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Silver Linings – #20108 Eliza Davis

The emotion I feel most acutely thinking back on the last year is gratitude. Though I am undeniably tired of the pandemic, the last year brought me joy, love, connection, and growth that I would never have had without it. I am deeply thankful for what feels like a multitude of silver linings. 

First I have been lucky to have had time with my family. I have spent about 3 months with my parents (Linda Saarnijoki #19408 and Rusty Davis #9408) over the last year. We’ve done puzzles, conversed over family dinners, played games, watched movies, and experimented with new foods–all the quarantine things. We’ve found ways to give each other space while breaking up routines and offering support and love. I should mention we’ve been lucky to have beautiful places in which to spend our time together and no small part of our joy together was sharing in stunning views of mountains, lakes, and rainbows. 

Second, I am grateful for the relationships that have deepened as a result of the last year. While at times it has been hard to keep up with friends who live across the country and around the world, this year has encouraged me to ignore those boundaries and connect with people no matter where they are. It feels like I have had a more constant connection with my pals – from Kiniya and elsewhere – than I have had in almost any other year. We send voice messages, we text, we call, we Zoom. We share things that bring us joy, encourage self-care, and provide empathy and support during the toughest times. 

Third, I am grateful for all the learning and growth I have been able to do over the last year. I have been working at a polling start-up full time since June – a job I would not have had if not for the pandemic. My work has allowed me to think deeply about the rifts and inequities in our country and to dig into voter preferences in ways that illuminate racism, casteism, and tribalism. The events of the last year have pushed me to dive into reflections on my own privilege, social justice, activism, and anti-racism outside of work in ways that I, regrettably, have not made time for in the past. I’ve altered the newsletters that come to my inbox, adjusted whom I follow and what I post on social media, and I take action steps each week in support of organizations, people, and communities that are fighting towards justice and equity.  Some friends and I connect every Sunday in a book club. We read books, watch documentaries and listen to podcasts to learn about and acknowledge inequity, explore varied cultures and celebrate diversity. 

For all that we have lost, I am privileged to have gained so much. I am excited for the world to eventually open up again, and I am excited to build on the lessons I have learned to work towards a more equitable post-pandemic world.

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