Well, it has been a full year since I wrote about what I was thankful for and, having just reread my post from 2020, I can say I should definitely avoid making predictions for the future. Many of the items I noted are still valid this year, but a lot has changed too. As far as my firm belief in November of 2020 that things would be “SOOOOO much better” in 2021, all I can say is I underestimated the politicization of public health and, disappointingly, I overestimated the ability of people to see through the political bullshit and take the appropriate steps to care for and protect their families, friends and communities. This is one of the saddest realizations of the year for me.
And yet there is still much to be thankful for. Despite a new rising Covid wave starting across the US, we are still much better off in what we know about how this virus works and what steps we need to take to protect ourselves and others. We have 2-3 very effective vaccines available for anyone to get at no cost. We have most state governors taking reasonable steps to guide their constituents and businesses to maintain community health. We know how masks help protect us from risk of virus transmission, especially when in close quarters, indoors, without adequate ventilation. We know much more than we did a year ago.
But the pandemic has also kept on going much longer than any of us would have liked, and I will say, I don’t really see the light at the end of the tunnel yet. The rest of the world, outside America and Europe, are undervaccinated because we are not giving away the shots themselves or the technology for vaccine manufacture fast enough. Sooner or later, the chances are high that a new variant will evolve that will outcompete Delta, and it is always possible that the virus will evolve to render our vaccinations useless. Then it is easy to see how we will be back at square one, but with much less goodwill or patience across the population.
I am thankful for the scientists who brought about the vaccine and who have continued to develop and test to make it safe for children ages 5 and up. For me personally, this means my niece and nephews are all now on their way to being fully vaccinated. Our family bubble has done really well and has really kept me going during this last year.
Of course I’m thankful for my whole family as well. I got to take a week-long trip to visit my brother last month and that was amazing. And my sister moved into town with her whole family last spring, so we get to see the kids much more than last year, which has been a wonderful experience. My husband even got to chaperone our niece and her friend at the corn maze for Halloween! It has been really nice having them closer.
I am thankful for my husband getting a new job with a wonderful new mentor/boss. He is now right where he belongs with someone who is patient and willing to share knowledge of the business so that he can be as successful as he wants to be. He also has a 10-15 minute commute, which makes him a much happier person when he gets home. Very thankful for that.
I’m thankful that we got to play 3 band gigs this year. Given that last year was a complete shutdown, we weren’t certain what we would sound like, if we could get together at all. To my surprise and amazement, even after taking a year off, the rust shook right off and we were back at it like we had never left. I don’t know if everyone else had been practicing on their own, but I definitely did not. Good thing I have that insane ability to play just about anything from memory. That didn’t go away at all. Similar to the autistic trait of being able to leave a conversation and then start it back up even weeks later when you see the person again, such is my memory for the music. Here’s hoping we’ll have more opportunities to play and entertain the masses in 2022.
I’m thankful for all those who follow my blog and who have connected with me on LinkedIn. I can’t imagine how much more down I would be if it weren’t for the hopeful, caring, optimistic and encouraging people I have become acquainted with over the last several months. Through these connections, I have been quoted in an online journal, reblogged at least twice and have been interviewed for a site highlighting autistic people telling their stories in their own words. I’m just trying to keep up with it all. Perhaps one day soon, some other new and exciting opportunities will find me. I will keep you all posted.
And lastly, I’m thankful for all the other caring and hopeful people who live in my neighborhood. I’ve been working on being a little more outgoing on dog walks, etc and my neighborhood is just so full of kindhearted people willing to chat about whatever. Once spring rolls around again, I may end up having a little backyard get-together to get to know some folks a little better.
So that’s it for this year; no predictions forthcoming, except one: this is going to be the only new blog entry this week. I don’t know when our collective situation will be better, pandemic-wise or other, but I know I am part of a not insignificant group of people who are honestly trying to make things better every day and that gives me a reason to get out of bed in the mornings. Keep on moving forward; we can get through this together. In fact, we won’t get through it any other way.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!