EDITORIAL: Shelter of hope and gratitude

Observer editor Adam Louis takes stock of the blessings 2020 brought

We did it, everybody. We reached October. That means two more months of the most insane year of any of our lives will be over. That doesn’t necessarily mean all of 2020’s problems are over, but I strive to look on the bright side – it’s a start.

Full disclosure: I’m American by blood, and no matter how long I’ve lived up in Canada, I may never fully get over the fact that Thanksgiving is coming before Halloween. It’s like Celsius – there are certain things I will never be able to wrap my head around.

Despite all the hardships, the anxiety, the tears, the conflict this year has brought, there remains plenty to be thankful for. Even under the most trying circumstances we’ve collectively faced in our lifetimes, with careful thought, there remains an unflinching, sturdy shelter of hope and gratitude we all find deep within ourselves. If anything, this pandemic and all the chaos, destruction and death it’s brought with it has brought our “thankful-fors” to the forefront of our minds.

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It’s only when certain aspects of our lives are stripped away that we see what they’ve meant to us all along. In short, you really don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. And really there’s no need to beat yourself up for it; this is something we all fall into. It’s part of our nature.

Humans are among the most adaptive species this planet has yet seen, and the pandemic is a prime example. This yet-to-be-fully-understood worldwide threat has come to our doorstep and we’ve taken to it like a duck to water – some countries and even provinces better than others, granted. We battened down the hatches, shielded ourselves and rode out the first part of the storm. The speed at which we responded is the reason B.C. did as well as it did during the first wave, despite its occasional reluctance and collective discomfort to sheltering in place. While it’s going to take time to get the second curve back down again, I hold a great deal of hope for us.

Unfortunately, the adaptive process humans undergo at surprising speeds also works on positive changes in our lives and we simply take them as day-to-day routine until the next change comes along, good or bad. If we don’t pay conscious attention to the people and things that make our lives wonderful, we may miss them.

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The pandemic has shed light on what we all miss and love: time with family and friends, a handshake or a hug, concerts, sports games, just to name a few.

The good news is we’ll get this all back one day, hopefully sooner rather than later. I believe those who see the days past the pandemic will come away with a new sense of thankfulness of everything we’ve taken for granted.

Even now, when we’re missing so much, there’s plenty to be thankful for. We have a new-found appreciation for our health. We have new ways to learn. Some of us have picked up new hobbies that could turn into lifelong passions.

We’ve discovered a new sense of creativity and invention we never would have seen had dire circumstances not brought us there.

Happy Thanksgiving, B.C., and don’t forget to count your blessings.

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