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The Why and the Why Now

As I sit here in the sunny south of France in March 2016, with a clear, blue sky above me, sheltered from the breeze, I am stuck with my feet up as yesterday I fell down the narrow stairs. Forced to raise my swollen ankle and to not put any weight on it, I am grateful for a pad of paper, pens, a few books, and my iPad but already missing the lack of internet. So I am forced to enjoy the next days days in this 1,000 year old stone built village house with the trappings and responsibilities of work and normal daily life. A week’s break to reflect and clear my head before I enter the next decade as on April 4th I am 60 and plan to celebrate this milestone year.

I was born in 1956 which to you, dear reader, may seem like a lifetime ago. I am lucky to have both parents in good health for octogenarians and two lovely daughters at the beginning of their adult lives. So I start this blog as a record of my milestone year with the intention of celebrating something every week or even better sixty at 60

What led me to the word ‘Celebration’

A couple of weeks ago was International Women’s Day and at my local Soroptimists’ club we marked the day by each wearing a headdress representing inspirational women. Some of us chose a genre of women such as the land girls of World War I or female fire fighters. Others wore headdresses from different countries symbolising women struggling in the face of adversity and others focussed on representing different cultures and religions.

This made me think – does it take an internationally recognised day of the year to give us permission to celebrate? Or are there ways we can celebrate every day in some small way?

Recent world events: the cirisi on Syria; the plight of so many refugees; atrocious acts of terrorism mean we call carry the burden of terrible news on our shoulders which makes us fearful for the future. Does this mean that we should forego having fun? The old newsreels from the 2nd World War show enormous dance halls filled with couples swinging to a band. For a few hours they put the harsh reality of the war to the back of their minds. ‘Life goes on’ as they say.

A Lesson in Celebration

A few years ago I went to Tanzania with a group of local business women in aid of Childreach International. We had fund raised hard and went to the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania to renovate a school. On our arrival as the bus neared the school we were to renovate children appeared as if some nowhere out of the banana plantation. Ecstatic at our arrival they chased the bus waving wildly, shouting, ‘Hello, how are you!’ They jumped with joy to welcome us to their world.

Our first experience of the Uwa community was a traditional welcome of dancing and long – very long – speeches. These people who had nothing to give us by way of a traditional Western party gave us their welcome in the form of singing and dancing to celebrate our arrival.

The point of this story is that you don’t need stuff to have fun. All you need is a reason and even that doesn’t have to be more than it’s a sunny day. There are times, when you’re on your own (like I am now with my foot up) doing nothing in particular that you’ll think of something which makes you smile. Own that moment. It may be that is today’s celebration. Let’s spread a little happiness and joy. Seize the day and live in the moment.
Photos courtesy of Lia Parkinson

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