OPINION: Why you should be extra thankful on this upcoming Thanksgiving

Price Wilborn, Commentary writer

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is already next week? I don’t know about you, but for me, 2021 is flying by.

Like the infamous 2020, this year has been one filled with uncertainty. The ongoing state of the COVID-19 pandemic has once again cast a shadow over everything. People are still contracting the virus, masks are still being worn, Americans are still hesitant about getting the vaccine and people are still being asked to social distance.

Despite all of this, I still believe that this Thanksgiving is one where each and every American can be especially thankful.

For starters, we can once again have larger Thanksgiving gatherings. Last year, many smaller gatherings were held, if gatherings were held at all. Families from all over the country could not travel back home to celebrate with the ones they love most. 

Gatherings that were held were smaller and, let’s be honest, weird. Some video-chatted with loved ones across the nation, and normal festivities that define the holiday could not happen, so it didn’t feel much like Thanksgiving.

This year, however, we can get back to normal. Larger gatherings can be held. Restrictions on travel, gathering size and other various regulations are no longer in place. Family can be hugged again. The awkwardness that came with the pandemic, if even present at all, is eased. 

For better or for worse, most Americans are comfortable with the state of things. Everyone can feel safe while once again getting to see family they may not have seen in months.

Everyone can be thankful that the end of this pandemic is (hopefully) in sight. Vaccine rates across America are going up. Infection rates compared to this time last year are down. Restaurants, grocery stores and other public places have been open to full capacity for several months. Soon, we will be able to say that we lived through a worldwide pandemic.

I’m also thankful for the ability to have a (mostly) normal first semester of college. My senior year of high school was largely lost to COVID-19. While we were in school for a good chunk of the year, we still had to wear masks, we didn’t get to experience athletic events the same, our prom was just a dinner and everything else was in some way affected. 

Coming to WKU, I was relieved to have the chance to do everything I wanted to do in college. While the masks we have to wear indoors can sometimes suck, I’ve learned to not get annoyed with them. I’m still able to have in-person classes, the ability to see friends and meet new people. It isn’t exactly what I imagined college would be like, but it’s pretty dang close.

This Thanksgiving, we are able to look back on the last two years and realize how far we’ve come. We are able to reflect on the hardships and difficulties from the past and see that we have lived through a time like no other. While it’s not over yet, it’s pretty close, and that is something we can all be thankful for. We have had the opportunity to do things that we may not have been able to do otherwise. 

This time of year, it can get a little annoying constantly hearing why you should be thankful. It’s not my intention to lecture you or add to your annoyance. I totally agree with you! I do believe, however, that this Thanksgiving is one where every American should take time to reflect on what they are truly thankful for. It’s this that will help us close out 2021 the best way we can.

There’s so much for everyone to be thankful for this year. I would argue that there’s even more than ever. I wish each and every one of you the happiest, hug-filled and most-normal Thanksgiving!

Commentary writer Price Wilborn can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @pricewilborn.