Sometimes you just gotta celebrate yourself.
Well here’s a question, if not you then who? It is one thing to be proud and a complete other to be boastful.
This is a lesson, I spend a fair amount of time repeating to my children. A pattern perhaps, as growing up my mother was always mindful to make sure I wasn’t influenced or impressed by “things” others might have, or their parents may have accomplished. I also happened to be surrounded by friends whose parents embraced the same philosophy.
There are two favorite stories I have illustrating this. One would be of my girlfriend (godmother to my children) whose parents were very successful business people as well as entrepreneurs. Looking back now I can appreciate that her mom and dad, truly had the hustle down. Each worked for respected large companies, yet in addition were always trying their hand at a “side hustle” (as we now say) or start up family business (as they said back then). This ranged from a yogurt shop at Pier 39, a candy store at a local mall and a rental car company when we were in college. Each presenting job opportunities for their children, as well as friends willing to work.
Never did her parents speak of money or financial success.
One day in junior high, however, my girlfriend made a mistake she would never make again. Wanting a ride home, versus walking as was customary, she called her mom requesting a ride home. Before hanging up she said, “Bring the Peugeot.”
For those not familiar, that was a fancy car and her mom happened to drive one.
Overhearing the conversation her father stepped in, waiting just long enough so my girlfriend began walking from impatience. Pulling up to his walking daughter, window rolled down, the car slowly crept alongside her. She was informed that he would escort her home (he in the car and she on foot).
Once they reached home, my junior high aged pal got a good lesson in being humble. Her father explained a few things to her; one which hit home most was bragging or being flashy from someone else’s achievement.
“We own that car because we believe in the quality of its craftsmanship,” her father said. “Not so you can name drop and try to impress friends with something we’ve acquired through hard work.”
Several years later, my mom would echo this wisdom as I was invited to lunch by the son of an affluent jeweler. Still living in the Bay Area, a mutual friend had set me up with a young man whose father owned a high end jewelry store in San Francisco. Following our lunch date and hearing all of his stories, I couldn’t wait to get home and share them with my mom.
Telling her all about his father’s store, the beautiful jewels, as well as the impressive company they kept. Back in the day there was a thing called socialites and this family was very much a part of that San Francisco circle. Paintings from close friend Tony Bennett filled their home, as well as a few in their shop.
My mother, true to her southern roots, simply smiled as I went on and on with my stories and asked a question I’ve never forgotten.
“What has he accomplished?” my mother asked. “True, his father is a smart man and has accomplished much, but what has his son done other than wow girls like yourself with what he was born in to.”
Ummmmm … needless to say, that left me thinking for days on end, as I honestly didn’t have an answer. All the same, it was a good lunch but even better lesson.
Celebrating oneself is not the same as what I’ve outlined here. Sometimes in life, we have to give ourselves a little “atta girl or boy,” to help keep us going.
Now in a world driven by social media with Disneyland trips, professional profile photos and a highlight reel which screams 24/7, it’s easy to find yourself sucked in and feeling like an underachiever.
Well, stop that.
Remember, social medial is only as real as the individual allows. In the last year or so, I’ve learned that looking inside benefits me far more than engaging in someone else’s highlight reel and yeah, I’m proud of that, too.
In short, my life is pretty dang simple, by my summation. For others it may be perceived as “a lot,” or “too much” and that’s perfectly okay. You wanna know why?
Because all that aside, I’m just over here celebrating my smallest of victories and you should too. When I say “small” don’t get confused ... I actually got excited earlier this week when I learned I had a 15-week streak for riding my Peloton bike, yay me! That’s huge in my world which was rocked sideways for so long, so I’m just going to give myself a little high five and go about my day.
A favorite quote of mine is: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
And while you may know what your own battles are, just don’t forget to take a minute to yourself and celebrate those small victories. Yay you!
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.