters who had to establish whole new protocols in a short period of time and our EMT’s, Dispatchers and others who stepped up. Please be thankful for everyone working to keep us safe.
- Health Routine: If not for COVID, I don’t think I would be walking 5-miles every morning and hitting 10k steps. The first few months of COVID was rough, it felt like I was working around the clock and trying to update all the latest news of shutdowns. This led to a COVID 10 Lbs which has since been lost and then some. This year has taught me a lot about caring for myself and my health. Be thankful for your health.
- Technology: How can one not love streaming services such as Netflix, Disney Plus and Hulu? But lets not forget about Zoom and Cloud and all the wonderful things that allow for the work at home economy.
- Social Media: Both a blessing and a curse which allows us to connect with one another. To be honest, 2020 has shown me I want less of Facebook going forward and more coffee hangouts. If you have already not done so, clean out your Friends list—its refreshing and your daily feed will be much more peaceful. Delete groups and pages and you will find yourself less engaged with negativity by the day. Be thankful for the good social media brings, but rid yourself of the negativity.
- Optimism: As someone who likes to question everything and dwell on noise, I’ve learned to let a lot of things go this year and focus more on the good, glass half-full mentality and see things in new light. This new found optimism has provided a world of benefits a mile long. I hope each of you can find your own form of optimism before the end of the year. Be thankful and grateful for a perspective shift.
- New Hobbies: 2020 has allowed us time to try new things. From cooking to crafting to learning new things through reading. Filling my time has been a challenge this year. I know for me I have never cooked this much in my lifetime and I have come to enjoy it. I hope by next year, many of my friends can begin to try my cooking. Be thankful for trying new things and getting uncomfortable.
- Tomorrow: Given all that 2020 has thrown at us, it is my hope we can bond together, become stronger as one and begin to repair the national divide from politics, improve race relations, raise the bar on expectations, and begin to work to improve our great society starting within Contra Costa County. I am hopeful we can find common goals and build off that. 2020 has given us that opportunity, lets take it and make it a reality for 2021 and beyond to become a more compassionate society. Be thankful for hope.
As today will be spent with family while watching football and enjoy a feast which includes a Thanksgiving Turkey, I hope you all can take a moment to reflect on what you do have and stop focusing on what we all don’t have at the moment. We all have to remember to be thankful.
I would love to hear what many of you are thankful for.
Publisher of ECT