ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Cristina Villalón is the Co-Founder and Lead Designer at Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón. She directs both the Interior Design and Visual Merchandising divisions while overseeing all decisions made on a day-to-day basis at the firm.
The year 2020 has been one of the most challenging years in recent history.
A year with a global pandemic that brought the whole world to a standstill, national civil unrest, natural disasters, never-ending uncertainty and the elections. Although this year has tested us in a myriad of ways, it has also given us an opportunity to slow down, reflect and reassess what is really important in life. In doing so, we can find a silver lining among these challenges. They are what make us appreciate and be grateful for the small things in life.
This Thanksgiving, we’d like to share with you 11 things we’re grateful for this year in spite of all that’s happening in the world:
1. SPENDING TIME WITH LOVED ONES
Having to quarantine has given us the chance to spend more time with family. In the daily hustle and busyness that had become the norm, we’d been missing out on dressing up in silly costumes, playing board games, creating arts and crafts, cooking, and watching movies together. These are the ordinary moments and bonding experiences that bring families closer together. 2020 has given many of us the gift of quality family time.
2. GOOD HEALTH
COVID-19 is like Russian roulette. You have no idea how or if your body will fight off the disease. We’ve seen everything from asymptomatic friends and older folk with underlying conditions fight off the virus without problems to young, healthy adults with no pre-existing conditions that have perished. This has the whole world on edge. We’re grateful for each day that passes where our team, our family and our loved ones are healthy and well. This year has reminded us that each day is a gift, and we should try to make each day matter and enjoy life to the fullest.
I think most of us can agree that technology has been THE key component to surviving 2020. Without it, many of us wouldn’t have been able to work remotely, have kids attend school or catch up with friends and family via video chat. Technology is what has kept us connected with the outside world and with our loved ones. It has provided entertainment, opportunities, learning experiences and a window to the outside world.
4. MOTHER EARTH
The lockdown for most of 2020 presented a silver lining: our planet benefitted from our absence. By staying inside, we reduced our carbon emissions and allowed natural ecosystems to thrive. Additionally, more animals across the globe have been spotted stepping up in their respective habitats. The forced pause has shown us the undeniable link between our way of life and the health of our planet.
Home, sweet home. We are so grateful to have a place that we’re able to call home. Staying inside has forced us to make the best use of our living space and give it more TLC. 2020 has given us the time and attention to organize messy rooms, declutter, rearrange furniture, change light bulbs, and fix broken appliances. We’ve been reminded that our home is our sanctuary and it’s important to maintain it.
6. SPENDING MORE TIME WITH OURSELVES
The pandemic has forced us to reset and take a step back to evaluate ourselves, our goals and priorities. With more time on our hands, we’ve been able to do more of the things that fill us with joy. Things like reading books, catching up on podcasts, exercising, meditating, and picking up old hobbies.
7. FIRST RESPONDERS
There are no words to express how grateful we are for the brave men and women who continue to risk their lives in the frontlines to take care of others during this pandemic. What first responders have done to provide care to every citizen in need is truly admirable. We’re very thankful for all that they do!
8. LOCAL BUSINESSES
Local businesses have really stepped up in 2020. They’re coming up with innovative and safe ways to keep their businesses open. Local businesses and food services have added tools to make online reservations, delivery and pick up all at the touch of your fingertips. Not to mention that they’ve also added the use of new health measures in their establishments like air purification systems and UV lights that kill germs to keep customers safe. We are thankful for small businesses and are determined to support them!
9. THE LITTLE THINGS
2020 has made us appreciate the little things in life. Things like a warm home-cooked meal, being able to rest and do nothing for a day, getting a haircut, enjoying the outdoors, or catching up with a friend. These are some things we took for granted before COVID-19, but now they’re some of the things that bring us the most joy. As people are saying, “This is not the year to get everything you want. This is the year to appreciate everything you have.”
10. ACCESS TO EDUCATION
Our shared experience and humanity have inspired many to share their knowledge and expertise with others, as they too reinvent themselves in the virtual landscape. This abundance of free training courses that have become available has made virtual education more accessible, and at times affordable. People with internet access have been able to access free programs created to further education and professional development. You can learn more about some of the free resources by clicking here.
On a personal note, I could not be more grateful to the outstanding leadership, faculty and staff at my daughters’ school, who have completely reinvented the curriculum to be able to provide it virtually. I know how enormously privileged I am to be able to provide this outstanding education to my daughters even in these times of COVID. Many are not as fortunate.
11. LOOKING OUT FOR EACH OTHER
The Coronavirus has inspired us to look out for each other more than ever before. Our shared human experience has allowed for deeper interpersonal connections. By staying safe and taking care of each other, we’re guaranteeing others will be around to take care of us if circumstances are reversed. People are building strong resilient communities by coming together. The pandemic will end but the bridges and connections we form throughout this crisis will prevail.
This year has brought the entire world to a standstill. In the process, it has forced us to rethink and reassess how we live, what is necessary, and whether we want to go back to things as they were. 2020 has given us a unique opportunity to reevaluate, appreciate the little things in life, and be grateful for what we have. Share with your loved ones what you’re grateful for this year over your Thanksgiving meal.
All of us at AD&V wish you a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving Day!