Celebration can be tricky

celebrate-yourselfYesterday was my first wedding anniversary…or the seventh…we count both. Marriage can be hard, and for my husband and I, it was, and it wasn’t forever. But through healing, forgiveness and reconciliation, we remarried one year ago. So we count one year, and we count the prior six, we’ve earned them.


Leading up to our anniversary, I had a sense that it was a celebration. A big deal. I’ve also learned about my husband that he likes to celebrate and he’s really good at it. I’ve fallen short, something I’m aware of and strive to improve. The tangible stuff I do. I looked up the traditional gifts for seven-year anniversaries, copper, ok, worked that in. We’d planned to go away for the weekend, in fact we are away for the weekend as I write this. Santa Cruz – beautiful setting – awesome hotel – couples’ massage (that was his gift to me – score!) – great dinner. A proper weekend getaway to be sure. Of course, my husband started a couple days ago sending me a gorgeous bouquet to work – gaining him major points with the women at work. He outdoes himself for every celebration.

But for me, something is missing inside me. Not just in this celebration, in every situation where there is genuine cause to celebrate. You can guarantee I was not the mom giving trophies for showing up. Sorry boys. There’s something in how my brain is wired that sees accomplishment as an expectation. To say I am a high achiever is an understatement. At least with things I set my mind to. But celebrating those accomplishments? I basically don’t.

It’s not that I think every accomplishment needs fireworks, don’t misunderstand me. What I’ve noticed though is the feeling I have inside. It’s a flat, “ok, so check that one off.” I think about a comment my Dad made to me a couple years ago. I had decided to walk a marathon (I am not a runner – at all – I don’t even fake it). He said to me, “Do you really think you can’t walk a marathon?” No, I was sure I could do it. “Then why do it?” His comment really summed up my thinking. I knew I could do it. Not because I’d trained or was a fast walking champion, I just knew if I started I’d finish. It was the expectation element. So when I did, it was cool and all, but my inside self was flat.

I like celebrating other people, their accomplishments, their success. Seeing their joy, their pride. Joining in that gives me the warm fuzzies. The part I struggle with is the inner feeling of celebration – maybe it’s a self-pride in accomplishment. Not pride in a bad way, but pride in hard work. Whether I can do whatever it is I set my mind to isn’t the point, I still do the work hard to get there. Case in point, my marriage. It was hard work to get where we are today, that is something to celebrate.

And it’s not about other people celebrating me. It’s the inner dialogue. Is anyone else nodding their heads with me? There is value in celebrating your own success, not to the point of negative pride, but in encouragement. You see it throughout history, it’s even in the Bible.  It seems to me it’s a reprogramming for the sake of self-encouragement. It’s not brushing off accomplishment but taking a moment to pause.

Here’s the a-ha moment. It’s about being thankful. Grateful for the gifts and talents God has given you, given me. Thankful you’ve been able to use them to help others. There’s an authentic part to it, recognizing that your talents, your gifts, they make up who you are.  Celebrate how you’ve been able to use them, and continue to use them, as often as you can. Live in that spirit of thankfulness, gratefulness. That, my friends, is how I’ll choose to celebrate, grateful for my inner gifts that drive me to accomplish crazy things at times. Today, I’ll celebrate my gratefulness for the restoration of my marriage, and for my husband.

What do you need to celebrate today? Do it. Bring a spirit of gratefulness to it and just be with yourself, even if just for a moment. I’m celebrating with you.

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