Forget special occasions: Celebrate today

In my refrigerator is a bottle of ice wine. Purchased back in 2002 on a trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake it has traveled between two apartments. I’m a little nervous about the quality of the wine after the years, transportation and occasional temperature changes. But mostly, when I notice the bottle lying on its side, I find myself letting out a big, wistful sigh. Because I’ve saving the bottle for a “special occasion,” for a celebration, for something important, for the right moment.

And what has the waiting done for me? It’s kept a bottle of really good ice wine sitting in my refrigerator amid my vanilla-flavored soy milk cartons and maple syrup bottles. It’s made me wish for the right circumstances and the right company to justify busting out a fun evening or relaxing summer afternoon. I’ve come up with a million justifications as to why I have not opened up the bottle. I wanted to, but …

There are good points to the ethic of delayed gratification, but sometimes I find myself taking it too far. I put limits on when I can celebrate. Sure, I’ll celebrate my first marathon …. but maybe I’ll wait to do something really special after I do an Ironman. Oh, I did an Ironman? Maybe I’ll be worthy of a big celebration when I run a better time. Maybe I’ll wait to open that ice wine when I’ve lost a little more weight, have run a 5K a little faster and have all the people I care about most in one place on the most perfect weather day, with no races in the immediate future and no long training session the next day.

Yep, if I wait for the “perfect” conditions, I will never open that bottle of ice wine. Because the perfect time to celebrate is whenever it feels right to me.

Today’s meditation from Melody Beattie discusses rewarding ourselves:

Our souls can become tired, very wear, of striving to grow, to do things well, to do our best at life, love and work if there is no reward. Our passion can wane if good is never good enough, and if the rewards and pleasure are always, always at bay — somewhere out in the distant future.

Indeed, much like rest and recovery makes me a stronger athlete, rewarding myself makes me a stronger, happier, more joyful person. The rewards needn’t be expensive or grande. They can be simple, but done with an attitude of reward, of celebration of not just what I’ve done but of who I am.

In the simplest way, tomorrow morning I’ll get out my good china, set an elegant table and have a magnificent and healthy breakfast. It will be leisurely and simple, but it will be my reward for a job well done during an extraordinarily busy week. No one needs to know I’m rewarding myself. I can do my happy dance all by myself, celebrating the fact that I’m pretty awesome just for being true to who I am. The celebration of the extraordinary can be a daily occurrence.

As for that bottle of ice wine? I’m pretty confident it won’t make it until 2012. There’s too much good to celebrate in 2011 and too many wonderful people to share it with.

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