Still Lots To Be Thankful For
To say 2020 has been a weird year would be a tremendous understatement. I’ll keep it positive and not list the issues or topics which have been wearing us down.
Although it’s hard to tell sometimes, we still have plenty to be thankful for despite the constant barrage of negative events. Especially those of us living in small towns like our wonderful Muskoka communities.
We should be thankful for living in a community where you can still see plenty of friendly faces wherever you go. Where many people know your name, who your family is, and what you do for a living. Where we believe in lending a helping hand and being a good neighbour.
We should be thankful for the many individuals past and present who volunteer their time to making our communities so great: the youth coaches for any and every sport around; the people who give up evenings and weekends to distribute food to those in need; those who lend a hand for community events; the directors and committee members of not-for-profit organizations – from healthcare to the arts to the environment to youth organizations; and to the many who wear multiple hats, taking on various volunteer roles to make their home town a better place.
We should be thankful that while other parts of the province, country and world are facing large numbers of COVID cases, we live in an area where the cases have remained low (good job everyone).
We should be thankful that we have opportunities to enjoy the unbelievable beauty of Muskoka’s natural environment every single day without having to travel hours to do so.
We should be thankful for each other as we navigate an ever-changing world where societal pressures are causing more emotional distance than ever before.
There are plenty of things I’m personally thankful for and I’m sure many of you will agree with most, if not all, of them.
I’m thankful for my family and friends – all of my family and friends – whether we’ve spoken recently or not. You’ve been there with hugs, love, laughter and kicks in the behind at just the right moments and helped mould the man I’ve become today.
I’m thankful for my various employers over the years who have provided me the means to support my family and learn valuable skills along the way.
I’m thankful for all the artists putting faith in my recent venture and the members of the public who continue to support in various ways.
I’m thankful for football (real football) for providing me with a lifetime of disappointments and exaltations; for giving me lifelong friendships; for teaching me about teamwork and leadership; for allowing me to give back to my amazing community; and, simply, for being the beautiful game.
I’m thankful for being able to live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet; for the four seasons I get to experience each year and the appreciation I have for each of them – the amazing autumn colours, the beauty of a fresh snowfall, the hopefulness of spring’s blooms, and summer days that last forever.
I’m thankful for all the individuals who can engage in civil discourse and respectfully disagree: those who believe in diversity of thought; those who believe that changing one’s opinion based on newfound knowledge and facts isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength.
I’m thankful for everyone working hard at their jobs; be it the school custodians, the frontline healthcare workers, the teachers, the small business owners, the administrators, first responders and everyone in between … yes, even the lawyers.
Last but certainly not least, I’m thankful for you the reader who allows me the privilege of doing what I love to do day in and day out. And for being the best you that you can be every single day.
By Chris Occhiuzzi, special to HuntersBayRadio.com
When Chris isn’t writing stories for HuntersBayRadio.com, Dockside Publishing or running MuskokaUnlimited.com, you can find him volunteering his time as a coach and board member for the Huntsville Soccer Club.