Pause ... and Celebrate

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

Okay, so January for me has been about New Year’s resolutions and football, basically.  Both, in the end, come down to wishes.  Hopes. Fingers crossed. It’s no wonder we are all so frenetic this time of year.

Last week, in NYC, I got into more than one conversation about the importance of the celebration after the goal. Sports specific, it’s the moment you allow the dance, the slide, the high five, the burn out (one of my favorites), the climbing up on the fence and into the crowd. It’s the moment to say “YES!!!!!!” after a job, or a moment, well done.

And sometimes, it truly is only a moment well done. And things can quickly go to hell in a handbasket from there. We’ve all cringed to witness those unfolding of events…. And probably we’ve all cringed to be a part of those kind of unfolding of events.

But if we don’t pause for the moments, we may well miss them altogether.

I love the celebration.

I love the joy captured in a single moment, expressed for the rest of us to enjoy.

And I love this thing my son Dylan has discovered, this magical truth:

We don’t have to wait until the moment has actually happened to celebrate it.  

Dylan is notorious for sliding his way down the basketball court to toward the net, like a major league baseball player diving towards home. He’s known to identify his opponent and then stand in front of him/her and engage them in a fortnight dance battle. He will come climbing into the stands mid-game, seeking one of his beloveds, to just pause for a quick cuddle. Dude appreciates a good snack, and usually make sure he’s snack-full at the beginning of the game, before waiting to see what’s waiting for him at the end. He just finished his second-grade basketball season, and at the trophy presentation, his coach said that Dylan was the “heart of the team,” and said he’d never seen another player with a better attitude. He loves to play, and he loves to love….  And he loves the celebration.

And more importantly, he understands, somehow, that a thing is just as rightly celebrated before it happens as it is after it does.

Meaning, we don’t have to wait for the moment as much as we have to create the moment.

Therefore you must go get a cupcake, a balloon, a sparkler. Grab a stranger and twirl them around. Skip to your next stop. Stop and let your hair get whipped in the wind. Laugh at something really silly. Listen to a song that takes you back. Put on an outfit that’s totally impractical just because it suits your mood. Say yes.  Have ice cream before your dinner. Celebrate a Tuesday that has simply been gotten through with the same gusto as you would celebrate a Tuesday upon which you were declared the Queen or King of England.

So….. Waking up with some kind of dread? Facing something important? Approaching something that is making you nervous or uncertain? People counting on you for the buzzer-beater winning finish? See the paragraph above, and repeat. Repeat.


And remember—those moments are both worth creating and celebrating, even if they are gone in a flash.

So go make a celebration.

How will you celebrate your life, right this very moment?

Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.