Celebrating Your Life’s Achievements

March 7, 2022

2020 and 2021 were good years for me. They weren’t perfect, but they were good, and I’m grateful for the experiences. I lost my job in March 2020–the same day schools in our county shut down because of COVID-19. Our country went into lockdown for the pandemic shortly after that. For the third time in 17 years, my position was eliminated. I was good. I did not doubt that my family and I would be just fine. I wasn’t in a rush to find a job. I took the time to bond with my family because we had no choice but to use our free time. Art workshops, Spanish, ASL, and stock options kept me busy. My children had to adjust to a new way–and a slower pace–of life. At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, I threw my kids a surprise (family only) party complete with party favors, cake, cupcakes, and pizza. My husband, Ron, took them out while I decorated the house. They were pleasantly surprised upon their return. It was the best.

They had such an abnormal year (this was only the beginning), but they thrived each in their ways. My oldest completed freshman year of college, my middle daughter finished her last year of middle school, and my youngest finished his first year of middle school. I wanted to celebrate their resilience and tenacity. It wasn’t easy, but they did it. It was important to pause and acknowledge that.

Fast forward to 2021, and we were still in a pandemic. The kids were still going to school virtually–college 100% virtual; middle school, 100% virtual; and high school, 50% virtual. I was casually looking for a new job, and the world was slowly opening up. By March, I had accepted a full-time job making nearly double the pay I had in my last job. We celebrated with my favorite champagne, Veuve Clicquot, and dinner at home as a family. My friends and family poured into me, and it felt GOOD! I remember struggling to find a job for six months in 2006. I remember in 2020 crying for an entire day after interviewing with one company multiple times and then receiving a rejection. My mind and body remember; so honor the moment and celebrate the positive feeling that remains with you.

It was also in the spring that my husband and I decided we would have an in-person, 20th-anniversary party with our closest family and friends. It was the BEST party ever–even though I am biased–but it’s also the word on the street. We hosted 100 people at a beautiful venue in Piedmont Park with the theme “Coming to Atlanta” as a play on the movie “Coming to America,” which part two was released in 2021. We went all out! Live band, DJ, open bar, and custom-made dress and suit for us. It was great to have the people we love in one place for us to love on them and for them to love on us. My heart was and is still so full. This milestone was one to celebrate. Not many marriages last that long. Ours isn’t perfect, and we made it. We celebrated because we remember when our relationship wasn’t the best. We celebrated because there were times we thought we were not going to make it–we separated in 2013 shortly after my mom passed away. Marriage is not easy, and it takes work. Working through the ups and downs and coming out on top is worth celebrating. Even six months after this milestone celebration, I continue to enjoy this season of our marriage. We are closer than we’ve ever been, our love is the strongest, and I still get butterflies in my stomach when I see him as I did in college. He is my person, and I will celebrate that every day!

I don’t know what 2022 will bring, but I am ready to pray through the challenges and celebrate the goodness. Bring it on!

What I’ve learned: 

Celebration brings balance to our minds and bodies. We plow through life-taking hits. We get back up and keep moving. Something happens, and we say a silent “thank you, Jesus,” and keep on moving. Despite challenges in life, pausing and celebrating is acknowledging your mind and body. You are amazing. Use celebration to pour that energy back into your psyche. 

How can you celebrate as a way to make yourself a priority:

When you reach a goal, regardless of how big or small, take a moment to celebrate. The size of the celebration does not matter–it could be. Maybe you are starting a business. Decide now how you will celebrate reaching a milestone in its formation. If you are working on a big project for work, decide how you will celebrate its completion. Perhaps some unexpected goodness finds you, don’t let the moment pass without a celebration. If you need ideas, I have plenty: DIY spa day at home; book a massage; take a trip; buy a new pair of shoes; plan dinner alone or with friends; or pop a bottle of your favorite beverage.

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