Are you celebrating? It may be long overdue.

Life without celebration is like hiking across a snowfield during a whiteout when the sky and the snow merge together and you can barely see your next step. Chilly and dangerous. Everything becomes a blur.

Like the past twelve months.

With the pandemic, lots of celebrations have been delayed or canceled. I salute the brave couples who got married anyway, the kids who graduated, and the families who held memorials, all doing their best to keep their spirits up over Zoom. I was happy to be able to Zoom-celebrate my granddaughter’s high school graduation, but I’m still waiting for her hug!

We’ve all been doing what we could.

Still, life has sometimes felt a little grayed-out.

Time to celebrate…

This week I have a big reason to celebrate: I shipped off a draft of my book to a few first readers. Woo-hoo! This is huge for me. I’ve been working towards it for months.

Balloons! Lights! Flowers! Special dinner and/or…

But wait. The anti-celebratory forces appear to be fast approaching carrying their time-tested weapons for dampening my spirit:

1) Downplaying.  As in, “No big deal. The book is far from done.”
2) Task-ism. They intone, “Great. You did it. Now jump into work and see what’s waiting on your to-do list.”
3) No ready rewards. Frankly, I give my dogs many more rewards than I give myself. Where’s my box of handy treats? My dog Royce constantly reminds me that “a life without treats is not worth living.” Why didn’t I think of this?

I need to re-introduce the word CELEBRATE to my vocabulary. My path needs some sparkle and the gift of a pause.

Finding reasons to celebrate is easy, even in the face of periodically dreadful news.

Reasons to celebrate:

  • I got my second shot.
  • The first daffodils are up.
  • Most older people on our island have been vaccinated.
  • My manuscript is out to readers.
  • Peas are growing.
  • My grandson graduates from college this week. (Big one!)

Focus on celebration and you’ll come up with reasons. 

Like gratefulness, this requires a bit of attention. And sometimes suspending an atavistic desire to keep moving ahead with tasks.

How to celebrate

I’m hearing some (younger) people saying they are going to have a mega-bash to make up for all the parties they missed last year. I’m not sure this is a good idea. Doctors say you can’t make up for the sleep you didn’t get during the week by sleeping in on the weekends. A big party may be in order, but not one that blows out your circuits.

Besides, for me to give a big party feels like work. I’ll take my celebrations simple, heartfelt, and easy.

12 ideas for celebrating:

  1. Give yourself the gift of time. A guilt-free afternoon is at the top of my ideas! Yummy!
  2. Plan visits with friends. My choice is a gentle rollout of long-overdue cups of coffee together.
  3. Eat special food. We all have our list. Extra dark chocolate. An almond croissant (One gets to go high sugar/high gluten once in a while, right?)
  4. Ask your partner for a gift. If my husband were telepathic he’d know exactly what I’d like, but it doesn’t hurt to tell him. I’ve found explicit works best.
  5. Buy something cool. I’m not into big consumption, but adding a new tube of paint to my collection would be joyous!
  6. Donate or give something away. Do good in celebration of you.
  7. Clean. This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but cleaning feels great after a spate of intense computer work.
  8. Take a “create break.” A stretch of time dedicated to creating, whether it be painting, poetry or digging holes in the ground, could be luxurious.
  9. Join someone else’s celebration and share their joy.
  10. Perform a ceremony or ritual that has meaning to you.
  11. Take an extra-long walk.
  12. Sleep. More.

Or, make a list and extend the celebrations over time.

For my 60th birthday, I decided to list sixty mostly low-cost items or experiences that would make my heart sing. (I actually only hit 49. That was plenty!) On my list was coffee with a friend, a laughter yoga session, a walk in the park, an improv class, a phone call with an old buddy, a long trail ride, a new tube of lipstick, among others.

Just the act of creating the list was a celebration. I gave myself a year to fulfill on my list. It was so much fun that I’m considering repeating the process for an even bigger, fast-approaching, significant birthday.

Celebrating may only require adding a dash of intention or gratitude into what I might be doing anyway. Like taking time to weed.

Celebrating can be about transforming the ordinary with a moment of magic.

Because we all deserve that.

Now for a blast from a distant past…here’s a song from the kings of “Celebration.”

 

We made it. To here. That should be cause enough to celebrate while honoring the 500,000 plus in the US we’ve lost to COVID.

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