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Giving Thanks During Thanksgiving - Op-Ed Piece



Hey readers,

Here is a Thanksgiving piece by Alonzo about being thankful for what you got.

Yeah, I know it is past Thanksgiving, but here it is anyway.

If you want to read the other Thanksgiving pieces, you should go here.

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Thanks for reading. Enjoy.


Giving Thanks During Thanksgiving - Op-Ed Piece

Perspective is one of the most useful parts of life. We see that although celebrities have luxurious lives, their rates of depression, and suicide rates. On the other hand, some celebrities wish that they were treated as “normal people” to live lives without a microscope. We also see young children's desire to get old, assume more responsibilities, and have freedom. On the other hand, we see older people wish they could turn back the clock to relive simpler times. The important thing is, where you are now is the point in which you are supposed to be, and perspective is the most important thing we can do to keep ourselves in check and stay grateful for what we have.

The pandemic known around the world has killed over 1 million people. 1 million people. That is more people than most of you have probably ever met in your life. It has also seen an increase in man’s vices, such as domestic abuse, assisted suicide, and alcohol abuse. The homes where a family is supposed to love one another are shattered. Those who need help to move on are given pills to end it all. The bottles that should only be brought out for celebrations are emptied each night, in morbid seclusion of one’s demented mind. Not only has the virus itself put our daily lives to a halt, but lockdowns across the world have had often forgotten side effects. In fact, obesity rates amongst children have skyrocketed during the pandemic lockdown. COVID-19 is by far one of the worst things I will have to experience in my lifetime, and I imagine the same holds true for everyone, especially those who lost a loved one. Thankfully, my grandmother and older relatives in the Philippines have stayed safe and COVID-free, but every day, my worry and anxiety grow, given the fact that travel is limited. If something were to happen, I wouldn’t be able to be there. The same goes for my parents, who are both at high risk. However, keeping perspective balanced, my worry for them does not amount to any feeling of loss, and I am grateful for that. However, there are blessings for those of us who have been fortunate enough in the ongoing pandemic. In times like these, it is extremely important to be grateful for life itself, as tomorrow is never promised.

As for myself, I am extremely grateful for the extra ‘alone’ time that I have been able to spend with myself and others around me, from my family to my fraternity and my sports team at college. Life, pre-covid, was going on so fast. From the 9-5 shifts to the constant rush in everyone’s steps, COVID has provided me with an awesome opportunity for self-improvement. For example, in high school, I would get up at 6:30, be at school from 8 AM - 5 PM, and get back home at 6 PM, for a total of 12 hours taken out of my day. By the time I got home, it was time for dinner, and I hadn’t been able to catch a breather. My siblings and parents are both the same, and it’s almost like we lived to work and eat only.


In quarantine, where time feels that it has slowed down, I have managed to lose 20 pounds, and those habits I gained from there have stayed with me today and even rubbed off on my family members. These habits, for example, included tracking my weight every day, measuring my meals, logging every calorie, and being disciplined to not binge on a cookie, knowing it was going to set me back.

Further, I gained high-quality leadership positions at college during my time during the pandemic and pursued sports on a much higher level than I have ever had. For example, I became the scholarship chair in my fraternity, maintaining our GPA at a high standard. Further, due to my weight loss, leading to increased speed and endurance, I was able to get into a D1-level sport and am proud of being able to represent my University. I even found the time to decide on what I finally want to do in the future, aiming to get a degree in Cognitive Science, hoping to land somewhere in DC or New York! I know something holds similar for a lot of us as well, and it really depends on perspective.

At the same time, I have struggled with life. It gets a good punch every now and then. But I always wipe off the blood and continue on. My grades have suffered, which I am blaming the on-line learning for that, along with my sleep schedule. Can I blame the on-line learning on that too? I try to keep a level head by remembering all the great things that the pandemic offered me. Opportunities that I may not have had not for the virus. I am thinner, wiser, and more confident.

I don’t view my failures in my life as, but rather obstacles I am ready to overcome.

The current shift to at-home jobs and schooling allows us for a more internal reflection and an opportunity to be great. Ultimately, you can be fearful of life outside the borders of your own home, bogged down in negative thoughts, or adapt to the current situation and use this time as a unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give thanks for life itself.

As for me, I know how I am handling it.


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About The Blogger

Alonzo Cortez is currently a student attending the University of Michigan and resides in Bayonne, NJ, but has lived in both Singapore and the Philippines. He is currently planning to major in the Ford School of Public Policy with a Ross Business Minor, hoping to move into corporate law and business ownership. He writes on a wide array of topics, like video game content on Moot, Sports Betting previews for the New York Knicks, as well as freelance work for Dade Group, LLC. Other than writing, Alonzo spends his time managing the re-establishment of the Phi Delta Fraternity as one of the founding brothers. Further, he works with fitness and health-based organizations as a brand ambassador for Loyal Fitness, a fitness clothing line, and Orgain, a plant-based protein shake.


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