Years ago, when my sister started her first job, our uncle gave her this small piece of advice- celebrate the small things, he said. As you go into the workforce and pursue careers, you will realize that there are very few big things that will happen in a lifetime. It is the small things that you must learn to enjoy. Meeting a deadline ahead of time, or an unexpected 'good job' from your boss is what you should be celebrating. It could be as simple as buying a candy bar for your sister on your way back from work, and you both enjoy it after dinner, he had said. Something my sister often recounts even now, years later.
I don't know if my uncle had thought this advice through or it was something he was just saying it to make my sister realize that the big promotion and corner office was not something that would happen overnight, maybe not at all! In lieu, maybe just enjoy smaller things which are far more realistic. But there is solid advice in what he has said- think about it really, how many big achievements do we all have in life??
Getting good grades, college, a stable job, a couple big promotions, buying a house, buying another house, getting married, having children, getting married again, setting up your business, … (Don’t count children's graduations and events marking other family members', just your own achievements). All this put together, does not exceed 25 at the most! So are we saying then, we have exactly 25 occasions to celebrate in our lives?
As I look back on my own life, I seldom celebrated things, big or small. I participated in some events that required my presence, even when I was the center of attention! The big events I don't mind being passive, there were too many people and too hectic anyway. But the smaller things I miss having celebrated. When I finished a chapter of my dissertation, when I discovered I scored an A+ in a particular tough course, when I bought my first (used) car- at the time it felt it was all by way of living life, the 'oh it happens to everyone, what's so special about it' logic. It was, I thought, nothing more than a step to the next goal. I didn't think of them as achievements. And those moments are gone now. But that fact that these have still stayed in my mind tells me these were important achievements - to me at least.
Ever since I started QV Woman, the different women I have come to know, and the different side of some women I have known all my life has made my life that much richer! Fellow QV Woman Yvette Francino celebrated her 60th birthday doing 60 different things… big and small things, things she always wanted to do- she did 60 things leading to the big day! I laud her for that thought and commitment, but more importantly for going through with it! This was a personal milestone and she intended to cherish it, truly! (See her list of things here and maybe find inspiration?)
Another friend celebrated throwing out her yoga mat! She was thrilled that she had used it so much this past couple years, it had worn down! She, like me, is not one to share personal moments on social media, but nonetheless we chatted via video conferencing, and saw extreme closeups (albeit blurred because of camera limitations!) of all the worn out parts of the mat and chanted 'do it do it' as she ripped it apart. It was a fun way to mark what was definitely a big moment for her personally.
My mother enjoys her first ice cream cone of summer. It has to be at an ice cream store. No eating from the comfort of home. She thinks ahead, prepares for it (must take cloth napkin, no paper for her!) and makes a huge fuss at the counter about which flavor to take. She ultimately does not mind what flavor she gets and now with grandkids, does not mind if they eat half of hers ("just for a taste"), but she loves the whole idea of something cold on the first hot day of the season. When she visits, she is constantly making deals with the grandkids about the quickest way to get "your mom" to say yes to ice cream. I enjoy this side of hers and look forward to this banter every summer we meet. Now, as a writer of fact based articles, she will tell you how cold things be it ice cream or cold carbonated drinks doesn't quench the thirst and how water at room temperature is the best hydrator there is- but that does not stop her from enjoying her ice cream treat! (Of course, the pandemic has put a dampener into these proceedings last year and maybe this one, but I suspect that next year, she will come at it with full gusto!)
And I did my bit too, just now! Even as I was typing this, I received an email, a positive feedback from a client. I was about to put away my phone and continue blogging when I decided I should walk the talk! So I stopped writing mid-way and took out the car (in 0 deg. C weather) and drove a few miles to get an 'everything' toasted bagel! I have had it many times and usually it is a quick way to get breakfast out of the way, or something I grab on my way to or from somewhere, a staple that no one in the house thinks of as a treat. But today, somehow, the bagel tasted better, crispier, more flavorful and the home made coffee was hot and fresh! (I am attaching a picture as proof!)
So I say go forth and celebrate. The big moments are bound to come, you can tell the world and celebrate with them…but cherish the smaller triumphs, do something to recognize it- to say, this happened and I made it happen! Whether you share it or not is up to you, but mark it somehow.
The finest moments in life are over even before they started (Anonymous). The meaning of this quote had bothered me forever. I get it now. Don't wait for the trumpets and drumrolls to chime in. Don't wait for someone else to credit it. Stop a moment and recognize it before it is over. And cherish it. And celebrate it! It is yours and you earned it!