I guess we do throw lots of parties, though. We throw them for birthdays, graduations, all sorts of holidays, baby showers, weddings; we've thrown parties for going back to school and for the last day of school. You name it, there's a solid chance we've celebrated it. Because of all of this, I guess I never really questioned why in fact we did it at all.
Since then, I've thought about the subject more, never wavering from my conviction that these events are important to celebrate. There's a reason why the biggest events of our lives, births, weddings, and oftentimes deaths, are commemorated with a shared meal. Not just any shared meal, however, but one accompanied by things such as flowers, champagne, shamrock necklaces, candles, confetti, toasts and cheers. All of these things transcend the mundane and now operate as signifiers of importance. This moment is not to be confused for the lunch room roundtable, the drive-thru stop, or the microwave dinner tray. Eating, strangely enough, is a very intimate action to share with someone; think of a first date or the first co-worker lunch, versus catching up with a friend over a bagel. Sometimes we find ourselves nervous to eat in front of someone new, while you will never ever hesitate to demolish that entire Chipotle burrito in front of your bestie. Breaking bread together, whether it be cooking for your mate or meeting for a coffee break, is a sign of care, of intimacy. It's a way of binding ourselves to one another, and we've been doing it forever.
As a closing note, there is one last thing I would like to address on this topic. It is often easy to blow off a reason to celebrate; not enough time, too stressed out, not enough money, too little/too many people, I'm not that excited about turning 25/30/40/50/whatever anyways. I feel it is my public duty to inform you that's a whole lot of nonsense.
I remember, fairly clearly, my grandmother's last birthday. Age 60 and dying of Leukemia, I imagine now that she perhaps was not initially thrilled by the prospect of such an event during the grim stages of her chemotherapy. I, of course, at age seven was blissfully unaware of the fact that anyone anywhere would not want to celebrate a birthday. I was quite thrilled to help put together the Chinese Tea Garden-esque family affair, complete with little umbrellas, chopsticks, and me in silk pajamas. It might have been easier, for my grandmother and my mother, to say, not right now; but as an adult I am grateful for that memory. I remember it as a happy time, with us gathered around the table with Chinese food and paper lanterns hanging from the lamps; I don't remember her being sick as much as I remember her being happy. That is why gathering is important, because our life is fragile, and we may have less opportunities to do so than we imagine. I don't mean to sound morbid or pessimistic; I instead view it as a call to action, and view my ability to celebrate with family and friends with great, optimistic buoyancy. No matter how small, or how simple, remember that the moments where time is taken to come together, and to celebrate something larger than our daily tasks, are some of the most remarkable and lasting memories you will ever make. (Also, it's really fun to make an entertaining board on Pinterest.)
Have a good week! I'll be back on Tuesday with a recipe for... drum roll please... National Waffle Day! I'll just tell you now, I'm super jazzed. I'll also be sharing my travel pictures from Puerto Vallarta next week, if my disposable cameras don't fail me. Have a good week! Cheers and happy travels, Rachel