There is a classic song by ‘Kool and the Gang’ that starts with the lyrics (please sing along);

“Celebrate good times, come on.
Celebrate good times, come on.
There’s a party goin’ on right here, a celebration to last throughout the years.
So, bring your good times and your laughter too, we gonna celebrate your party with you”.

I love this song; however, I do believe it is doing the word ‘celebration’ a grave injustice. Why is it that celebration is limited to the times when things are good, and going well? Why do we wait for an achievement or a milestone to celebrate? Why can’t we find something to celebrate right now, no matter what is happening? Why don’t we simply and consistently celebrate this remarkable life we have been given and the opportunities that are presented to us every single day?

I had a wonderful experience during the week just past. It was definitely unexpected, it was absolutely challenging to my beliefs, and it was transformational and paradigm shifting for me. Just a few days earlier, I found out that a very special man, I had really only known for about a year, passed away unexpectedly. Even though I really didn’t know him that well, so strong was the connection we had formed during that time, I had no hesitation in clearing my schedule to attend his funeral.

As I arrived, I genuinely wore my somber funeral face because I wanted to respect the passing of this man and show his friends and family how affected I was about his death. I was not expecting the welcome I got when I arrived. Firstly, it was a very small group of close friends and family, so my first thought was that maybe I shouldn’t be there. The second thing that struck me like a bolt of lightning were the smiles, joy, and gratitude I was greeted with. In fact, if I am being honest, I found it quite challenging to my preconceived idea of the appropriate behaviour at a funeral. As I sat waiting for the funeral to begin, I was a little uncomfortable with the laughter and joy that was happening all around me, but then the funeral began.

I sat there listening to people talk about this wonderful man, and I started to relax, in fact really enjoy the experience. Whilst there were many tears shed and obvious grieving, it was a beautiful celebration of a life well lived, and a legacy that will continue for generations to come. Sitting there, getting into the joy and gratitude, I started questioning the societal pressure that seems to suggest it is only appropriate to wait to celebrate when things are great, when something is achieved, or when there is a milestone to be recognised. Why can’t we celebrate at a funeral and honour the person who has passed with joy, laughter, and gratitude? Who made the rule that we can’t celebrate a poor choice, knowing that if we learn from it, something amazing will happen. Why did we buy into the rubbish that a birthday is celebrated only once per year when really, we should be celebrating our life every single day, whilst we have it?

I would like to declare today, and every day forth, a day of celebration. I want to celebrate me for the great things I do, the person I am becoming, and the things I am learning every day. I want to celebrate you, for who you are at the core, and who you can become if you choose. I want to celebrate everything that happens because I know, with the right perspective, something great will come from it. I want to celebrate having the free will to choose celebration as a way of my life moving forward. I want to encourage you to do the same.

In my podcast this week called Comfortably uncomfortable, I celebrate with Matthew Dickson his overcoming Schizophrenia after 27 years. We celebrate his bike ride across Canada to raise money to support his mission to help people suffering from mental health issues in third world and developing countries. It is an incredibly compelling and inspiring conversation.

If you have got to this stage of the blog, then celebrate. If you have decided to find something every day to celebrate, then celebrate. When you wake up tomorrow morning, and as your eyes open, then celebrate. Life is worthy of celebration. Don’t wait, celebrate every day, no matter what is happening. So, let’s change the lyrics of Kool and the Gang’s song to “Celebrate ALL times, come on!”