“Can I get you a beverage while you decide what to order from the menu?” the waitress asks in a rehearsed tone.
“Ah, yes. I’ll take a glass of champagne, please and thank you,” I reply nonchalantly.
“Oooh! And what are we celebrating?!” She answers in an awakened voice.
“Ummm…” I pause and look in my purse as if the answer is hiding in there. “The fact that it’s Tuesday and only three more work days until the weekend?”
This is a typical conversation I experience every now and again. People associate ordering a glass of champagne with the idea of celebrating a large-scale event or preparing to “cheers” at the table to a milestone surpassed. I, on the other hand, think life should be celebrated more often and well… champagne just always seems appropriate.
My favourite word is “congratulations.” This is somewhat puzzling since I’m single, childless and despite having earned a few university degrees, I don’t have much to overtly celebrate other than my birthday. Ah, wait. That’s not quite true. One of my sarcastic co-workers did prepare a certificate of accomplishment for me the other day stating “Congratulations for arriving to work on time once.” Yes, it did end up tacked by a push-pin onto my cubicle wall and I proudly pointed it out to co-workers passing by.
I think we all become so caught up in the pragmatic cycle of our everyday lives that we forget to stop and count the accomplishments we’ve sustained. We don’t pat ourselves or each other on the backs, and we think we can only stop, celebrate and feel good about the major accomplishments we reach. We’re going about this the wrong way. We should support each other when tasks have been completed or we’ve reached a point we’ve never been able to make it to before. Life is one big celebration, and if worse comes to worse, you can always use “life” as the reason for celebration itself.
New Year’s Eve is the biggest night of celebration in Canada and the United States. People usually dress up in their finest cocktail attire to attend a party where they spend part the evening staring at a clock and preparing to do a countdown. Funny enough, it seems it’s one of the nights that people always prepare for well ahead of time, but think of as being a let-down. Why is this? I think it’s because we put “all our eggs in one basket,” so to speak. We tell friends that we’re saving that little black dress for this big night out where were going to shine and impress ex-lovers and future lovers alike with our overzealous good looks. I remember one New Year’s where two of my friends trudged endlessly through the snow to find a way home while trying to wave cabs to no avail. They actually wound up getting a drive home in a snow-plow, which undoubtedly would have taken longer than crawling through the snow with bare knees.
The Irish have a tradition where one’s passing becomes a celebration of their life rather than a gathering of sad faces and a race of who can use the most Kleenex within a two-hour period. Patrons who attend Irish wakes often bring a plentiful amount of food and alcohol and come prepared with some funny or embarrassing stories about the deceased. Many will remark that they never truly do whiskey shots until they attend an Irish wake and are, therefore, traditionally forced to throw a few back. The music-filled event focuses on celebrating the life that was and wishing the spirit of the deceased off by doing them justice and sharing their life stories. Despite the lack of champagne, the Irish seem to have the celebration part down, which raises the question, “How can we define celebration?”
Now, I’m not saying that champagne is how people celebrate events; instead arguing that it’s a symbolic token here for celebration. I’m the girl who shows up with a bottle of champagne for the birthday boy/girl and then forces a toast, whether they have anything to say or not. People on a diet may see a sliver of cheesecake as a reward in celebrating a set amount of time without sugary treats. Others may merely see sleeping in as a celebratory award for getting up each day and going for a vigorous morning run. Just make sure that you remember to not only celebrate the big things in life, but also celebrate the small obstacles we overcome.
image: magda dm (Creative Commons BY-NC)