Making the most of life in these trying times can be difficult. We all want to go back to our normal lives pre-COVID-19, but for the safety and well-being of ourselves, our families, our friends and our community, we can’t and we shouldn’t.
We are living in a different world — a historic era — because of the pandemic. We’re tired, we’re anxious and we’re all just a bit annoyed with the situation.
We don’t like wearing masks. We don’t like not being able to visit with family and friends. Our children and grandchildren have to attend school via the internet. We can’t attend concerts or local events. Our student-athletes have had to forgo sports this fall, and who knows if they’ll be able to play this spring.
The worst part for many seems to be the uncertainty. When is this going to end? When will schools open again? When will we be able to hug one another without fear of giving or getting the virus? The fact is whatever our thoughts and level of concern when it comes to the coronavirus, it’s very real.
The frustration of living in isolation has worn on us. The long-term nature of the pandemic and concerns about so many other issues — the economy, politics, human relations — is concerning, not only to our everyday lives but to our mental health as well.
While I try to keep things in perspective by considering the families directly impacted by this virus, who are ill and those mourning the loss of a loved one, there is hope.
It may seem a odd in the midst of a pandemic, but never have I been more grateful than I am now.
I’m grateful for the front-line health care workers dealing with the pandemic, the law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMTs trying to keep our communities safe, the truckers who are still running to keep food and supplies in our grocery stores and the retailers who are providing goods to the community.
I’m thankful for our teachers who are navigating the new realities of educating students virtually, the small-business owners struggling to pay their bills and their employees and the elected officials who are stuck between a rock and a hard place on knowing the best course of action for their communities.
I’m proud of our postal workers who are working hard to make sure we get our mail. It is easy for these people to be “invisible” as they come and go by our houses almost unnoticed, but life without these people is almost unimaginable.
I also feel fortunate to be a member of the free press, to be able-bodied and employed during the most serious crisis this nation has faced in recent history. I’m proud to be able to report critical information, and to inform our readers about the happenings of our community.
Given the realities that this year has brought us it might be easy to forget that in spite of it all, we actually have a lot of reasons to be thankful.
We now have more quality time to spend with our immediate family. We are now able to spend more time enjoying nature and the outdoors.
We are able to get that needed exercise by walking in the neighborhood and working in our yard or garden. We are able to get those chores done around the house that we’ve been putting off.
We’ve been able to slow down, not feel rushed, busy or overwhelmed. We are able to recognize and honor members of our community for their ongoing efforts to help people.
This Thanksgiving certainly won’t be the Thanksgiving that many of us want, but it is fair to say that it will be the Thanksgiving we need if we want to stay safe and healthy.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.