The 1st of August is a momentous day in our house – we’ve named it “Life Day’ and we have celebrated it for the last 4 years…as a truly MONSTROUS win!!
It’s the day I had my surgery. The day I not only survived, (with most of my marbles in tact!) but got a second chance I wasn’t sure I would get…. a pretty dam huge reason to celebrate!!💃🏽🎉 (the pic above is a card my daughter made me 2 years ago 😍)
I vowed on that day, that I would celebrate the wins in life more often and more vehemently. Not just the colossal ones… like managing to keep my head (literally!) screwed on …but also the smaller and medium sized ones that we too often take for granted.
We spend so much of our lives focusing on ‘problems and issues’ – not only the ones that affect us today, (and even worse, ones from the past) but we conjure up ones we believe will happen every day for the rest of our lives!!! It can take away so much of the joy and happiness we should be having now. And for those of us who have faced our own mortality, we know how pointless this is.
I don’t know why, but before my operation, I almost felt a kind of ‘guilt’ for being too happy when something good happened in my life – isn’t that ridiculous! I’m a pretty smiley, energetic person at the best of times, so when I’m really happy I’m like the duracell bunny on steroids! 👯
I’d experienced my epiphany in life… and I knew, without hesitation, that life was too precious not to spend a majority of it celebrating and smiling! If I didn’t – I was disrespecting the second chance I’d been given and my surgeons spectacular handiwork!(Even though I did reprimand him for the lack of facelift action , which I’d asked for pre-op… I mean it was surely an easy upgrade while the machinery was out! 😏)
But I’d noticed that some people frown upon this kind of outward display of joy and accompanying energy… they consider it ‘too much’ and it makes them feel uncomfortable. Well , after surviving brain surgery I’ve decided those people can take a huge, flying , f**king leap!!! It’s almost always a reflection of their own unhappiness projected on you vs anything to do with your behaviour. They are often the ones who care deeply about how others see them and spend a lot of time trying to ‘impress’ rather than making a positive ‘impression on the world. These things are very different, in my opinion.
My second chance made me really think about my impact on the world, my legacy – but we will leave that for another post – today is all about celebration!
I remember when my daughter and I bought our house a year ago. The road to get there had been immense. We’d made the decision to move back to NZ 2 years beforehand, after going through some very, very difficult times in London in the previous 5 years. We’d experienced a lot of pain and suffering, but we have both built up an enormous amount of resilience as a result – and we’re fighters! Selling our old home in London, once we had made the decision to move, was quite tough for both of us. It was the home my daughter had been raised in and that home had become our sanctuary through some very traumatic times. So, on top of the enormous move back to NZ (which is tougher than I’d ever imagined!) after living in London for 22 years , finding a new sanctuary and starting our new life in NZ was huge, to both of us. Buying property in NZ is just a tad different to London and the whole ‘auction’ situation was quite frankly, bloody terrifying! We ended up buying our house in a very public manner, on a TV show (!!) which I hadn’t even seen – but we loved the house. So many people had told us (apart from one of my besties, who found us the house in the first place and is one of life’s angels ) we would never get it and not to get our hopes up (who does this?!!), so we went with low expectations. Well – we did get it and at the moment the hammer came down we were both ecstatic with joy and beaming with smiles and even some tears!! Now, this was on national TV (which I did not know!) but we couldn’t of cared less. Something we had wished for and worked so hard for, had come true. The number of people that later, frowned upon our public display of joy was extraordinary. These were people I knew well. Why on earth was being so happy so offensive to them? Sadly, these are people more concerned with other peoples opinions, than being truly happy.
I’d also been one of those people , until my 42nd year, that didn’t care to celebrate my birthday. There are the obvious reasons once 40 hits, to be much less enthusiastic about this day each year (!!), but even before that, I just didn’t get excited about it in the slightest. Well on August 1 2013, that ridiculous attitude of mine got changed forever! Getting older each year suddenly fell into perspective – it was a blessing 🙏🏽. How lucky was I, to have the opportunity to get older. Ageing is a gift – we need to appreciate this. For some, the chance to age never happens, so never take it for granted. And I’m not sure that doing it ‘gracefully’ is important either – if I age disgracefully I’ll most certainly leave some kind of legacy!!!😈
I’m not the world’s biggest drinker, but I vowed to open more bottles of champagne to toast occasions and moments that matter … why the bloody hell not! To be fair, if I’m skint, I just pour sparkling water into champagne flutes, but the gesture is just the same!!!
Don’t forget to celebrate the small things either – with the people you love and for the people you love and care about. One of my best friends (the before-mentioned angel 😇) and I have a little, late Sunday afternoon ritual we’ve created, when we can squeeze in a catch-up…. ‘champagne and french fries’ at our local!! Pure bliss and one of those celebrations of friendship and fun that creates lasting memories. We don’t need a big reason – celebrating our friendship and the gift of time to see each other and chat is enough.
Even small things like your kids winning a sports match or getting great feedback on a piece of work at school or uni. We so often gloss over this stuff, as its just ‘run-of-the-mill’ daily goings on and being busy takes over. Give accomplishment the credit they deserve – make it count. Even if it’s having a coffee/hot chocolate with the kids to celebrate, or buying them a cupcake or card to say well done… believe me… these are the things that stay with them and they remember. Telling someone you’re proud of them goes a long way. Being a mum has taught me this. When a friend gets a new job, or a promotion they’ve been working hard for… celebrate it… make them feel bloody fabulous!
Creating moments and memories is the elixir of life, in my opinion. I have talked about this before, but this is exactly what scrambled through my dodgy head when I was faced with a life or death situation. There were no white lights (aside from the awful fluorescent tubes above my head!) or a bloke with a long beard, in a white toga and birkenstocks (!!)… just the memories of my life and the people I loved.
I realised then, that celebrating those memories and moments, so they became even more unforgettable and special, was vital to building a life you treasure and reminding those you love, how much you treasure them.
Be proud and loud about who you are, what you believe in, your triumphs and those that you love.