You don’t have to look far for a reason to celebrate
By Chandrea Serebro
Life is short. It’s too short to get lost in the details. It’s too short to get caught up in the daily grind. There are too many things to worry about. Paying the bills. The next deal that is waiting for us to close before someone else gets there first. Getting the kids to school on time. Getting the kids to varsity one day. Living a good, long life in good health.
Every day we could lose ourselves in a million of life’s stresses. Or we can celebrate where we are at, who we are here with, and the journey our life has taken to get here, no matter how pock-marked the road may be. If you see life as a celebration at every moment, even in the trials, and try and enjoy your time here as best as you can, then indeed every day will become a celebration.
We found a few reasons to celebrate to help you on your way – because after all, if you make it a celebration, you will realise just how great life can be.
One thing we can be sure about living in South Africa is that we get more than our fair share of Public Holidays. Yes, it’s a chance to sit back and relax and take this bonus time with your family and friends, compliments of the government. But there are ways to make these Public Holidays a celebration rather than just merely a day off. Take the time to find out about the day and exactly why it is important enough to stop the country’s workings in remembrance. Coming up are the Public Holidays of Human Rights Day and Family Day.
There is a reason we are called Sunny South Africa. So, if the sun is shining and the day is bright, celebrate! Get out there with your towel and your lilo and spend the day at the pool braaing with friends. It’s one of the great defining characteristic of being a South African. But if the weather sends you rain? Don’t fret. Put on your wellies, open up your umbrella, and go puddle hopping. And on the off chance that there might be snow, well run out there in your wedding dress and dance the night away. Make every season a celebration.
“Our family has a motto. We make every event a celebration, and sometimes people think we’re mad when we tell them that we are celebrating National Dance Day or other such days…but it makes life exciting, and gives you reason to celebrate.” As long as you don’t buy in to the novelty days that might point to an underlying religious or paganistic practice, these days are the best way to give yourself a good dose of laughter. So don’t scoff. Start thinking about your best April Fool’s Day prank now, and pick someone who will least expect it.
“Life and health are reasons to celebrate.”
Everyday, celebrate your good health. It’s something we all live with every day and only notice until, G-d Forbid, we lose it. If there was ever a reason to celebrate, it’s this. Good health for your family and friends. Don’t take it lightly. Treat your body with respect, nurture your mind, and let your soul sing. Give yourself the gift of healthy living, a good diet, exercise, and a calm mind. It’s the best way to keep the celebration going.
“The look on the cashier’s face when my bill drops 10% because of my coupon discounts is a reason to celebrate.”
In a country where almost half the population suffers from the challenge of being unemployed, it’s high time we all began to celebrate the fact that we are productive members of society and can earn a living to put food on our table. Anything more than that is even more reason to celebrate, but whether you’re living the high life or a more simple existence, recognise every day that the sustenance that Hashem blesses you with is a great cause for celebration, and not to be taken for granted either.
Wetting the roof of your new house
“I never thought I would find myself in the fifth home I have lived in since marrying twenty years ago, after living in my childhood home for 30 years and my parents another 20 on either side of that. I started off small, and then quickly went grand, and now I find myself downsizing again. Yet the excitement and the thrill of change never fail to disappoint.”
Despite the big job of moving, the hard work of getting settled, and even at times the disappointments of downscaling, moving house is a chance for new memories, new opportunities for creating connections with those near you, and bonds for the family to create in a new, warm, and cosy home.
Change is better than a holiday
We are all creatures of habit. Breaking out of the things we have come to know and love or even just find ourselves comfortable with can be daunting, whether it is good or bad. But every way we are forced to stop the grind of our lives, take stock of where we are at, and make a change is a reason to celebrate. Don’t get stuck where you are for so long that you have forgotten why you are there. Making a change, whether by choice or by circumstance, can help you count your blessings and celebrate your life anew.
Clarity of thought
“I agonised over which school to send my child who wasn’t happy where he was. I deliberated and debated for months, unable to fully make a commitment one way or the next. January arrived and I had to put pen to paper; the child had to go to school! And, the moment I made the decision, it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. And, from that moment, it turned out to be the best decision I could have made.”
You know how they say that something hits you like a ton of bricks? The answer to something you have been struggling with, the direction in which you need to go, clarity on an issue you haven’t been able to come to terms with. Finding this clarity and moving forward with your decision one way or another is cause for celebration, it’s liberating, and you can almost feel yourself growing that little bit.
“When I finish de-cluttering a corner of my house, I know it’s a job well done and I feel like breaking open the champagne.”
If you have ever wondered how a writer must feel writing the last lines of his book, or the last strokes of paint on an artist’s next masterpiece, you don’t have to go far to find out. Finishing any task, big or small, meaningful or not, is cause for celebration, because it gives you a sense of accomplishment and achievement and you can grow from the process. Take the siyum that students celebrate in honour of completing a section of their Torah studies. And especially if it’s a job that you have been putting off for tomorrow and a million tomorrows after that, the sense of completion is good reason to put your feet up and open that bubbly.
“I’ll never forget celebrating my birthday when I was a kid. If there was a birthday in the house, we would dress in our best clothes and our parents would take us out for supper.” The red checked tablecloths became a symbol of happy times and milestone celebrations, the waiters serenading you with a song, the soundtrack to the celebration. The only thing matching your smile is the sparkler in the scoop of ice cream. Don’t make growing older an excuse to lose the zest for another year of life. Regain some of that youthful exuberance for your birthday, and go out there and celebrate, relentlessly. Even the dog has a birthday, so there will be no shortage of sparkle in your smile this year.
Your family is the best you have got at the end of the day, so make it a priority to see them and spend quality time with them now, even though life often gets in the way. Getting together with the family at the dinner table or on a Sunday at the pool or over some scrabble on a rainy day is just another reason to celebrate where you come from, who you have in your life, and the everyday achievements of young and old. Make time and invite them over.
“When we have electricity and water at the same time, I get really excited.”
Water and lights. A roof over your head. The greenest apple that is sweet at the same time as sour. The light glinting off your baby’s golden hair. These are the things we take for granted every day. Start noticing them. Start celebrating them.
“When my baby turns one and I can breathe that I have reached that milestone – sleep is in sight again.”
The simple pleasure of feeling well rested and getting a good night’s sleep can make you feel like a new person. That is reason to celebrate.
Whoever coined the term TGIF must have known Shabbos was around the corner. The beauty of Shabbos is that you put everything else aside and just be, and that is the ultimate celebration of life, the universe, and everything.