We spent most of last week completely checked out and trying to find simple ways to celebrate each day. The loss of our beloved Talladega was so, so painful. I’m not even going to sugar coat it, the week was much tougher than I had imagined. Monday was hands down the hardest day of my life. Tuesday, we were completely numb and totally exhausted. By Wednesday, the reality of the situation had started setting in and the house we love so much was eerily quiet. I thought I had prepared myself for every possible detail and scenario but the unsettling silence was not even on my radar, you guys.
I finally decided to get out of the house on Thursday and meet my mom for an event that had been planned for almost six months…our half birthday celebrations. A redo of sorts after the tornado and milestone birthday drama from earlier this year threated to thwart our “best year ever” plans. Don’t worry, the irony of the timing of this celebration is not lost on me either. I almost canceled because I was having such a hard time. But I knew we both needed something to celebrate after having endured so much sadness over the past three months.
It took a few hours to get to our destination and during that time we laughed and cried and reconnected. We laughed deep belly laughs, slapped the center console in disbelief as we caught each other up and finished each other’s sentences more times than I can count. I gotta say, it felt really good.
I’ve come to understand there are no perfect seasons. There are only perfect moments we have to capture and hold onto and store away to help us through the tough times.
During this season of loss, I’m almost embarrassed to say, I haven’t been intentional about finding something to celebrate each day. I was so sick of getting off track and then back on track and then off again because my life was kind of bananas. I thought, “Why bother with all the extra? This feels like a hamster wheel anyway. I’m just going to wing it.” Looking back, even feeling this way should have been a big red flag because I normally find comfort in routines, structure and order.
I had all but stopped writing in my gratitude journal and keeping up with my calendar. There were times when I would end the day angry or frustrated I wasn’t able to get the things on my to-do list accomplished as quickly as I had hoped. I found myself annoyed I had been interrupted a million times and would sink into a hot bath saying, “You seriously have to get it together, CoCo” and then I would promptly list the things I should have done better. I know there are some Type A Perfectionists out there that can totally relate.
I’m sharing this with you guys because since I wrote about Tally’s passing I’ve gotten a lot of messages about how some of you are in a similar situation. How you feel like you’ve lost your creativity, motivation and stick-to-it-ness. How you’re tired of all the stopping and starting and how even with the best laid plans and a positive attitude it feels like life is handing you one lemon, after another lemon after another and you’re totally over it. Believe me, I can completely relate which is why I thought I would share simple ways to celebrate each day in hopes we can all help each other…
Make Your Mornings Positive – begin each day on a positive note with meditation, scripture, quiet time daily affirmations, or exercise. A positive morning will set the tone for the entire day.
Celebrate the Little Things – most people rush through their day hustling from one task to the next without noticing the small details that add up to big accomplishments. Celebrating small victories provides momentum and confidence for the big projects/tasks to come. This could be anything from achieving your fitness goals by walking to lunch when you really feel like having lunch delivered to your desk to giving your boss/friend/sister/spouse/stranger/self grace when you really feel like giving them a piece of your mind. All victories are worth celebrating!
Offer Praise and Thanksgiving Freely – hurrying through the day sometimes leads us to take others for granted so make a concerted effort to praise the people placed on your path for their acts of kindness and best gifts. Thank them for taking out the trash, cleaning the toilets, listening to you vent or bringing a venti chai latte and a cake pop to work just because. Taking the time to appreciate the people and things in your life is truly a double blessing.
Do Something for Someone Else – when we’re hurting, frustrated, grieving or angry it can be so easy to get caught up in our own situation we don’t take the time to see what others are going through. Doing something for someone else could be as simple as making sure the laundry is caught up so they have clean socks, setting a pretty table for dinner, reading one more book before bedtime, sending a card in the mail or a text to let someone know you’re thinking about them or placing a scratch off ticket on the gas pump with a note that says have a great day.
Give Yourself Something to Look Forward to – whether you’re planning a big trip to Europe or having a coffee date with friends at the end of a long week, having something to look forward to will keep you focused if/when you feel a dip in motivation.
Be Fully Present – this one can be SO hard! We’re constantly distracted by technology, hectic schedules and overall preoccupation that we can sometimes miss the gift of being fully present. If you’re on ‘The Gram while your family is telling funny stories you need to get off Insta and laugh with them. If you’re in church thinking about lunch, you could be missing the best part of the service. Don’t miss the punch line because someone is taking way too long to tell you a story. Be excited they want to share their story with you.
Likewise, if you’re feeling something you don’t want to feel (like sadness, anger, resentment, jealousy, tears, etc.) address why you’re feeling that way in the moment. While you may want to push those emotions away to avoid them, it’s simply easier to address each situation or feeling as they come up as opposed to dealing with everything you’ve managed to stuff inside for months all at the same time.
Being fully present is not always easy, I totally get it, but continually practicing mindfulness and grace in the moment will always be worth it.
Find Encouragement at the End of Each Day – it’s just as important to end the day feeling encouraged as it is to start the day with positivity. Spend a few minutes reflecting or journaling on the good things that happened during the day instead of listing the things you could have/would have/should have done better. This will help set you up for a peaceful night of sleep and refocus your energy/efforts for the things you want to accomplish the following day.
As I hugged my mom goodbye the night of our birthday redo, she squeezed me tight and said, “We may be in the midst of our season of loss but I still believe we can have our best year yet.” The weird thing is, I totally believed her. Even with all its ups and downs, starts and stops, loves and losses – life is still worth celebrating. We just have to find the gift in every day.
A million times over thank you for your love, support and understanding as we go through this journey. Your sweet notes, thoughts and prayers mean the world to us. See you guys back here tomorrow. I can’t wait to share a few patriotic pieces I’ve picked up recently. Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.