I am in a stage of life right now where many of the experiences and thoughts I’ve been through over the past seven years (the entirety of my twenties) are finally making sense and merging together. This is exciting and even dream-like. Sometimes I think to myself, “Is this really happening?” The ideas conceived long ago are finally being put into action; I am an activate participant in the dreams themselves. There is more to the story though, which is what I want to focus on in this piece.
Living a life I’ve intentionally set out to design comes at the expense of sometimes feeling stretched too thin, being unable to say “no” to an opportunity that could grow me, and what most impacts me - feeling less present in the “in-between” moments of life. Moments like making my morning oatmeal, sitting down to drink tea with my roommate, and leaving the subway to walk on the streets of Manhattan, have gotten somewhat lost. Instead of catching the eyes of those around me, I’m in my head thinking, “What else should I be doing?” or “I need to check my email." Lately, I’ve come to understand that these “in-between” moments are just as important in life as the big ones. If the in-between moments escape us - they are just gone.
Since noticing these shifts in myself, I’ve consciously worked to slow down and create boundaries around the temptation of growth opportunities, for the sake of enjoying the in-between moments (and all the moments) of my life. Slowing down allows me to recognize the importance of acknowledging how far I’ve already come and creates space for my own celebration of self. A year ago, I was working at a startup doing customer service and corporate partnership sales, I was heartbroken because I ended a relationship too soon that I thought I lost forever, I was living on my best friends couch, and I hadn’t thought about coaching in years. Today, my story is much different and I want to intentionally celebrate everything I’ve stepped into. Questions that help guide me through the celebration are: What is possible if I let go of the “what else can I do or be” and be present with the “what is?” What is it to sincerely celebrate how far I’ve come instead of longing for“what’s next?”
Arguably the most influential poet in American history (and one of my personal favorites), Walt Whitman, wrote a 52 section poem titled, “Song of Myself.” In the first line of the poem, “I celebrate myself, and sing myself,” Whitman clearly informs his readers that he intends on celebrating himself, and page after page, he does just that. What could be perceived as the most egocentric poem on the planet, is actually an epic piece of art that grew from Whitman’s desire to celebrate himself. Here is one section that inspires me:
“I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.
One world is aware, and by the far the largest to me, and that is myself,
And whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand or ten million years,
I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness, I can wait.”
I’m not saying we all have to write an epic poem that readers will study throughout history, but Whitman perfectly models the importance of celebrating exactly who we are and how far we’ve come. This could be as simple as shouting, wherever you are: “Self - I celebrate you! I am proud of you!” or going out for an extra special meal for just being you, treating yourself to a massage, booking a travel adventure, or even writing one sentence in your journal, that reads: “Thank you for all that you are and all that you do. You are amazing.”
Where in your life can you celebrate yourself more and what would be the impact if you did?