“Why celebrate?” he asked me.
At first I couldn’t even comprehend the question. Celebration is baked into the life I lead. I celebrate at the drop of a hat. I celebrate birthdays for weeks, Christmas for a month, and everything in between as much as possible. If something makes me happy, I throw an impromptu internal celebration. I give celebratory hugs, eat celebratory meals, and sing celebratory songs.
“Because it’s fun,” I said, and what fun it is. The yearly ritual to get the tree, the anticipation of whether I’ll be able to blow out all the candles, the smiles, the laughter, the smells in the kitchen, the joy that comes from getting excited about something.
“To break up the monotony,” I said. Because days turn into weeks turn into months and then years, and it all begins to blend together like painting a watercolor with too much water. Celebration gives points of anticipation, markers to measure the passing of time by, and peaks of excitement to remind ourselves that we’re alive.
“Maybe it’s to share joy with others,” he said, and I nodded. I love to hear of my friends’ successes, of the dreams they’ve realized, of the goals they’ve reached, to revel in the fact that they’ve been alive another year, and aren’t we all so lucky that is true?
“It’s to shine a light in the darkness,” I said. Because sometimes gratitude feels like all we have left, and what is a celebration if not an act of expressing gratitude? Perhaps when we don’t feel like celebrating–when we’re so bone weary we just want the world to leave us alone–perhaps that is when we need to celebrate most of all. Even if it’s a celebration born of quiet and aloneness that only involves a kiss blown from a fingertip and a secret smile.
Why celebrate? Because life is going to happen no matter what I do, and all I get to do is choose how I live it. And I’d rather live it celebrating than not.
On Sunday I celebrated a friend’s promotion with him. We ate Japanese curry and ridiculous amounts of frozen yogurt, and we visited the game store and let Nala chase after her cat toy stick and watched a very strange movie.
What about you? How do you celebrate? Why do you celebrate?