Four ways to honor Celebration of Life Day

Life: a cereal, a magazine, and more importantly, what we’re experiencing right now.

Today, Jan. 22, is National Celebration of Life Day. Although it was originally used to make an anti-abortion statement, its current use is to celebrate all walks of life, particularly children.

In fact, this is one of the few holidays where everyone is celebrated. And it’s not just people. Today, everything alive can be celebrated: trees, grass, your dog, flowers, lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!).

Take this day to honor everything alive in your life. That’s right: everything. Water your plants. Mow your lawn. Give your dog a treat. Bring cookies to your neighbor.

Specifically, here are a few more ways to celebrate.

1. Remember your New Year’s resolutions.

Last year was full of change. This year can be, too–but let’s make it full of good change, aka progress. If you didn’t set resolutions, then make some now. If you have, then how do you plan to keep up with them?

Most people (myself included) have set resolutions in the beginning of the year, certain that this year is the year to make some personal changes. But sometime after February, I lose sight of the importance of my goal or tell myself things like “I can always work more tomorrow” or “It’s fine if I don’t do a whole lot today.” The problem, though, is that over time, these statements build up on one another.

Pull slider to far right to see average resolution progress, and pull to far left to see what ideal progress would be. The squiggles on the month axis represents a gap in time. [Photo credit: Makenzie Bird]

Anytime is a great time to start making the graph stay level, or even go up. Set a daily reminder to work on your goal, even if it’s just five minutes. No matter how big or small your goals are, any progress you make is good.

Start now and make good habits so you don’t regret it in the future.

2. Start a gratitude journal

It’s been proven multiple times that optimists live longer than pessimists. One way to reach optimism is by keeping a gratitude journal. Simply write down something every day that you are grateful for, from things you have and don’t have.

If you know you are the type of person who struggles writing down in a real journal, consider using the DayOne journaling app, which has templates for gratitude journals and more. Or, don’t use a journal and capture your thoughts on scraps of paper that can go in a jar or other container.

The best way is to set a daily habit. Try and find a certain time, and stick with it, until it becomes natural to write something down.

3. Catch up with an old friend

That’s right. Scroll down to the bottom of your text message history and start a conversation with someone you haven’t talked to in a while.

Or, take “old friend” as the other meaning–listen to the elders in your life. Call your grandparents or even great-grandparents. Even better, visit them in person if possible. Actually pay attention to what they’re saying.

Sometimes you need to be the one to start the conversation.

4. Take some time to reflect

Photo credit (left): Makenzie Bird

Admittedly, our time here on Earth is limited. We cannot afford to take any time for granted. The average life of an American is about 90 years. How far along are you in that? Do you plan on making a future better than your past? And when are you going to start that?

Start today. Start as soon as possible. We are never short in opportunities to alter our future. If we keep striving and working to improve, then we can not only impact ourselves, but those around us.

We all can make a difference. What change are you going to make?

Photo credit (left): Wait But Why blog

This image shows a “life calendar” from the blog Wait But Why. Each square represents a week in the 90-year life of a typical American.

Where are you on the calendar? What have you done with the past boxes, and what will you do with the upcoming ones?

Imagine if the boxes were colored differently: green for a good week and red for a bad one. How many green boxes are in your past? What color will they be in the future?

All in all, Celebration of Life Day is a time to take a pause from life and focus. All life is a miracle and worth celebrating. If you focus on the positive, then the negative things seem to fade away. Do what you can to make what you have as good as it can be.

To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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