Every November, I see countless posts about 30 days of gratitude, and even more posts in the days surrounding Thanksgiving. While I agree that the holidays are as much of a season for giving and giving thanks, real gratitude runs so much deeper than that. In fact, I first thought about this topic back in October. I was going to have it come out on Thanksgiving, but really, it didn’t feel right, so I just didn’t do it. I released a podcast episode in April, that you can listen to here.
Instead of talking about why we should be grateful, and how to be grateful, and how to see the silver lining in life, I’m share with you some of the things I am thankful for this year. I’ve told some of these stories before, but it helps me to remember that despite how crappy 2020, and the past 12+ months has felt, there are so many good things that have happened, and for that I am grateful.
I will forever be thankful for getting to spend 3 months at home last year. For being able to use that time to not only pivot my business, but to take time to relax, sleep in, be at home with the puppy, read books, cook meals - all these things that I wasn’t able to do before. Prior to March 2020, I was burnt out. Looking back - I’m not even sure burnt out quite sums it up. Whatever is a level beyond burnt out? That’s where I was at. I was juggling too many things, and feeling like I wasn’t really doing any of them very well. (Disclaimer, sometimes I feel like that even still). Those 3 months to take a step back and reevaluate what was important to me really made a difference in shifting my perspective, and propelling me forward in life.
As controversial it was to have the extra unemployment money for part of the year, I am thankful that it was there. I’m not sure I would have made it through without it. In case you maybe don’t know - when you own your own business, and are self-employed, you don’t qualify for regular unemployment. That’s okay, they came up with the PUA to cover that instead. Well, what they don’t tell you is that if you had a certain amount of w2 income from the past 5 quarters, then you DO qualify for regular unemployment and if you qualify for regular unemployment, you don’t get PUA. Prior to the pandemic I was working multiple jobs. Besides running my business, I was teaching at three different facilities, and had a weekend job at an escape room, PLUS, I had only quit my full time job at the spa 7 months prior to the start of the pandemic. So I was lucky enough to receive regular unemployment. But because they were all odd part time jobs, I didn’t qualify for the full amount allowed by NYS. People have told me that I could have fought it, but getting through to process my paperwork the first time was so challenging, I didn’t want to waste my energy there, so I made do with what I got. And I made it work as best as I could. I’m thankful that during that time, my husband was either working, or thankfully being paid to be at home. We were okay. And even as some things shut down for a second time, and we headed into my husband’s slow season at work, basically meaning - he may or may not get to work a full 40 hours on any given week - and now we won’t get paid to make up the difference - I’m so thankful that we made it through the past year. That we worked together to get through everything that we have, and we will continue to do so. Thankfully during second round of shut downs, medical massage was deemed essential, so I was still able to work. Even if my number of appointments is significantly lower than the year before, I was able to work. I am thankful for that every single day.
I am thankful that I didn’t have to take off time this year for doctor’s appointments while I began working through my PCOS diagnosis. I’m thankful that I still qualified for decent health insurance that covered almost everything.
I am thankful for all the changes I have made in my business, for expanding my reach, and for finally having the courage to share my real message. I spent so much of my wellness career preaching the importance of exercise, of clean eating, of all the things, all the programs… and I got to spend the past year exploring and learning, and coming to really find what I stand for, and to share that message with people who truly needed to hear it. 2020 brought me opportunities to take countless virtual trainings that I wouldn’t have been able to take in person due to travel, expenses, time off work. I was able to connect with new people all over the country, and all over the world. Now I have people that I regularly talk to in Colorado, Washington State, California, and even New Zealand. I won’t say that the pandemic has been a walk in the park. It was far from it. And I also know that there are probably people listening today who had a much harder time than I did - and I promise you, my heart goes out to you.
But I am thankful that 2020, and this pandemic happened (while I wish it could have happened and not had the global tragedy tied to it). I am thankful that my family is healthy. I’ve had extended family members, and friends contract Covid, and I am so thankful that they made a recovery. I also know a great many friends of friends who were not so lucky, and again, my heart goes out to them - as it goes out to everyone struggling, feeling lonely, scared, worried. I am thankful for the position that I am in. And I hope that I am able to stay in a position floating above the water in order to help anyone else navigate this life and stay float themselves.
No one can tell you what you should or should not be thankful for. Especially after everything you have been through the past 12+ months. I won’t tell you to look past the big things and search out the the small things, but I will encourage you to look for anything to be grateful for. Especially as we wrap up this crazy year. It doesn’t matter if it hit you hard, or if you were fortunate enough to not feel so many of the blows. It doesn’t matter what your experiences are. There is always something to be thankful for. The more we are able to find things - big or small - the more we will be able to raise our vibrations and open up our worlds for more positive things to come. So celebrate the crap out of whatever you feel grateful for today and everyday. There is no right or wrong. Find what makes you smile, what brings you peace and joy, no matter the size. Carry it with you into the world.