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After all of the stress-inducing events of this year, it can be difficult to come up with things to be thankful for at the Thanksgiving dinner table this year. This year was filled with many tragedies, from the Australian wildfires, COVID-19 pandemic, Yemen bombing, police brutality, Uyghur genocides, and violent protests in retaliation to civil justice movements and the U.S. election results. Reflecting on all of these terrible events, I find it difficult to lift myself out of all of the doom and gloom to simply go on with my life knowing all of these things are still occurring right outside my door.

My conversations start and end with the latest tragedy or political event, of which everyone seems to have very strong opinions on even though they speak about things that will not majorly affect them in the long run. There are points in these same conversations where we talk about the good things: the latest recipe I tried, how school is going, planning for the future, what I’ve been up to with my friends, etc.. Some of these things are easier to talk about than others, but at least it’s a change of topic from all of the more depressing discussions.

It is unsurprising that many of us have become fed up with talking about the same thing over and over again each day. We all watch the statistics go up for COVID-19 cases, tune in to see if the president is going to concede to the election results, donate to some of the organizations that are still trying to help with worldwide relief from any current injustices that are still going on.

As if the last four years were not stressful enough, this year just had to have everything that could possibly go wrong. But maybe that’s the point. I never had to pay this much attention to worldly affairs before, but after this year I now realize that living in that kind of ignorance is not okay. Just because I am comfortable and happy in my bubble, does not mean it is not worth venturing outside of it. My bubble is great, I love my bubble, I love it so much that I want others to experience the kind of happiness I have in my bubble. But I know realistically that cannot happen.

Someone’s always going to live better than others and someone’s always going to be struggling to make it to the next day. That’s not okay. But all we can do is our best to help those people who need it the most. Maybe that means donating, or helping with fostering and sheltering those who need a place to stay; maybe it’s supporting a business, or maybe it’s simply bringing more awareness about a particular issue you feel passionate about. Doing something, no matter how small of an action it may seem, is still better than doing nothing.

All of these terrible events have been happening for years, but we’re only just getting interested in them now because they’re all piling up on top of each other. We have all been living in our little bubbles, comfortable with our lives, not knowing that there are others that don’t even have a bubble to begin with, or if they do, it is not one that they want to stay in. The pile grows, and we have no choice but to crane our necks a little higher, wondering if there will ever come a point where we can no longer see the top. And what happens then? What do we do when the pile becomes too much to handle? Do we give up? Any child knows that the easiest way to reach the top of the pile is to pick out something from the bottom and hope the whole thing comes down.

Using that theory, it should be self-evident that fundamental and systemic changes need to occur and they need to happen soon if we want to at least manage the pile. If we’re lucky and make the right changes, a whole cascade of changes could occur on their own, and we would barely have to lift a finger. Then that pile could just become a small mound, or maybe just an air of dust of something that once was. But, the only way that can happen is if we keep pushing those who have the most power and to urge them to instigate these changes.

So, for this Thanksgiving, I remain thankful for my bubble, with all of my family and friends, educators, public servants, small businesses, and a whole community of people who reside in it. But I’m also grateful for the people outside of my bubble, who keep on showing up, who fight to see the next day, who continue to help others out of the kindness of their heart, and who work hard to make this world a better place in their own special way.

If you can’t find a reason to be thankful this year, that’s okay too. It has been a draining year and we have all had things or even people taken away from us this year. It’s understandable if you just want to feel however you want to feel about this year, because those feelings are just as valid and understandable. I can only hope next year will be different for you.

Regardless of your feelings about this holiday this year, I still hope everyone has a nice, relaxing, and fun day with their families and friends!

Subah Soni

Monmouth '21

I am a Senior Biology major with a concentration in molecular cell physiology. I'm a former RA and current SI leader for an intro Biology class. I do Cancer Cell Research and I volunteered abroad in Guatemala to help build a medical office. I'm passionate about the environment and living a positive, guilt-free lifestyle.
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