I believe I've finally become what I once dreaded..."a grown up" (cue Peter Pan's "I Won't Grow Up"). With adulthood comes new concerns and responsibilities. Suddenly life becomes very real, very fast and days start flying by. This phenomenon struck me today as I was flipping through some old family photos, reminiscing about family vacations, birthday parties, and moments with loved ones that are no longer here. It was a reminder about just how important it is to celebrate whenever we can, for whatever reason we may find.
The truth is, there are sad and difficult things that we'll all face in this world - it's just part of the deal. I believe this is particularly true for those coping with chronic illness. Chronic illness is forever; it's there every moment of every day and, between the doctor's appointments, the medication schedules, and time spent feeling "down and out" from symptoms, life can become quite regimented. If we're not careful, it can quickly take the fun out of living. Therefore, it's up to us to infuse happiness into our lives; to find reason for celebration and never let those occasions pass us by. Birthdays? Anniversaries? Sure, but those are obvious. How about toasting to the first spring flower? Or celebrating just because it's Tuesday?
What I've come to believe (especially this past year) is that fun is crucial and, without it, we're merely existing. Fun is what memories are made of. Fun with your family, fun with your friends, fun with yourself...it's all essential. When is the last time you've added fun onto your weekly schedule? I mean actually written it, with ink and everything. I don't care if you say you LOVE working...this doesn't count. What makes you truly and deeply happy? What gives you that warm, contented feeling; the feeling that you never want that moment to end? I had one of those days recently when my best friend (Miss Palmer) and her boyfriend Justin visited New York City. Palmer had heard about a new baby zebra at the Bronx Zoo and it didn't take much arm twisting to get me there!
I've had the Bronx Zoo on my mind for a while now, but I haven't felt up to that much walking for over a year. When I was at my sickest, I remember daydreaming about what I'd enjoy once the pain was behind me. The zoo was right up there. Justin discovered a public express bus that takes you straight from Manhattan to the Zoo, so that was great. Also, the weather couldn't have been more perfect! It was warm enough to enjoy the sun on our faces, but cool enough so that the animals were still active. Our first wildlife encounter was a large hill dotted with baboons, each basking in the sunshine and snacking on grass. In front of the enclosure was a tremendous peacock - the first of many that day.
Not only did we get to see the adorable baby zebra that had prompted our adventure (with whom we fell in love), but we witnessed one of the funniest and most amazing mating rituals out there. We spotted a large male peacock who was proudly displaying his plumage and strutting back and forth (look behind us in the photo). It was clear that he had his eye on a nearby female, who quickly turned her gaze toward him. As she approached, his dance became more frenzied and elaborate. We couldn't believe our eyes, as he started running toward her and shaking his tail feathers. Who could resist this display of affection? Unfortunately, it seemed that his lady was more interested in Justin! She followed us about 50 yards before her suitor recognized defeat and lowered his feathers. A sad tale, but a truly remarkable sight to see.
This is what I'm talking about. Life is incredible when we take the time to really live it. The day was possible only because I was feeling well enough to walk nearly 4 miles! I honestly can't remember the last time that happened. Walking freely was reason enough to celebrate, but add in awesome friends, warm sunshine, and the exquisite beauty of the animals...what more could a girl ask for?
Have you celebrated lately? Have you scheduled some fun into your life? I'd love to hear all about it!