|January 09 2012 | written by: admin|
As we enter 2012 and start making plans for the year ahead, Wendy Hunsaker flags the importance of taking time to celebrate those milestones . . .
Imagine that after 99 years on earth, you have just entered heaven. You’re walking on streets paved with gold and past jewelled walls. There’s a familiar dewy glow, just like in the movies. (We’re pretending here, so stay with me.)
Suddenly, a majestic angelic being floats down in front of you and hands you a present. It’s a . . . what? A Greatest Hits DVD? (Haven’t found a Bible verse yet to support this, it’s just an illustration.)
Then, a giant movie screen begins to play your warmest, most cherished memories. The very best of sweet sentiment and rip-roaring fun are included. A huge smile spreads across your face. It’s your life’s greatest hits!
THIS is YOUR life
What about accomplishments, growth in your spiritual walk and graduations? Is there a marriage celebration? Births? Holiday festivities? Who else is there? How are you marking the milestones in your life?
When does it end? After 99 years on earth, does your Greatest Hits DVD play for 9 days or only 9 minutes?
Celebrations are important
Everyone loves a good party, so why is making time to celebrate so hard? Our 24-hour day is packed with full-time employment, taking care of families, fixing meals, chauffeuring children, cleaning the house, maintaining marriages, church commitments and a never-ending ‘To-Do’ list.
If there is time to socialise, technology is changing the way we interact. Friends who used to pop in unannounced now just message by text, Facebook or email. The hottest business trend is outsourcing, so now your workmates could be half way around the globe. Technology is fracturing our time and our relationships.
Plus, there is increasing isolation in Western societies. Robert D Putnam, political-science professor at Harvard University, addresses the growing trend toward over commitment and isolation in his book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community*. He interviewed nearly 500,000 people over the past 25 years and concluded that we are increasingly distancing ourselves from each other.
Extended families often live in different cities, states or countries. Neighbours no long drop in to borrow a shovel, a book or enjoy a cup of coffee. We socialise less and belong to fewer community and service organisations who actually meet. Only mailing-list membership has continued to expand. The same number of people are bowling now as in the past (hence the title of Putnam’s book), although more of them are doing it alone.
We can’t reverse the broad trends of a fast paced, technologically isolated society, we can only manage ourselves in the healthiest possible way.
Time for togetherness
When a milestone in life comes along, do we want our children to ask, “What do I get?” or “Who can I share this with?” Presents aren’t bad; just include people with the presents. Feed life’s important relationships with time.
Party with a purpose
As this year begins look ahead on the calendar. What’s approaching? Let your creative juices begin to simmer. Make it special. If you have children, be conscious that you are creating their childhood memories.
Party! Hospitality feeds relationships that get starved in the commotion of life. While you are making a living, accomplishing goals and crossing things off your ‘To Do’ list, remember to make room for hospitality. Put people and parties back into your life. Let’s hope there’s never a cyber-space substitute for good friends, sitting around the table, sharing a meal.