Approaching Thanksgiving in a post-pandemic world, gratitude is abundant. Though businesses and homes have generally opened themselves up to people again since 2020, it has been impossible to forget the loneliness and separation from humanity that the pandemic inflicted on everybody. Its impacts continue to linger even as families reunite around the Thanksgiving table. So, if there’s one thing that everybody can agree on to be grateful for this year, it’s the people in their lives who bring them love, and who they now get to hold close once again.
Eve May, 16, a high school student, expressed her immense gratitude for the people that surround her. “I’m grateful for so much. These last few years after the pandemic have been especially difficult for anyone and everyone, but I really think that the only reason I made it through that time was the people around me,” she said. “I realized in that time when I was away from friends, family, teachers, that even the people that I didn’t really like – they were still an important part of my life, and they made it what it is.”
Eve, like most people, is thankful for the people who she interacts with on a daily basis, but she shared that she’s also thankful for the people who play far less prominent roles in her life. “It’s really the people you might just pass by every day at the bus station, that really make everything different for you,” she described. “Slowly integrating back into the real world. I’m really grateful for all the people that I don’t know, all the people that I’ve seen, but I don’t know their face, I don’t know their name. They bring me so much joy and they make my life what it is, and I’m grateful for my life, so I’m also grateful for them.”
This appreciation for humanity seems to be a common thread linking people from all generations – whether children or seniors, teens or adults. Jonathon Andres, 10, shared a similar sentiment to Eve’s. “I’m very grateful for my family, and for my friends,” he commented.
Sienna Monnier, 16, agrees: “I’m grateful for my family, my dogs, and my friends. I’m grateful for my friends because they care about me and I care about them and I can be myself around them, and they always make me feel very loved. I’m grateful for my family because we’re pretty close, as far as families go, and of course I’m grateful for my dogs because they make me happy,” she shared.
Melissa Appelbaum, 52, is similarly thankful for the love her family brings her, but she also shared her appreciation for their dedication to having a positive impact on the world. “I’m grateful for my family, my kids, and my amazing husband. I’m grateful that everybody’s kind in my family and is a hard worker, and sweet to each other and sweet to me, and cares about issues in the world, and cares about other people and wants to make good contributions to society,” she shared. “I’m grateful for all the love that I’ve been given and that surrounds me.”
Andrea Schwartz agrees that there is much to be grateful for following the pandemic. “I’m grateful that I’m healthy, and not senile yet,” she joked. “I’m also grateful that I can see my family again. We had holidays on Zoom (during the pandemic), which was better than nothing, but not exactly ideal. I get to see everybody sitting around my table for Thanksgiving again this year, and I will always be thankful for that.”
It’s evident that everybody, regardless of age, is immensely grateful for their friends and family who they are once again allowed to connect with in-person, and who nurture them with love and companionship.
The pandemic thrust nearly everybody into an isolation that has had real and lasting impacts. But, in the years that follow, it’s clear that the warmth and love of togetherness will continue to heal and give everybody a reason to be grateful.
By Gigi Appelbaum-Schwartz