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Always something to be thankful for

On the Bright Side

I find myself a bit overwhelmed with the sadness in the world today, not to mention my own struggles with downsizing and moving, nor to mention the loss of my dog Bailey recently, so sometimes it seems to take a bit of an extra effort to find the bright side, to find the things to be thankful for, to find the goodness and the light.

Actually, this has been one heck of a year for everyone, and the challenges and hardships seem to be topmost on everyone's minds these days. But the good news is, no matter how bad things get, there is always something to be thankful for.

Fortunately, even as I am sometimes given to bouts of the plain ol' blues and/or a draining depression, conversely I also seem to be predisposed to be optimistic to the point of Pollyanna-ism. The Glad Game (Pollyanna's answer to bad times) and a Feeling of Gratitude are and have been a part of my makeup for as long as I can remember. And while it has been sorely challenged these last few months (okay, years, really), I'm glad to say those positive feelings are still coming out strong in spite of everything.

Like last year, however, I found myself struggling to write a Thanksgiving column for 2020, as no matter what I say, I am also painfully aware of all the suffering going on in the world today. But I know that in spite of all the unease and uncertainty in the world at large (and even in our little corner of it), there is always something to be thankful for. And I am thankful, even as I also know I have much more to be thankful for than so many others do.

It isn't always easy to remember to be grateful for or happy with what we do have, but it is worth it to make the effort. So today I am offering some things for which I am grateful, hoping that you too might find more reasons to be thankful than to be worried or disillusioned or sad or discouraged:

I'm thankful that we have sunshine and blue skies most days, and lately those amazing lenticular clouds. I'm also thankful for the snow and rain we had recently, as our parched earth needs the moisture so badly. One great thing about Tehachapi is that we have all sorts of weather, and none of it usually lasts too long at a time.

I'm thankful for the many relationships I have, from loved ones to friends to occasional acquaintances. We may not be able to gather like we have in the past, but we can still have conversations either light or deep (or a little of both), by talking on the phone or on Zoom or even in person (with a distance between us). Where there is a will there is a way and there is always a way to connect with people who make our lives richer.

I'm grateful for the fact that I can read and make artsy craftsy things, that I can still write – letters or books or poems or essays. Imagination is alive and well and showing up in some of the most unlikely ways.

Music and dancing are also things to be grateful for, and I am. Whether I'm just listening to some favorite music or making my own, or dancing in the living room to someone else's tune, it's hard to stay too down-in-the-mouth when music is in the air.

I'm thankful that with all the ugliness we hear about, we also hear about great acts of selflessness and kindness by people toward other human beings. Kindness doesn't have to disappear when things get rough; in fact, just the opposite is true. When things look dark and dreary, kindness is more important than ever.

Kindness and love, humor and laughter, creativity and imagination, encouragement and acknowledgement, all of these things are possible even in the worst of times, and all of them are at our fingertips if we choose them over discouragement and despair. There is always much to be thankful for if we choose to look at things through the eyes of gratitude.

I leave you today with this 2020 thought that came to me over the Internet: "This is not the year to get everything you want. This is the year to appreciate everything you have."

© Marilda Mel White. Mel, local writer/photographer and co-owner of Tehachapi Treasure Trove, has been looking on the bright side (and finding much gratitude to write about) for various publications since 1996, She welcomes your comments at [email protected].