On being grateful
November 24, 2020
I’ve been thinking about gratitude a fair amount over the past couple of weeks as discussions about thwarted Thanksgiving plans are tossed about. This year has certainly taught us many lessons, one of which should be gratitude. And it is especially relevant in this season of giving to reflect on all that we are grateful for in our lives.
I am grateful for my family, friends, and my fur babies. I am also grateful for my colleagues who make me laugh with the unexpected emailed meme or joke. I am grateful because my colleagues challenge me and they also support me, making me a better educator and administrator.
I am also grateful for my students who impress me each and every day with their passion and desire to contribute to the common good, to bring forth change in their respective industries, and who desire to learn more each and every day. I am grateful for their insight and their many different perspectives.
I am grateful for those who have served this country, like my father and my uncle who both served in WWII. They fought to give us the liberties we have today. I am also grateful for those who are currently serving this country, especially to those women and men who are stationed across the globe, away from their families.
I am grateful for the little things that I took for granted before the pandemic, such as a beautiful blue sky, the smell of a fire pit, roasting marshmallows, a song that steals me away in time for a few seconds, a mid-day walk with my dog, and the sound of leaves under my feet.
Yes, there have been many challenges over the past nine months, and I am sure there are more ahead. Another thing 2020 has taught us, is that there is much in our lives we cannot control. I recognize that the challenges have been more difficult on some, specifically people of color, women, single parents, the elderly, and gig workers, to name a few. I am not diminishing the impact this pandemic has had on them or anyone. The loss is profound.
I am encouraging you to take a little time to reflect on what you are grateful for, even the smallest of things can bring a sense of peace or a smile to your face – even if fleeting. The things you are grateful for today may be things you took for granted a year ago. The things you are grateful for today will likely continue next month and the month after that and the month after that because our focus has shifted. So, think about what you are grateful for and why and cherish those them, and then nurture them and hold them close in your heart.
Please have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
Anne Converse Willkomm
Assistant Dean, Graduate College
Assistant Clinical Professor & Dept. Head, Goodwin College