If the act of celebration were a career choice, I would most definitely be the CEO. I am a master at enjoying the little things.
I mean, I celebrate everything – and, when it feels like there’s nothing exciting to focus on – just give me half a minute and I’m sure to find something.
Yesterday, was my son’s 3 (and a half) birthday.
Yep. You read that right.
3-and-a-half-years-old for Mr. Finn.
…and we celebrated it like we always do. We sang “Happy Birthday”. We played the games he wanted to play. We had a birthday cake. And my 6-year-old even dressed up for the occasion.
Now, some of you might think I’m absolutely bananas for making a big deal out of a half birthday – but, the truth is, it’s part of who I am.
We celebrate every little thing, because it makes life enjoyable. We make bucket lists to plan for our excitement! It adds happiness into the pockets of our day-to-day existence. When we find reasons to celebrate, we also find reasons for joy.
(Healthline posted this article in 2018 all about the effects joy has on your body and, I’m just saying, bring on the joy.)
This half birthday tradition is something we’ve been rocking since my oldest was born in 2013, but it’s not the only way we make merry.
Every Autumn, I am the first one in line for a pumpkin spice latte. In July, I start my countdown to Christmas. And as far as I’m concerned, Disney Magic is a thing. …but I also fully enjoy simple breakfast dates, getting my nails done, or a quick trip to Target. You know, the usj.
When I tell you that I celebrate everything, I really mean it.
Maybe National Donut Day – or Call Your Best Friend Day is a little extreme for you, so here are some of the easier “Little Things” to plan for:
Like my pals Kool & The Gang say….
If put to the test, I know I could find a “little thing” to celebrate for every day of the year. And you might want to start, too!
You know how a light bulb makes the room brighter? That’s exactly how I see our mini-celebrations. They bring light to our routine by mixing things up and pointing out the good in our lives. In essence, they make the rest of the day better.
No matter what is going on in our normal day, a little celebration can make it more exciting! We are a busy family of four – everyone has work or school. Then, we add in homework, piano practice, karate, gymnastics, church time, and some semblance of a social life.
Before too long, it becomes monotonous. (You know this.)
These little celebrations? They break things up. Instead of the same schedule week after week, we make things fun by highlighting a small piece of the day.
“Oh, you aced your spelling test? We are definitely grabbing ice cream after school!”
Boom. Simple. So fun. And it adds such a splash of happiness to an otherwise normal schedule.
The moments you spend together as a family are important. When you’re focused on celebrating the little things, there are simply more of these moments to share.
I love when all four of us can find joy together.
As #TeamJohansen, some of our favorite celebrations include:
As my children grow, the time we spend with one another is crucial to their development. We are building the foundation of our future relationships with one another – but also their relationships with others. The more moments we spend with the kids, the better chance we have of helping them shape their self-understanding. When they eventually gain independence from us, this time spent as a family will assist them in navigating their world.
Our little celebrations bring us together in a couple of ways: Not only do we enjoy each other’s company, but we also get to learn more about one another at the same time.
For the most part, I like my kids. And I really like then when they’re happy. Enjoying the little things helps us find our happiness together: it brings out smiles.
I live for those smiles.
If you’re looking for some good family time ideas, consider making a Boredom Buster Jar with your kids.
Ugh, this one kills me.
I know that soon enough, my kids will not want to spend every Friday night having a pizza party with Mom. Nor will they always relish the idea of a 5-minute “snuggle sesh” on the couch after school.
So, trust me when I say, I am holding tightly to those small slices of happiness for as long as I can.
More than that though, I really want Harper and Finn to know how to do this for themselves.
Enjoying the little things in life is a huge piece of my genetic code. It’s, like, part of my identity. (For real.) So, it’s really important to me that they have Mama’s ability to celebrate at will.
I know the more celebrations we share together now, the more likely they’ll be able to do this on their own when they eventually leave the nest.
And dude, that’s a really crucial skill, because when you find ways to enjoy the little things, you can create your own joy!
Creating joy is one of the 10 tools recommended by Mental Health America to help a person feel stronger and more hopeful.
While our celebrations might be small, they’re definitely on the right path for joy creation.
My two babes are still little, but I know they’re getting bigger every day. So for now, I will happily celebrate the little things and create joy with them while I can.
(Oh, and moms, if you want a good cry, Scary Mommy has us covered with What Let Them Be Little Really Means. You’ve been warned.)
Have you ever suffered a terrible tragedy or loss – and, despite your personal pain, the world kept on moving?
I find this to be the most agonizing part of any struggle.
In my own moments of suffering, I often tend to resort back to the same thoughts:
Of course, the strangers around me aren’t necessarily luckier than anyone else. They are simply unaffected by my own crisis.
Yet, it is ALWAYS within those moments of tragedy that I am reminded to find joy in the day-to-day. I mean, you just never know when your entire world will come crashing down around you.
You truly have no idea when your circumstances could shift. So, please, enjoy what you have today. Make the most of your life right now.
If you don’t have major things to celebrate – like weddings or new babies – go ahead and find those little things. And I mean, every single little thing you can! We like to wear our coziest clothes on a rainy day. Movie nights are a special celebration when the kids have been awesome after school. Ordering pizza is basically the ultimate HURRAY when you need to spice things up.
Find little ways to add happy into your day – every day. Celebrate your life just as you have it.
You get to be happy.
…and that happiness has value as it directly affects the way your day plays out. When you’re feeling good, minor hiccups in your schedule aren’t such a big deal. But this happiness level paints a bigger picture, because it also shapes your interactions with others.
Imagine a workplace (or a grocery store or a subway station or any place with lots of people) where everyone was happy.
It would be UNBELIEVABLE, right!?!
The energy we put out into the world surely affects those around us, but more importantly, it affects us.
If celebrating the little things in your life adds even a modicum of joy to your day, then why wouldn’t you do it as often as possible?
Remember: your life has worth. And to make the most out of whatever it is you’re destined to do, you should be happy while you do it.
Find your little things – whatever they may be – and go celebrate the heck outta them.
Of course, as we’ve heard time and time again, maybe those little things that I keep mentioning aren’t so little after all. Maybe they’re actually the building blocks of our foundation.
So, CELEBRATE those little things – and remember:
Celebrate today. Celebrate everything.
You’ve got this.
Katie Johansen is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with her M.A.Ed in Children’s Literature. She spent 6 years as an elementary school teacher in South Florida before transitioning to stay-at-home #momlife. Now, it’s all things PB&J – with an extra large cup of coffee on the side.