I’ve been tempted to ask a few people the kind of question that is often dismissed as being ridiculous or unrealistic. But it’s really a simple question that goes something like this. Apart from Anniversaries, Birthdays, and days like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, do you believe that you acknowledge or celebrate the contribution of your parents, or other loved ones, sufficiently in your life? If yes, you don’t need to commemorate Mother’s Day, or any of those other occasions. If no, then those occasions are desperately needed reminders for you, and you’re probably a contributor towards the reasons for having a need to set aside a specific day to acknowledge these people in our lives.
I still maintain that living life by predetermined occasions intended to celebrate the contribution of individuals, or even just to acknowledge them is a waste of life and a lie to pacify our own inefficiencies. We can speak idealistically of acknowledging and affirming significant others, but when we wait for the occasion of a birthday or similar event to express such appreciation, then we easily fall prey to the act becoming a ritual rather than a sincere effort. Worse than this, we assume that the person will live long enough for us to acknowledge them when that occasion arrives, because acknowledging them as and when we feel inclined to do so naturally seems to be too burdensome.
I’ve previously expressed my distaste for celebrating birthdays, and similarly, I also spurn the celebration of such token occasions because it encourages the mindset of ‘take for granted now because we can always make up for it later’. Mothers, fathers, and significant others, including our children, must not be conditioned to only expect to receive affirmation or gratitude from us on specific occasions. Nor should they be conditioned to believe that it’s only expected of them to reciprocate in the same way either. Talking about the celebration of life must not just be a romantic notion or an ideal, but instead it should be something that we practice with conviction.
There’s enough tokenism in this world which feeds the cycle of insincerity that plagues almost every human interaction these days. Find a reason to celebrate the people in your life at times when they least expect it. Don’t wait for special occasions. Life is too fragile to take it for granted by assuming that tomorrow will be another day for us to do what we should have done today. But this is not about procrastination. It’s about gratitude. True gratitude is not guided by superficial occasions that celebrate milestones that are meaningless. We’ve placed so much emphasis on the occasions, that we’ve forgotten what the true celebration is about.
Occasions like these have only ever served to appease the conscience of those that fail to celebrate the significant others in their lives the rest of the year. This becomes ever more evident when our parents grow old, which usually coincides with the prime of our lives, at which point the sick mindset sets in that suggests that they had their turn, so now it’s ours, and they should be able to understand that.
The lethargy of society in giving back is a constant source of disillusionment. We’ve taken consumerism and made it an inherent part of our personal relationships as well. I pray that it changes. More than this, I pray that the majority of people that read this post will disagree with me about showing affection, appreciation, or affirmation to their loved ones on predetermined occasions only.