It’s not easy to be “thankful” in 2020.
We, of course, have had to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, along with the rest of the world, as well as civil unrest and a divisive election, along with the rest of the country. And along the Gulf Coast, we had the added bonus of having the most active hurricane season on record, with two of those storms impacting our immediate area greatly.
I will admit I am a glass-half-empty type of girl. Always have been. It’s not that I don’t want wonderful things to happen — I do — but it’s just in the face of adversity, my mind always wanders to all of the possible worst-case scenarios and then stays there awhile — a bunch of little mental misery trips. So fun!
If your brain also acts like this, you know 2020 has been a particularly tough year.
Horrible thoughts of lives and livelihoods being extinguished forever courtesy of the virus, homes being swept away by storm surge, friends, families and neighbors hating each other over politics … this year has really had it all. (And I know, I know, we still have a couple of months to go.)
And a lot of that has indeed happened.
Though I haven’t known anyone personally who died from COVID, I have had friends who have. And I have known many people who were sick with it, some were ill for weeks, others only a few days. Many business owners have taken big hits, and people have lost their jobs. During the storms, people saw flooding or their roofs collapse or trees fall through their homes.
I have friends who have un-friended each other on social media and in “real life” and who aren’t going to see their families for Thanksgiving because their political views are just too disparate and their emotions are too raw after the election.
Worst year ever? I’d say so. At least in my memory.
Making things seem more dismal are all of the events we look forward to each and every year have already been canceled or are still about to be. It is easy to understand why they have been, of course, but these events allow us brief escapes from the grind of our daily lives. We need those escapes now more than ever, but obviously, it’s just not possible.
As I am writing this, news broke that New Orleans will not permit any parades during their Carnival season. Though Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson seems to be doing everything in his power to allow our Mardi Gras organizations to make almost “game time” decisions about their plans, it is hard to imagine any parade will roll. Some organizations have canceled their parades and balls already. And the Mobile County Health Department could step in at any time and stop the good times from rolling. This will definitely be a hit to all of the downtown hotels, restaurants, bars and vendors who have already had a brutal year. And to all of us who like to come together to stand by our friends, neighbors and complete strangers to watch the floats roll by and forget our cares for just a bit.
I get it, but dang it!
Is there any water even left in that glass?
Strangely though, for some reason, this pessimist thinks there is. In fact, I think it’s starting to look almost full.
I feel more optimistic than I have about this country in quite some time. Maybe it’s because we have all had to spend so much time in this pit of despair that is 2020, but I just feel like we are about to turn the corner on everything.
Multiple vaccines are almost ready, and there is light at the end of the tunnel on the pandemic. And, while, yes, there will be some people who are now addicted to political drama and sparring with the other side, now that the election is (almost) over, I think there are just as many people completely sick of it and who realize hating or fighting with people over politics is a colossal waste of time and emotional energy.
Families and friends will reconcile and this extreme partisanship will subside — at least a little. And more positive change will come from that than people standing on opposite sides yelling at each other.
Also, I just feel like people have been itching to get out and are going to be filling those restaurants and bars up every night and selling out every concert once the pandemic is in the rearview mirror and things get rocking and rolling again, not to mention traveling again.
Things are going to get better. They just have to.
Maybe I am being naïve or I am just so sick of the glass being half empty that I need to see it in a different way, but I am ready for our collective cup to start overflowing, and I truly believe we are close. And I am “thankful” for that.
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