In the last couple of weeks, I have been a celebration jet setter. I’ve been to a bat mitzvah, a milestone birthday party, and a wedding vow renewal.
In between those big ass celebrations, there have been several smaller local ones. Even my Facebook timeline has been exploding every single day with invitations to wish somebody a happy birthday.
The curmudgeon in me had a minute before this festive month of March started in earnest. There’s been a lot of present shopping, with loads more to come. There were plane tickets to purchase, hotel rooms to book, dog sitters to hire, schedules to be shuffled, work days to be taken off, clothes to be dry cleaned, panty hose (!!) to be purchased, and all of that required time, money, and super human planning.
Getting prepared for the onslaught of festivities was busy, to say the least, and so to keep my focus, I wouldn’t miss it for the world became my mantra.
And so, I haven’t. And a few funny things happened on the way to each party…
The grind slipped away.
The scenery changed in dramatic and exciting ways. (Don’t hate me East Coasters but it’s been a heat wave in the West, AND a drought, so snow was amazing!)
I laughed, cried, and danced my ass off.
I ate a shitload of cake of all varieties: white cake with marzipan, decadent mousse, red velvet, and a brownie with chocolate sauce and ice cream on top. (I like to put brownies in the cake category because dense and fudgy is my definition of a good time). (Oh, and Paleo WHAT?)
I paused for reflection — real, deep, sweet — about each person that was being celebrated.
With each pause, in each moment, at all the festivities, love filled up the spaces and was the double secret special guest star at each event.
OK, maybe not so secret.
The preciousness of each event was balanced by backstories that preceded some of the beautiful events. For example, I’d made the same trip to the East Coast months earlier to stand with my BBF, the bat mitzvah girl’s mother, when she lost her father.
Of course he was one to live life to his fullest, and even wrote his own obituary. And it wasn’t an outline of the day-to-day; it was all about the far-flung places he travelled, the fulfilling aspects and major accomplishments of the work he did, and above all, the people he loved.
At the vow renewal — the second one I’ve attended for this coupla BBFs — as I stood at the side of the bride, I caught the eye of the groom as he looked at the wife. The intensity of his pure, unadulterated love for her literally took my breath away.
This from a man who had his own terrifying run-in with a serious illness this past year. You’d think that might have something to do with the whole renewal thing, but this was actually the fifth time the pair have said these vows. It’s their ritual — not a Liz Taylor-esque affectation — and it’s amazing to bear witness to their commitment.
The officiant spoke about how the pair celebrates their love twice each month in overt ways — with cards and flowers. Since we’re next-door neighbors, I see how my BBFs don’t even wait for special days to take connect with one and other.
Because pausing for a clear, kind, loving connection is its own kind of celebration. But in the rush of life, it’s so easy to blow off taking those moments to well, b in the moment.
Don’t postpone joy, a BBF once told me — it was the words she lived by in her own beautiful, albeit truncated life. She also advocated qualifying relationships on the basis of celebration — as in find someone who does the deed for you and with you, every single day.
I thought about that advice earlier this year when I made JOY the first of my three-word mantra for 2015. It’s the first word in all of my passwords. This is one way to celebrate without really trying.
Here are a few more I thought of to keep the good vibes flowing and the party continuing:
– Light candles.
– Think about one thing you’re grateful for every day. Bonus points if it’s a person or animal, and you remember to tell him/her that.
– Eat cake, or at least something sweet, at least once a day.
– Make a wish and exhale, hard. It’s a good way to set your intentions.
– Use the word “happy” as much as possible.
– Treat yourself to a present — it can be as simple as a latte instead of a plain old drip coffee in the morning.
– Pull on a pair of pantyhose, then immediately take them off. Enjoy that sense of freedom and comfort when you’re hose-less.
– Tell someone you love him/her. Because that’s the whole point of celebrating, isn’t it?
So if you see me lifting a glass of champagne, and it’s only Tuesday, just know that the celebration continues — and I’m bringing the good times, and the laughter too. Now, can I get a YAHOO?