Editor’s Column: Dig deeper to be grateful, reflect

Editor Column

Emilie Conlon, Editor-in-Chief


Last week I wrote about finding new or different ways to celebrate thanksgiving this year, because most of us probably aren’t celebrating in ways that we’re not used to. This week, I want to chat about digging deeper to find what we’re thankful and grateful for, because if you’re feeling anything like me, those things are somewhat hard to come up with right now. 

There is no doubt that this year has sort of sucked, for lack of a better word. Last week I talked about losing my grandfather and the cancellation of my extended family’s holiday celebrations. Those things were hard enough to process, they were emotional, but I had a small glimmer of hope that I would be able to have a small celebration with my immediate family, but Tuesday I found out that my step-dad was exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, and that he is experiencing symptoms. 

Thankfully, it sounds like his symptoms are mild and he is feeling okay. He got tested today and is quarantining away from the family. 

I’d known I wanted to share my thoughts on being thankful and reflecting on those thoughts around thanksgiving, but after this news, it was hard to sit down and share what I was thankful for this year, because it just felt like everything I enjoyed or loved had been snatched away. This year has felt very much like Groundhog Day, except you wake up every day inside one of those days where nothing goes right, and your frustration is mounting quickly. I was at the peak point of frustration today, and couldn’t think of anything to be grateful for this year. 

Of course, that’s absolute silliness. I’m a truly lucky person. I have plenty to be thankful for. 

So to myself and do you readers, I’m encouraging us to dig deeper into our minds and our hearts this year, past the surface layer that’s cluttered with things that have been taken from us, negativity and frustration to reveal the core of ourselves and find the things that really matter—the things we should be grateful for right now. 

For me, one major, simple thing I am grateful for this year is my health. I’m young, and this year has been scary no matter who you are or what age you are. But sometimes I certainly find myself taking for granted that I wake up healthy everyday. 

I spoke a while back about a close call with COVID I had, I was having similar symptoms and thankfully tested negative, and honestly after that negative test, I continued living my life, not really thinking much of it. But truly, I am thankful that I didn’t have the virus. I know plenty of people who have had it, and we are absolutely still learning about the aftereffects of it. 

If I had it, my life could have been changed forever. I was lucky to not be in that situation. 

I’m grateful for that. 

The other major thing I am grateful for this year is all of you. Our readers, supporters and cheerleaders. Sometimes, when I get caught up in the day-to-day operations it can be hard to take a step back and acknowledge this thing I’ve been a part of creating. 

I say this as humbly as possible, but when I stopped to think about it, I was part of starting a newspaper this year. Honestly, who does that? I’m still trying to decide if I’m crazy or not (I probably am.) 

Working on Valley Sentinel has been tons and tons of work, but as I reflect on the process, I’m proud. I’m so proud to be apart of something different, new and community oriented. I’m grateful to be apart of this. 

I’m also incredibly (seriously, I can’t even think of a big enough word to express this) grateful for the support you have given us. The true excitement and support we have received from you, the community, has been truly overwhelming and thrilling. I never thought so many of you would love what we do each week, and I can’t thank you enough. 

I’m grateful for you. 

We couldn’t do what we do each week, without all of your support. Thank you for taking a chance on us, we hope we can return the favor someday.