Gratitude is likely to be the medication society wants | Columnists

Something changed last weekend and it was beautiful. I could watch my son Jack play his basketball game from the stands. I went to a live yoga class. My husband personally judged a barbecue competition. My mom and I went to Target, she hasn’t been there for a year! Our church was full, people were singing and awkwardly hugging each other here and there.

It’s been quite a year for all of us. I am terribly saddened by all of those who have lost loved ones, our children, missed proms and birthday parties, and our front line workers who are exhausted.

My instincts right now are forcing me to write more words of sadness, regret, and excitement over the past year. Instead, I’ll be training a muscle that I’ve learned a lot about over the past six months through my brain surgery and recovery, and be grateful. When asked how I’ve been doing lately, I say I wish I could bottle the immense sense of relief and gratitude I felt when I woke up after my surgery and realized I would be fine .

The following days were full of physical pain and adjustments, but also so much joy! I had dodged the list of bad things that could result from having a brain tumor and having your brain operated on. I was so blessed and felt it with every ounce of my being.

For me, the last weekend was like slowly coming out of the surgery and realizing that we will be fine. I wish we could bottle this sense of joy and gratitude when each of us experiences it in our own way, the sound of a busy coffee shop, the joy of chatting with other mothers over a soccer game, the phone call your grandparents made have just received their vaccines.

Gratitude could be the medicine society needs to cure our pandemic problems. Many studies over the past decade have found that people who consciously count their blessings are happier and less depressed. Who doesn’t need that now?

For the first time as a mom, I didn’t feel guilty about not spending enough time with my kids. Even the dog is looking at me, enough, can I have some space?

We have all learned to tighten up in the last year and to face adversity directly, to roll with the blows and to be prepared to do things differently in the short term. It is a skill that our children will last a lifetime.

We learned how to navigate life with Zoom, find a neighbor at Next Door, visit our doctor with Telehealth, and order our groceries from Instacart. Technology is a burden and a blessing, but hopefully the best of it stays with us in the future.

Board games have made a comeback, family evenings are a thing again; Family dinners too! We all know a lot more about how a virus works, and we can now wash our hands effectively. Our healthcare workers are heroes, our grocery teams are fearless, and the delivery people single-handedly drive the economy, not just their trucks. We learned the importance of saving up for a “rainy day” and stocking up on toilet paper, mac, cheese and hand soap. My appreciation for nature, the fresh air and the lively café has grown by leaps and bounds, along with the childlike anticipation of going back to a concert or Rockies game!

Shelters are empty with waiting lists; We’ve saved on gasoline and car repairs, and morning traffic is a distant memory. We can now join a virtual class at Stanford for free! We know our neighbors better; You can take time-consuming, expensive business trips by video and have learned that hugging our grandparents is invaluable.

I am grateful for dedicated managers who kicked it out of the park with a quick vaccination start. grateful for Elon’s dedication to exploring space (and tweeting fun things to do) and my daughter’s new dedication to baking delicious treats. Jet fighter overflights, eclipse fun and live drop-ins from our favorite musicians on Facebook were a delightful surprise.

As much as my fingers have been COVID-trained to show kind of excitement and sadness, I dedicate myself to trying a new way of thinking and writing about this historic crisis.

I want my children to look back with awe at how our family, our community, and our country learned the best and toughest lessons from the pandemic and made the world a better place.

Heidi Ganahl is a businesswoman, entrepreneur, author, and a member of the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents, to which she was elected Republican in 2016.

Heidi Ganahl is a businesswoman, entrepreneur, author, and a member of the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents, to which she was elected Republican in 2016.