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"There's Plenty to Be Thankful for in 2020."

Updated: Jan 22, 2021

Regardless of how dreary things looked in 2020, my friends and I gathered after our Saturday morning run as we did last year to celebrate our Friendsgiving. As a matter of fact, I was astounded by the things they had to say . . .

As enthusiastic as I was to get together with my friends and share the things I was thankful for this year, I couldn't help but feel apprehensive about asking a controversial question:

"There may not much, but what are you thankful for this year?" I asked doubtfully, due to the substantial level of uncertainty I felt as I let the words out of my mouth to a good friend.

Unsure of what her answer would be, I braced myself for a very pessimistic response. Honestly, I do not recall the last time I felt such ambivalence when asking someone a question. Even though I had plenty of things to talk about, I wasn't so certain my friends had as much of a positive perspective of this year. After all, we all had heard sad stories and bad news during the year.

"Well, in fact, there is plenty to be thankful for in 2020. But for the most part I am thankful for my health," she said confidently.

As her words made their way into my ears, I observed everyone else nodding to her response. All the built-up tension I had in my body up to that moment vanished in a heartbeat.

Despite the personal things each one of us had to be thankful for—from the simplicity of improving relationships with partners to the extra time spent with family and to work on self-knowledge—the one thing uniting us was appreciation for the closeness of our group.

As a matter of fact, we became even closer this year once we started to get together, in addition to running, to help one another when challenging times showed up. In reality, during this year, we progressed from friends who enjoyed each other’s company to caring as if they were part of our very own family. Our dedication went from raising money to help with medical bills to collecting donations to purchasing meals and getting them delivered to the doors of those affected by COVID-19.

One of our friends even brought up the fact that her teenage kids were envious of the level of friendships in her life; a great example for them when seeking true friendships of their own. Not to mention that another friend shared how impressed and grateful her young adult sons were by the kindness of the group.

Honestly, true friendship is one of the things I cherish most in life. My father always told me when it comes to friends we should always strive for quality rather than quantity. For that advice I am very grateful. I couldn't be happier with the family I have built away from my hometown. I am very thankful for the friends I still have back in Brazil as well—amazing individuals who make me feel like I never twelve years ago. Every time we meet, it feels like only a few weeks have passed since the last time we were together . . .

My friends here in Miami have made this city feel like home. They have become my family and I, as many other friends, didn't escape their kindness and generosity. A month ago, someone rang the doorbell. I looked at the camera and saw a delivery. This time, however, it wasn't an Amazon box. It was flowers sent by my friends to cheer me up after a relative passed away. It was truly unexpected, and for that gesture I will always be grateful to them.

I have many other things to be thankful for. Notwithstanding the challenges brought upon us by 2020, I believe this year gave me the opportunity to spend more time with my family and helped me to get rid of distractions preventing me from focusing on personal goals.

It was a year filled with challenges and unfortunate news. Sometimes, the amount of depressing news was overwhelming. However, I would rather focus on the fact that I have been able to make it without going mad. I feel like I survived. Perhaps, I am indeed a survivor in the midst of all this madness! For that, I am thankful as well.

My friend was, indeed, correct when she stated that "there's plenty to be thankful for in 2020." I couldn't agree more. After all, opportunities can come from challenging times and I am grabbing ahold of mine.

"Now you tell me... Despite all the bad news, what are you thankful for in 2020?"

I hope you have a blessed end of the year and I will see you in 2021!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays!

Also read: The Friends that Run Together Christmas Breakfast

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