What We Celebrate Will Perpetuate
“Life is short, wear your party pants.” – Loretta LaRoche
There are many opportunities to celebrate. The common ones come around regularly.
We celebrate birthdays – the wonder of having lived a whole year, to have experienced more, to be wiser. And we hope to see many more years. The ritual? Cake, candles, balloons.
We celebrate the new year – the cycle’s end and the cycle’s beginning, the gift of four completed seasons, a full twelve-month loop. We hope the next one will be better than the last. The ritual? Resolutions, fireworks, and kisses at midnight.
We celebrate weddings – a couple arriving at that point of deep commitment. We hope that they walk together for the rest of their days. The ritual? Variations on fancy clothes, fancy food and heartfelt ceremony.
The list can go on. A celebration is a pause; a moment to look back and acknowledge an achievement, a moment to look forward at what’s to come, a moment to partake in ritual and tradition with those we know and love. A time to enjoy and savour.
“Where the mind goes energy flows.”- Ernest Holmes
A celebration can energise and motivate. It’s an opportunity to share your successes and learnings as well as an opportunity for re-navigating and correcting course. For both reasons, it’s important and necessary.
When children are too young to reason with we can teach a lot with our attention. They’ll do more of what gets them noticed, so praising good behaviour and ignoring undesirable behaviour (within reason) can be more effective than scolding or reasoning with a child that can barely speak.
That psychology doesn’t disappear as we mature. We’re motivated to do more of what is noticed or approved of, and ‘the noticer’ doesn’t have to be another person. By noticing and celebrating our own achievements, no matter how small, we invite more. We encourage further growth in that area.
“Celebrate small victories often.” – Chris Brogan
Earlier this year I was with a group of women – in fact, rather appropriately, it was a birthday celebration. The girl talk got real as various stories of marriage, divorce and the single life were shared.
“I just can’t think about the fact that it’s forever” said one woman on the subject of her marriage. Though day to day life was working well, the thought of an entire lifetime with the same person was a goal that felt too massive to focus on. “But did you ever think I would be the one who is still married?!!” she asked and everyone laughed because no, they didn’t.
That moment in the conversation was a small celebration. She’s seven years into her marriage and going strong. Her relationship has already lasted longer than anyone around her expected. Yet, if she thinks about the enormity of what she’s aiming for, a lifetime commitment, it’s overwhelming and a little bit terrifying.
Any big goal is like that. To look back and see what we’ve achieved, often against the odds, is encouraging and motivating. It reminds us that we can do more than we think we can. It reminds us that, maybe, we can be something we never thought we could be. It reminds us that we will do things we never thought we could do.
“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” – Oprah Winfrey
Towards the end of last year I started a monthly journal. At the end of each calendar month I sit down and fill one page of an A5 journal with my summary of the month. One day I hope to flick through years of my life in this one volume. That will be something to celebrate, I’m sure, but even now it’s become a monthly ritual and celebration of what I’ve survived, enjoyed and learned in the month that just passed. It allows me to take a step back and see the over-arching theme of the month rather than getting stuck in the details. As a woman, it also allows me to track my progress a full menstrual cycle at a time rather than getting lost in the hormonal twists and turns of daily or weekly life. Reducing 720 hours to one A5 page helps me focus on what was most significant and important to me.
If we only ever look forward, holding ourselves up against massive lifetime goals we’ll never measure up. That’s why it’s important to pause. Look back and celebrate how far you’ve come. Realise you’re already closer than you used to be. Carry on.
Hard times demand patience and reflection.
Good times demand CELEBRATION!
Make space in your life for both.
Rahma is a freelance writer, who recently moved from corporate to shape up her own venture! She is passionate about personal development, storytelling, women’s empowerment and hiking.