Warmest regards: Do you celebrate life?
By Pattie Mihalik
At first, you may answer the question in the column headline by saying, “Of course I do.”
Or, you may be like a few who answered that question by replying, “What kind of question is that?”
A few people answered that question by saying they were too busy working and taking care of family. There is no time to celebrate anything, they tell me.
It’s a sincere question brought about by the thought that we are all surrounded by so much luxury.
I don’t care if you live in a house trailer or the most humble adobe. You’re living in luxury.
If you have food to eat and a dry roof over your head, that’s luxury compared to much of the world.
Most of us have at least one car in the driveway, a big TV and a house full of possessions. That’s luxury.
I have to be honest. I know I am rich because of that luxury.
I get up each morning from a comfortable bed I quite like and the first thought I have is how fortunate, how blessed I am to have a comfortable home. I don’t take it for granted.
OK, in the interest of more honesty, I will tell you our big housing development is divided into five parts. I live in the oldest part, what we charitably call “the historic district.” It has small homes that are very humble compared to the rest of the development.
But there is nothing humble or modest about the joy and pride we have in living there. So many times I hear my neighbors expressing the same gratitude I feel about living there.
We know the size of your house doesn’t matter.
It’s the size of your heart that matters. The more heart you have for others, for your personal situation and for your surroundings, the more gratitude you will have.
One of the things I like best about my neighborhood is that we often have spontaneous celebrations among neighbors.
Here’s one recent example. I had just gotten out of the pool and went outside to pick up my mail from the mailbox.
Tom, the neighbor who lives across the street, kept waving me over. He said they were having an impromptu cocktail party for our new neighbors who just moved in that day.
In fact, the new neighbors said their furniture had not yet arrived but there they were, being feted by their neighbors.
“If this is the friendly kind of neighborhood we moved into, we got even more than we bargained for when we bought this home,” said the new neighbor.
My hair was still dripping from the pool but I went over to join the fun. What I learned was our new neighbors are going to be a perfect fit for our friendly neighborhood.
Our homeowners association is also big on celebrations. We find it binds us together as a community as well as giving us new opportunities to greet old friends and make new ones.
To celebrate the first anniversary of our new community center, our homeowners association pulled out all the stops.
All residents were treated to a pig roast, a day of games and entertainment and plenty of food catered by our favorite caterer.
We didn’t just stand around eating. A tropical band, a limbo contest, Hula-Hoop contest and social games provided the means to mingle and have a great time.
While that was rated by all as a special day, I found we don’t need big events to have a reason to celebrate.
Fortunately, so many of us are at the stage of life when we believe it isn’t enough to just exist for another year. At this age we know how precious life is so we celebrate it in as many ways as possible.
We celebrate each sunset, and if you would hear us ooh and ahhh at every spectacular sunset, you might think we never saw one before.
It’s the same thing when we see dolphins dancing in the water. We get excited every time, no matter how many times we’ve seen them before.
I’m always finding ways to celebrate life because I don’t want it to go by unless I experience each day with all my senses.
Heck, I can make a celebration out of eating a chocolate sundae. I get it in a cup with two spoons so my husband and I can have fun eating it together.
My friends and I also celebrate life in simple ways.
My husband recently surprised me by saying we needed to plan a “celebration of us.” He proposed enjoying a day when we can get away from routine and have fun together.
Now, it may sound strange for two retired people to say they have to plan a day together. While it’s true that we are together every day, we get tied up in routine, busy with our own things and don’t focus on each other.
We did that with our “celebrating us” day by leaving the house, traveling to a new place to kayak and enjoying a day on the water. We liked focusing on each other so much that we’re going to plan days like that more often.
It’s not just “the big stuff” that’s worth celebrating. It’s appreciating life’s small moments that add up to a contented life.
Contact Pattie Mihalik at firstname.lastname@example.org.