A friend recently texted our group chat and asked, “what are you all doing to celebrate the major and minor accomplishments in your life?” I was so happy to have this time for reflection after such a turbulent and exhausting year and change. Her question prompted me to think about all of the ways I could and should celebrate life.
The past 14 months we have all lived through a global pandemic. So many of us have lost friends and family, or know people who have. Some of us have seen the images on the news of people in other regions and parts of the world grappling with extreme loss and grief. Many of us have been living through and trying to process the trauma of seeing Black people abused and killed at the hands of police and the grieving families and communities they left behind. And others have tried to balance home life and work while dealing with great economic challenges and stress related health issues.
So, what are we doing to celebrate just being alive and living to make it through another day? I for one have been writing friends letters and cards so they know just how much I appreciate them in my lives. Now that I am vaccinated, I have also gotten massages to help decrease some of the stress I have held inside as I watch the news. I have also decided to get a manicure and pedicure. Having some time to just sit and do nothing has been a gift to myself I didn’t realize I needed.
Some friends of mine have been making art and others have been purchasing art. I started following Polly Irungu on social media and the amazingly talented Black female photographers she has brought together. I have purchased a few prints from www.blackwomenphotographers.com. I have been able to support Black female artists as well as beautify my home at the same time. Other friends have been making vision boards to visually illustrate their accomplishments as well as their aspirations for the year.
I have also been purchasing novels in anticipation for my summer reading. There are so many new novelists I discovered on www.bookshop.org, a website that helps me support local bookstores while shopping online. And for folks who are not interested in bringing more books into their homes, the public libraries have been opening and making it incredibly easy for folks to check out books in a COVID safe environment.
Whatever you choose, it is imperative we find time to celebrate being alive and making it through each day. Whether you want to spend time creating and/or doing something for yourself or you want to spend time celebrating with others, it is so important we make the time to do so.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC and also the What’s in It for Us podcast.