FINDING JOY IN SOMETHING THAT’S NOT ABOUT YOU
We have an exciting adventure coming up. One that seemed like an undertaking at first. And we are so excited to be participating in it.
There’ll be some of our favorite people joining us from all over the country. We feel so blessed and grateful that they are willing to jump through hoops to make it happen.
So what are we doing? We’re gathering with family members we haven’t seen in ages to celebrate a monumental milestone for our family.
Many birthdays and anniversaries have come and gone, and we’ve celebrated each other from afar, but this time is different.
We have an 80-year old birthday on the horizon!
My father-in-law is about to celebrate his 80th year around the sun. He’ll rejoice in a life well lived with hardships, love, obstacles, and opportunity.
The best part is, we get to do it with him.
The goodness of a family bond
To some, this may seem trivial, but where it really hits home with me is that we (kids included) are making space in our otherwise crazy lives to celebrate someone else’s good.
Aside from being a family-oriented group, we still have life jumping in the way of getting together or scheduling the regular phone calls we wish we could have.
But one thing holds true, and maybe it’s been reinforced by the psychological impact of a pandemic, is that creating traditions, togetherness with family, and making sacrifices for others feels good to everyone involved. It helps us be better humans and gives more meaning to life.
Significance of celebrating another
This party is significant in that it’s a celebration of 80 years of life. A life that without it, none of us would be here or together today. And while my kids don’t really see that as astounding, we’re going to help them understand and learn.
It’s easy to go about your life in your bubble. Dealing with your own stress, worry, joy, and celebrations, but when you celebrate others for their accomplishments, you find happiness in something outside of you.
I was worried at first that not many family members would be able to join us. It’s during a hectic time of year, and the location is not nearby. We have to request time off work, skip sports, save money, find pet sitters, book arrangements, prepare for travel, and so much more.
It’d be easy to say ‘no’ to.
But, not one of us did.
And that makes my heart sing.
To show up for others fills your heart. It builds memories and bonds, and it puts love into the universe. It takes you out of the inwardness of your day-to-day and allows you to give back.
You see, you have to give to the universe if you want it to give to you. Selfless acts of kindness and celebration help you do that.
When it’s graduation time, we’re all going to sit our busy lives aside and celebrate the grad. When it’s wedding time, we’re going to rejoice in someone’s big day. And when someone ace’s a test, we celebrate that too (on a smaller scale as you can imagine).
But my point is…
Family is everything.
Maybe for you, your friends are your family. But hug them tightly and bring them close. Because if we don’t have family and community, what do we have.
Selfishness may get you ahead, but it won’t help you win the race, not in the end. And not alone.
Teaching the bigger picture of selfless acts
I look forward to these occasions where my kids might say “do we have to go” and I get to say, “yes, because this accomplishment in this person’s life is monumental, and we will cheer with them in love and support”.
There’s a bigger picture in our lives, and to get the most out of life, we have to be willing to see it and find it. When the little things get stripped away, what do we have? What’s still standing is our family, our relationships, and our heart and soul.
Things you can do for others that make you feel good too
- Send a birthday card (as we get older, we get them less)
- Send a text telling someone something extraordinary about themselves
- Take the trash cans in for your neighbor
- Set up a regular donation to a cause you can get behind (debited from your account every month to make it easy). Even a tiny amount helps.
- Listen more. Listen without thinking about and preparing to respond. Just listen.
- Visit your family. Board the pets, save the money, take the vacation time. Be there when they need you and be there when they celebrate.
- And if someone doesn’t have a smile, give them one of yours.