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Cheryl's World

MY TRUTH: What Are You Thankful For?

There’s nothing like a pandemic to help people put things into perspective.

Vacations, retirements, marriages, and divorces are just a few considerations that are giving folks an opportunity to take a deeper dive into what they want for the future.

Now for many of the Black people I know, you can just add COVID 19 to a long list of pandemics that are prevalent in our lives as we attempt to survive and thrive; living out our lives and fulfilling our dreams.

Time and time again, I have heard someone utter, “we could die tomorrow.”

Well, that’s been the reality from day one; however we never looked at death the way COVID has caused us to do so.

When I was playing in the creek, in East Orange, there were so many times I could have fallen in and been swept away. Or what about the time in Newark when I fell off a swing, or tumbled from the monkey bars? Then there was the serial murderer across town from FAMU at Florida State University but folks told us, “don’t worry, you’re Black.”

So many times to think about when death was so close.

For some reason we didn’t focus on the possibility or the probability.

I’ve had loved ones who have quit their jobs, called it quits with their spouses or mates; and even packed up and left these United States of America.

They all made decisions that they felt were right for them.

Too often folks live their lives trying to please others.

One Life to Live is more than just the title of a soap opera.

Life doesn’t give you a makeover, a practice run.

If I woulda, coulda, shoulda doesn’t work because whatever is done is done.

Every step of the way, on this journey called life, I have had someone in my life who knew more than I, even if it wasn’t much more.

Recently I have run into several folks younger than I who explained life to me, from their perspectives. I was told, in very certain terms, that their lives were theirs to live and do as they pleased because anything they needed or wanted was up to them!
At first, all I could do was nod.

You see, folks have been helping me navigate through life with generations that are totally different from my reality.

I am learning how to keep my mouth shut when something stupid comes out of their mouths.

I’ve learned how to not offer advice unless it is asked for; actually lately they have to beg for my advice because I hate exercises in futility and talking to some of these folks will make you contemplate some form of “cide.”

And I’ve learned that feelings are what drive them. For example, a former student told me they should get an “A” — not because they earned it through exemplary work; instead because they showed up everyday and they “tried.”

Oh, I am learning so much and I am so thankful for the opportunity to live out my own existence, making myself a priority.

Now this is something new and for many it’s a challenging and daunting task.

I hope that eventually a lightbulb will flicker for those who feel as though they can make it through life on their own, without any support or guidance from others. Hopefully they will realize that we all need someone, somewhere; and that is not a bad thing.

If you find someone who got everything on their own; you’ll probably find someone who is all on their own, alone; and very unhappy.

If you don’t have anyone who you are thankful for, you might find that no-one is thankful for you!

This is the season for sharing and giving; for thanking and showing appreciation. My focus has absolutely nothing to do with misguided interpretations of history. Instead I make every day a day of giving thanks, sharing and showing appreciation.

Is that too much to ask for or do in life as we live through this pandemic and others, as well?

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