Three years ago, I started a tradition for myself. I no longer celebrate Thanksgiving in a traditional way; I don’t feel thankful that my ancestors participated in a genocide, colonizing the continent in the process. Rather than Thanksgiving, I celebrate Thankfulness.
What am I thankful for in 2021? An easy answer comes to mind immediately – Covid vaccines. March 6, 2021: my first. April 3, 2021: my second. October 28, 2021: first booster. No birthdays, but Lifedays I will always celebrate.
I am thankful PGMC survived Covid, live rehearsals resuming October 3, 2021. We had not shared the air in song since March of 2020; though masked, not having any social interactions over snacks as we used to do, nevertheless we are back. As we sang, windows open to the fall air, I envisioned the folks in the apartments across the street back on their balconies to listen, crying at this hallmark of resilience. PGMC has gained a number of season ticketholders among neighbors grateful to have moved by happenstance into an apartment across the street from our rehearsal space.
I am thankful for closer friendships with John and Mark, quarantine allowing us more time to become friends without the busy structure of rehearsals and concert prep.
Once again, I’m thankful for Zoom, making possible the continued work of so many organizations and businesses. PFLAG Portland is forever changed, having discovered a new depth of sharing and intimacy conducting chapter meetings via Zoom – the virtual meeting is here to stay, with a few social gatherings in the offing each year in order to connect in person. My church will continue to offer services via Zoom as well as in person, to the relief of older members who have difficulty with the in-person trip during the winter months. Every organization I’m involved with has embraced Zoom as a permanent fixture, virtual meetings now the norm.
I am thankful for Facebook. As an extrovert, connection via Zoom and Facebook has proven to be a lifeline to sanity. I have more presence on Facebook than ever in the past; my depression would have been fairly complete were it not for the connection afforded me by virtual contact.
And most of all – I am thankful everyone in my life survived Covid, and with admirable resilience. At the beginning of Covid, none of us knowing where to acquire a mask and now all of us with multiples in various locations – glove compartment, backpack or purse, by the front door. John will now work from home permanently, though his dog has mixed feelings about not having the house peacefully to herself all day. Sue realized through quarantining at the coast that the rhythm of the ocean called to her; she is now living there more permanently than she ever anticipated. Cristina has come into her own as an introvert, able to own not wanting to attend many live events, hoping for a Zoom component of some sort so she can participate. Brenda is part of a Long Covid study, living with long-term effects and coming over for lunch most Fridays.
Life is moving on, not post-Covid but incorporating Covid as part of our lives moving forward. We have re-ordered our lives to accommodate safety as much as possible while still having a life. Covid is such a part of our lives now, it has formed the backdrop for everything I’m thankful for this past year.