ThanksGiving 2021- Normalities vs Abnormalities

Many are well into celebrating Thanksgiving, while some are only hours away. As this is true for some, it is not true for most.

Today most of us sit, or will pair, around our dining room or kitchen tables with friends and family, and some alone, giving thanks for being alive, COVID-free, or winning the battle of the COVID infection. That deserves great thanks, as this year, 2021 and the year prior, has ascribed us to some of the biggest life challenges we’ll ever face and never saw coming. Being forced into isolation and quarantine has uprooted some deep-rooted mental and psychological issues. People worldwide have lost their homes, loved ones, jobs, and their only source of income. We have seen increased racial tensions and intentions and injustices. We have seen public figures diminish the definitions of humanity, equality, and solidarity. Over the past couple of years we have succumb to divided order, segregation, and refuting the tactics needed to take to get ahead of the spread of a deadly virus. Yet, we are on the verge of a third wave, and mandatory shutdowns.

I am a person who finds that pointing the finger serves the world a disservice. In fact, it will only make certain persons feel more validated, particularly in the case of wrongdoing, and when in essence that is absolutely not the case. I am a true believer, a humanistic believer, a who feels that we are all responsible for ourselves and well-being and should never look for anyone to make a determination of whether we should behave responsibly when it will result in saving lives, mainly your own and those close to you. This means, we should never tolerate situations, judge others negatively, or devalue or our personal beliefs to fit into social norms or to associate ourselves with a particular clique or clan.

The world has gone mad. Many have become stressed, depressed, and sad, still subjectifying or demystifying themselves to the taboo and stigmas associate with getting professional mental assistance, i.e., therapy or counseling. Most persons in the world who have common sense, who believe in social equality are frowned upon, but why. I don’t have the answer, but maybe its supplementary to certain individuals personal volitions or is based on being a nonbeliever, or lack of achiever. Trying to fit into the lifestyle of others that goes against their independent beliefs, while being espoused into those only to feel a sense of entitlement.

Wait, not to get off the topic of ThanksGiving, but today, a great deal of people assemble around dining tables with distant friends and family members, laughing, joking, and speaking out about how they’ve dealt with trying years, current situations, and how they, but not others, were able to pull together all of their resources for the purposes of survival, economically, mentally, emotional, while holding onto and embracing their spirituality. Some are afforded the ability to travel near or far. Some persons who did not have reserves to begin with, are the persons that are the ones suffering the most. No judgment, most of use are only one paycheck from being in the poorhouse. Yes, even middle-class persons who never thought in a million years that they would experience a sense of destitute have now come face-to-face with impecunious experiences. The entire situation is not their fault, as it is not the fault of anyone, well maybe it is, but that is beside the point. No one ever asked to be placed in tumultuous situations. If we were given the option, I am sure a hundred percent of the world would have checked or penciled in the NO or Opt out box. However, when circumstances are not optional and the boxes has been checked for us already, we have to live out these situations and pray and behave in ways in hope that that we will come out on the life side of the situation or this pandemic. 

Information and Communicative Technology and Socialization, and ThanksGiving

It is thanksgiving, and many people are still allowed to physically interact with loved ones without risking the transmission of the coronavirus or being asymptomatic. Well, at least most of us, those of us who are abiding by the social distancing and social gathering rules. Technology has been our best friends until now, whereby we have all become dependent on digitized information communicative technologies to socialize ourselves and communicate with others. However, some persons are not provided with the advantages of using digital technologies. In most cases, this is due to affordability issues, inaccessibility to robust broadband connections and other materials, or are uncomfortable in using innovative gizmos and gadgets. This is mainly true for older adults whose preferred method of communication is person-to-person. In using technology today for the purpose of communication and socialization, it may be a bit intimidating or overwhelming. Or it can be seemingly exciting, given that they have developed a certain level of comfortably and digital literacy.

Moreover, when older adults receive the necessary support or training from younger generations to assist them with their use, namely their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, or others, this can be an exceptional benefit to increased well-being and the reduction of senses of loneliness, boredom, and isolation.

Technology is everywhere. Everywhere you turn and look, people, mainly younger generations, are using technology to communicate. Yes, this is to even communicate with senior adults in their family or otherwise. If grandparents or older parents have technologies, such as smartphones or email or using social networking sites, family members can share and post daily activities and sent mother, father, grandmother, and grandfather a text message to say, “Happy Thanksgiving.” This is true even for great-grands as people to have longer lifespans.

FaceTime has probably being used in 2021 more than it has ever been. Just this year, I had no idea of what Microsoft Teams were until a few of my doctoral learner colleagues and I started to regularly connect as a way to motivate one another. We have started to use this tool to stay focused and overcome stressors and mental strains associated with life and the doctoral iterative processes.  It has been an outlet to speak about life in general.

ICTs and socially-oriented technologies (SOTs)have become our best friends, but for some, their worst enemy. Most of the tech-savvy persons, mainly young generations and some older adults, those educated, have the capacity to implement workarounds or fix small glitches, while others are not, making them want to toss their phones or computers out of the window. 

Still Thankful Even in the Midst of the now 2021 COVID Pandemic – Upcoming Third Wave

What I am thankful for today and for the rest of my life is being healthy and happy. This year alone has shifted my thinking to be more optimistic and to have a positive outlook on life. I have become more humble and have started to choose my affiliations, and lack thereof, more carefully. I have decided that only if you can add benefit to my life will I engage; otherwise, it will be time wasted. I have decided that I will give back. I will speak up and give voice to the voiceless, overlooked, and underserved. Today, and from here on out, I will challenge myself to be better and to do better. Life is worth living, as it does not matter what you have or what you can get. It is more about being in a happy place and space that starts with you.

I am extremely grateful for the new people that have come into my life for the good, mainly those from an academic standpoint and those who have provided me with the opportunity to become a better me, professionally, personally, and academically. I no longer care about materialistic things and have decided that what I have, big or small, I will make do. I give kudos to the naysayers, the negative prayers, and the haters who have only added fuel to my fires, thus causing my rocket to reach unbeknownst heights. Other things that I am personally thankful for are:

  • My children
  • My husband
  • My immediate friends and family
  • My mental and physical health, even when it vetoes.
  • Life challenges and complexities that make me a stronger and better individual.
  • Technologies and social media outlets. Just imagine the world had there not been ICTs or SOTs. This has been the primary communication source for those infected with COVID and their death beds, who had to say their last goodbyes to their loved ones.
  • I am thankful for mental health professionals, as there has been a dramatic increase in mental health cases in 2021 alone. This is for those who have sought help or refused treatment due to the stigma associated with mental health treatments.
  • I am thankful for prayer. A lot of people have turned to the graces of God as a way to fight this pandemic. People who have not prayed or said thank you in a long time will open their mouths and hearts to give thanks to the heavens above.
  • I am thankful for others’ kindness and giving back to communities, the known and the unknown.
  • I am thankful for life’s happiness, love, joy, respect, and positive environments and energy.
  • I am thankful for making this far in 2021 and will continue to pray that I make it past 2021, as we know, most of us will not.

A SPECIAL THANKS!!!

I wish to give a special thanks to all essential workers and those who have put themselves at risk and stood on the frontlines to protect others. Thank you to all persons in the medical, legal, and food industries and others that ensure people are getting proper care, necessities, and nourishment. I especially want to thank those who have gone above and beyond for making sure that no one went hungry for thanksgiving and all of the days before, as well as those to come. This is especially true as millions of people are jobless, which has led to homelessness and shortages of food for themselves and their families.

LET’S NOT FORGET ABOUT OUR SENIORS AND VULNERABLE POPULATIONS

Paying attention to those persons most vulnerable is essential. It is undoubtedly that the world continues to age, and more people are living longer these days. People with existing medical conditions make them more susceptible to contract the covid virus, whereas consequences could be deadly. That does not mean that they should be ignored. They should be embraced.  When it comes to enjoying thanksgiving, there may be opportunities where social distancing is not possible. So, even you feel that it’s mandatory to spend time with vulnerable populations, the best thing is to be mindful and eliminating any chance that they could be exposed to the coronavirus, given that you have been, are affected, or is asymptomatic, not knowing that you are positive. Millions of people have traveled, and medical professionals are anticipating an increase in positive tests and deaths. But, looking at the situation as a whole, is a turkey dinner or stuffing to die for? Whatever your decision, be grateful, be thankful, and nevertheless, be blessed.

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