On Friday, I had the opportunity to celebrate a friends 75th birthday in one of my favorite cities, New Orleans. Each year I am invited to his birthday celebration on a Friday at Galatoires and what a wonderful event it is. To see the magic of being surrounded by family and friends as you celebrate another year of life is truly something special. This got me to thinking.

As we go through life we are presented with many opportunities to celebrate special events. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, births and the list goes on. Each and every one of these is an opportunity to be with family and friends and make memories that will last a life time and often provide us something to look back on when our loved ones or friends are gone. However, how many celebrations have we missed because we just didn’t feel like it, had competing priorities or just did not want to put the effort into going?

There have been celebrations that I have missed where I have seen pictures afterwards and asked myself why? There was really no reason for my not being there, it was just too much effort for the moment. Then I hear all the stories of what a wonderful time everyone had, the fun and craziness that went on and the memories that were made, without me there to be a part of it. Too many of these missed opportunities led me to a very different way of thinking in regards to celebrating.

Now, unless I have made previous plans with someone that I would not want to cancel on, or something unexpectedly comes up that prevents me from going, I feel it is so important to say yes to a celebration invitation. Maybe it is because I am getting older and time with family and friends is more precious than when I was in my younger years. Maybe it’s because I know that others are getting older and any moment that you can spend with them is precious and to be cherished. Maybe it’s just because I am at a good place in my own life and just enjoy celebrating more.

When we are asked to celebrate a special occasion, we are being asked for a reason. The person requesting our attendance is honoring us with an invitation and there is a reason for them wanting us to be there, even though the reason may be unknown to us. We only get one lifetime to celebrate friends, family and our own lives as well. Next time you receive a celebration invitation, evaluate it with an open heart. Take the opportunity when it presents itself and don’t be the person missing in the photographs. Celebrate and make those magical memories that you can carry with you for a lifetime.

Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles today.


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