After cancelling my out-of-town travel plans, I wondered: will COVID ruin Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving is a true American holiday. And Americans both native-born and naturalized celebrate it with glee.
At least, they used to.
It is Thanksgiving Week of 2020 and the next and biggest wave yet of COVID infections is about to overwhelm the nation. We will shelter in place, seating our nuclear family members around a smaller-than-usual dinner table and engage the rest of our family and friends over Zoom.
Incidentally, Zoom will waive its 40-minute session limit this Thanksgiving for non-paying subscribers. So, that’s nice.
Still, the aspect of Thanksgiving that I enjoy the most, cooking, will be unenjoyable this year. I mean: why bother cooking a big meal for three people?
Like many of you, I have not seen my family since before the first COVID wave hit the U.S. in March. And, I haven’t FaceTimed with my mother since January; her iPad crashed soon after my visit, thus, we haven’t laid eyes on each other.
Okay. All misery aside, I ask again: will COVID ruin Thanksgiving?
The answer is, despite the ravages of COVID, not if we let it.
2020 has been a [insert your expletive of choice here]. I lost my mother-in-law Helen Weiss to COVID in early May. We could not say our goodbyes in person, nor were we allowed to attend her burial on Long Island. Instead, we conducted a Zoom Funeral.
My wife, daughter, and I will likely skip the “what are we thankful for?” recitations, because the ritual would inflict on us too much pain to endure. But that said, and despite the personal tragedy, I am thankful for the good work that I do, to help people navigate a future of work to do meaningful work. What is more, I am truly grateful for all of the new connections that I established during the first COVID lockdown, some of whom were my guests on The Dan Smolen Podcast.
Good things may result from tragedy and misfortune.
I am thankful that the family members I cannot visit this year are well, and for the precious time, which would have gone to cooking a Thanksgiving meal, that I can now spend poring over the books I have yet to read, like my lifelong friend Hope Edelman‘s latest, The After Grief.
To all of my listeners and followers who struggled in 2020 with: career setbacks; isolation; depression and anxiety, and; tragic loss, I say that we will get through these hard times together. While we may not see one another for several weeks or months to come we will emerge from our COVID cloister stronger, more resilient, and imbued with social purpose.
And with that I know: our best days lie ahead.
May the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines prove efficacious. And may we all be in each other’s physical presence again, soon.
DAN SMOLEN is founder of The Dan Smolen Experience, LLC. He is also the executive producer and host of The Dan Smolen Podcast. Please comment here to let us know how we are doing, and, to offer suggestions for future guests and topics. Also, please catch up with our past blog posts, like this one and this one.
Image credits: Incredibly cheerful family at Zoom Thanksgiving, iStock Photo.