Many of us are great at celebrating birthdays and special occasions—retirements and babies and promotions and graduations. We offer cards and cakes and candles and sentiments of love and appreciation. We bring flowers and balloons. We sing. We laugh.
But how often do we offer a genuine celebration for the not-so-momentous occasions? The quiet moments that mark the passing of time? Celebrations don’t always have to be splashy and include cake (although a random cake on a Tuesday is never a bad thing). I think celebration can look like the clinking toast of your morning coffee mugs and a hearty “hello” to the day ahead. Celebration can be a tradition of “Taco Tuesdays.” Celebration can mean a trip to the ice cream shop to celebrate the end of another week successfully… or, well, just gotten through. Celebration can be putting on lipstick for no reason at all. Celebration can be cuddling with your loved ones on the couch and watching tv together. Celebration can be unexpected flowers to brighten someone’s day. Celebration can be remembering your co-worker’s favorite drink and bringing it to him. Celebration can be the words of love and gratitude coming out of your mouth. Celebration can be a hug. Celebration can come from saying YES to dessert before dinner or NO to the dreaded evening bath. Celebration can be making the choice to step outside and feel the warm sun rather than stay shuttered inside with your thoughts. There are opportunities for celebration everywhere, every day.
I understand that when life is on our side, when things are “in order”—whether it’s our health, our family, our jobs, our relationships—in those moments it is an easier task to find ways to incorporate celebration into our day to day. But when things are hard, when we’re struggling with loss, financial strains, anxiety, uncertainty—in those moments it can be tempting to write off celebration as something to be done in “better” times. But I think it’s actually in those moments that opportunities for celebration are vital—even if it’s just remembering to be grateful for the breath that you are taking in, right now. To me, celebration can be as simple (and hard) as saying YES and THANK YOU to this life, to this day, to this precise moment.
For parents and educators in particular, or anyone who comes in contact with a young person ever-- an uncle, a coach, a mentor, a sister... this idea is extra important. Because I believe that we’re not just teaching our young people skills to help them be successful at the next point in their academic journey, or skills that will help them be effective in their chosen profession; we’re also teaching them how to interact with life in general. Through our own actions and outlook, we’re modeling for them a possible lens with which to view their lives. How beautiful if we can show them a lens framed in gratitude, one that seeks things to celebrate in every day.
So, look around you. What can you celebrate today?
Opportunity: Here's a challenge for you, readers! Pick a day in the next week or two that will be your "Celebration" day. Mark it on your calendar so you don't forget. Prior to that day, get a small unused notebook or journal. When your celebration day arrives, keep your journal with you from the moment you wake up and jot down every single thing that you wish to celebrate that day-- your cozy comforter, your morning run, the sounds that greet you.... whatever those things are for you. If you are also able, layer in additional opportunities for celebration that day, too-- offer an unexpected "gift" to a co-worker or partner; say yes to dessert; take an extra 30 minutes to yourself. Focus on celebration for the entire day, and write down what happens in your notebook. If you do it, post your thoughts on the day in the comments section below-- I'd love to hear about it. Have fun!