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  • Writer's pictureVal Agnew

What I'm Thankful For in 2020

I think a lot of people would probably just say there's not a whole lot, if anything, to be thankful for in 2020 and they might be right. But I did a thought experiment and tried to find at least a few things that I can say I am genuinely thankful for this year.

1) Health

If you don't appreciate your good health this year of all years then jeez. I'm not a perfect specimen of humanity, but I'm alive and I can breathe without a ventilator so I feel pretty damned lucky.

2) Family

My parents are mercifully recluses so they have been safe. They have also graciously allowed us to crash with them for a month in sunny Florida and it's been glorious. And despite the weirdest first 1.5yrs of marriage, my husband still seems to like me. He also has been my ally, my cheerleader, my tennis coach, throughout this whole stressful year. Without him I would be very very lost indeed. Also I'd never have learned a proper topspin.

3) Connection

The internet connection that allowed the human connections I was so lucky to maintain or rekindle during this lonely period. Zoom brunches, happy hours, shows, documentary clubs, family reunions, and more have been incredibly enriching in isolation. I do hope that some of these strengthened connections remain beyond our need for physical distance.

4) Challenge

At the beginning of this year it seemed like everything was starting to come together. Then everything that was coming together crashed into a brick wall and disintegrated. That truly sucked and I'll always wonder what life would have been like if that hadn't happened, but losing my job and all my prospects forced me to push more on independent projects and this very website so, hopefully, I will look back on this time as "when I was forced to pursue my passions without fear" rather than "when my life fell apart."

5) Collaboration

In the before-times, most collaboration I did was on assigned teams. Some of them were and are the greatest of collaborators, but many times this is not the most inspiring way to create. Now, it takes more effort to connect, but the people who have emerged as collaborators during this time are proving to be the passionate, dedicated souls I needed to push me forward even when I'm feeling scared or lazy. I certainly hope I can provide something similar for them. And that together we can make something pretty great.

6) Trust

I've been very fortunate to have been entrusted to do things like create acting reels to assist actors in getting work or representation and also to make marketing materials for people aspiring to public office. These are integral pieces of people's efforts that I feel honored to have had the opportunity to work on.

6) Performing

Early in the year, I was lucky enough to have some of the most fun, packed live shows on the stages formerly known as iO Theater. And somehow, during the lockdown, I've still been able to perform. It has truly been a gift. I actually have two shows this week! Tonight and Friday both at 7:30pm CST at

7) Outlets

Not the Ralph Lauren kind. The kind that have provided me something that completely takes my mind off the stresses of the world. Tennis, gardening, documentary club, pokemon, yoga, reading, performing, etc. All of these things and more have provided me a few moments where I'm simply worried about them and nothing else.

8) Democracy

It's been put to the test these last few years, especially in the last few weeks, but it's holding. And if anything, I hope this near-death experience will continue to encourage people to stay engaged.

9) You

It's cheesy, yes, but if you are reading this and you've continued reading all the way to this point, I am indeed very thankful to you for caring enough to do that. Thanks!

I hope that you too can find some things to be thankful for this year. I know many people haven't been as fortunate as I. It is my sincere hope that things begin to look up soon. If there is anything I can do to help bring that about, please let me know. I am at your service.

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