Thanksgiving: Being Grateful in 2020

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

This Thanksgiving has been such a different holiday this year- harder not being able to see my whole family (we even couldn’t have my sister come this year), and harder to find things to be grateful for, too. I feel like I’ve spent all week juggling between overjoyed at finally being home in months, and devastated that my family can’t be together today. This year has felt like a rollercoaster, and Thanksgiving has been no exception!

As I thought about what I wanted to write about this Thanksgiving, this idea of “I’ll be happy when” kept coming back to me. Because in the year of 2020, we’re all thinking of this year as a wash and telling ourselves that we can live life again and celebrate in 2021. I feel that way a lot, too- this year has been so challenging, so isolating, and so tough. But I don’t want to wait until 2021 to be happy or grateful or celebrate. I want to find contentment right here, in this less-than-great year. 

It isn’t just 2020- feeling like our happiness is on hold is not a new idea. Over and over again, the attitude of “I’ll be happy when” comes into play and suddenly we find ourselves feeding into the lie that only when “X” happens, can we find happiness. I’m guilty of this myself- telling myself that I’ll be happy when I hit 10,000 instagram followers and feel truly established as a blogger, that once I get a promotion and raise at work I’ll be less stressed about money, that with that new iPhone I’ll be more satisfied with my life. But it’s a problem to think this way, because after 10,000 followers I’ll want to get 15,000, there will always be another promotion & pay tier I’m chasing, and an iPhone that is the latest and greatest year after year. We never find contentment because we’re constantly chasing the next thing.

Because when we can find things that bring us joy and we count our blessings in the challenge, that’s how we embrace this year and its challenges. Today I’m grateful for all 8,000 of my followers because they make up my community that supports A Spin of Sugar. And I’m grateful for my job and every single cent that I earn right now because it’s plenty to live on, and I have a great life that I can live with it. And my iPhone 7 (yes, 7) is trucking along and it keeps me in touch with my friends and family, and the battery life isn’t great but it’s good enough.

And that is enough for me right now- in fact, it’s more than enough. There are people out there that would love to have the life, the things, the career, the family, the friends, the health that I have. And I am going to work hard to be grateful for all of these blessings, rather than wishing for the next best thing.

I’m not saying to discount the hardships or avoid mourning the losses- but I think it’s worth celebrating the good things, too. This attitude comes from experience for me- after years of health issues, I’ve been faced with far worse than 2020. In fact, this wasn’t my first year of limited travel, isolation, and even having coronavirus myself was nothing compared to my own experiences from my car accident.

Yes, this year was tough- but it’s offering me the perspective of how great the other years in my life were. And seeing the way my friends, family, and community have come together in such a tough time has given me a lot to be thankful for. Yes, I had COVID-19. But seeing the number of people that reached out to me to check in made me feel so blessed- I was so overwhelmed with messages, texts, and calls in the very best way.

Even if this isn’t the Thanksgiving you pictured this year (we went from 30 people to 3!), I encourage you to take the time and count your blessings. Something I do is make a list of the things that I’m thankful for, and I even take it one step further and highlight the ones that were something I prayed for in the past. Let’s learn to be grateful for where we are, right now, in this year.

Here is my Thankful list- all simple, basic things. But at the same, to me they’re what matter the most:

One. My health. This might seem counterintuitive as I’m writing this two weeks after having coronavirus, but that just makes me so much more grateful for my health! I’m so lucky that my case was mild and that I’ve been able to fully recover. Also, if you’re a regular Spin of Sugar reader then you know that I have a long history of bad health from my car accident– my health is something that I wake up and thank God for every single day since my recovery. 

Two. My family. Not being able to be with family this year has been the hardest challenge- but just having a family that I miss is such a blessing. They are my everything. 

Three. Ryan. Nothing like a boy that will move six states for you. Four years later, and Ryan continues to be a constant source of light and joy in my life.

Four. Friends. New and old- my friends are my biggest cheerleaders and the best people to have, especially this year when I couldn’t see family. 

Five. A good job. I’ve had close family members lose their job this year and it’s been such a good reminder to be grateful for my own career, which gives me financial freedom and independence.

Six. My blog & you! Yes, you! 🙂 I’m so grateful to have found a passion that I can pursue during 2020 even while staying home this year- it’s been so heartwarming and fulfilling for me. 

Seven. My new apartment and roommate. I moved this past summer and I have loved my new apartment in O4W on the Beltline and moving in with my friend Sydney! She and I have so much fun together, and it’s been great to be out of the city (I used to live in Midtown).

Eight. My church. My church in Atlanta has been a lifeline for me throughout this year, helping me feel connected to my community and reminding me of my faith when needed.

Nine. Living in Atlanta. I love my life in Atlanta and the adventure it has brought to my life post-grad after I moved there alone, so far away from home. Plus I’m at my parent’s house in Maryland right now and it’s freezing, haha! 

Ten. Mashed potatoes. The best Thanksgiving food. See also: being grateful for elastic pants 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all- I hope you count your blessings today and have a wonderful start to the holiday season. 

What are you grateful for this year? Let me know in the comments!

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