I think that if the past year has taught us anything, it’s that we have a lot to be thankful for. Let’s take a look at what we’ve endured this past year. A worldwide pandemic, a new presidency, a state of being that we have never experienced, and we survived all of it.
For a lot of people, including myself, it can be hard to look at your life and be grateful for what the past year has brought you. It’s not easy to feel gratitude when you have struggled financially, lost a loved one, suffered with loneliness or faced any other of the commonplace hardships we’ve become familiar with in these unprecedented times. In the face of all of this, gratitude has the power to bring hope.
Gratitude can show us that although a lot of things in life are out of our control, our attitude towards those things can change our whole perspective.
“I am extremely thankful for my family, friends, work, and good health,” FGCU freshman Nicholas McClure said.
When the pilgrims came over on the Mayflower in 1620, they endured a lot of turmoil that leads to the holiday that we now know as Thanksgiving. The storms were terrifying. The shelter was limited. Food was scarce. People were dying from illness and cold weather. If you were there in 1621, if you had watched your friends and family die through famine and sickness and suffered a year of tragic disappointment, do you think you would have felt thankful? I sure wouldn’t have.
I think that even when the pilgrims mourned their tragedies, they continued to look for blessings. A bright side or the silver lining to things, if you will. When they met Squanto, who helped them produce crops, they saw that as a gift. In the midst of all of this, they chose to give thanks.
We too must look for the bright side of things, something we can all be thankful for this year.
“I’m really thankful for the wonderful friends I’ve made at college,” FGCU freshman Amanda Targos said. “It’s pretty cliche but it’s true.”
Although Thanksgiving is quite literally about giving thanks, it can be easy to overlook that aspect of the holiday. Instead, we are most likely to concentrate on the table filled with food in front of us or the football game on the television. But if we reflect on the past 365 days, we can realize how lucky we are to be experiencing another Thanksgiving with the ones we love.
“I am grateful this year to be supported by my friends and family at all times in my life,” FGCU freshman Hailey Gillis said.
Thanksgiving looked a lot different for many people last year. With COVID still on the rise, a lot of families couldn’t get together with their loved ones to celebrate the holidays. But this year, things are better. We are vaccinated against the virus and know how to protect ourselves from it.
This Thanksgiving, I hope you all reflect on everything we have endured this past year. The grief, the anger, the sadness, but also the happiness, the joy, and the love we have felt through all of it. I hope you find just a few things that make you feel grateful.