I don’t traditionally support the colonialist holiday most Americans celebrate today (we only celebrate Lā Kūʻokoʻa in this household), but it would be a mistake to not recognize how lucky I am every day and acknowledge everything I’m thankful for, especially after the last two years when everything is still scary and uncertain. I definitely benefit from a great deal of privilege compared to other people around the world, specifically when it comes to health, familial connections, and basic living necessities. One of the main things I’m thankful for in 2022 is the health and wellbeing of my family and friends. I always write about the ones I love most here and during a period of time where people are still losing their loved ones suddenly and in terrifying ways, I want to recognize just how blessed I am to still be among everyone I care about. I’m lucky to live in the place I grew up in where my sister is right next to me and my parents and grandparents aren’t far away. Jonathan and Lo have been my best friends in the world since I started working with them in 2016 and even though I moved back home in 2019, our friendship has stayed exactly the same. I never worry that we’ll drift apart or we won’t have the same connection over the years because we talk all day long every single day and it’s like I never left. Our text, Instagram, and Marco Polo groups make me feel as close to them as ever. I also have the most amazing group of childhood best friends (Kaiʻolu, Parker, Brandon, and Mikayla) here with whom I’ve been close for 9 or more years. We try to see each other as much as possible, even if that means taking over Kaiʻolu’s house for our gatherings! Every time we’re together is full of joy and laughs and I’m the luckiest person to have these friends with me after all these years. Conor, Parker, and I formed the most fun and hilarious friendship a few years ago, but we became extremely close after our college graduations and I couldn’t be happier with our trio. We don’t see each other as often as we used to since we’re all busy with work (Conor and I work together now and Parker and I are part of similar professional efforts, which is amazing!) and aren’t going out a ton like pre-COVID, but I still consider them two of my closest friends. I’m currently in the most loving and fulfilling relationship of my life and one of the most significant aspects of my life I’m thankful for in 2022 is having a partner who is everything I could ever want. My partner is extraordinarily kind, thoughtful, generous, patient, and loyal and he makes me a better person every day. Since I have to work under capitalism, I’m grateful to have a job where I have a little more independence than before and I can put my ideas into action. Although I’m in an entirely different field than I was last year, I’m learning to enjoy the place I’m at and I’m hoping to help as many people as possible.
Every year, I think about the people in prisons and jails across America who are locked in cages instead of with their families and the people they love. I can’t imagine how devastating their holiday season (as well as every other day) is when they’re separated from their loved ones. While it’s nice to share everything I’m thankful for in 2022, it’s important to remember that not everyone is as lucky as I am and that no one belongs in jail, prison, or immigrant detention. I hope we’ll all acknowledge those who are incarcerated, homeless, sick, or living in poverty so we can work with mutual aid groups, bail funds, and small organizations to provide people with what they need to live and thrive. We are all we have and collectively fighting for each other and a better world is what I’m especially thankful for.