Ever wonder who makes up the national whatever day “holidays” we find on the calendar every day? And who in charge decided that is what that specific day will be celebrated for? National Donut Day. National Cat Lovers Day. National Eat Ice Cream Day.
Ever wonder why you can’t make up your own personal holiday, like National Eat Chocolate for Every Meal Day? or National Wait on Me Hand and Foot Day? (These may or may not already exits, I’m just pulling ideas out of my a**- I mean, head 😉 ). Then today is your lucky day friends! Guess what? YOU CAN!!
There’s no law stating you can’t make up your own personal holiday to celebrate whenever you want. In fact, I did just this myself almost 20 years ago and it is so awesome! Wanna hear about it? Yes? Yay! I’ll tell you!
My holiday falls on June 8 every year, and it’s called Life is Too Short Day. How and why did this amazing day come about? Glad you asked! The story’s a little long, but good (in my humble opinion 😉 ).
In the fall of 2000, I was stopped at a red light and someone driving a van slammed into me at the red light I was stopped at. I had a two-door Toyota RAV4 at the time ( my first “new” used car, how I loved that thing!). The impact spun me around completely sideways from the direction I started in after I hit the car stopped in front of me. I blew a disk in my neck and ended up with two bulging disks in my back.
To say life changed in an instant is an understatement of epic proportions. I went from an active healthy 20 something to being in massive, constant pain and unable to function. One arm was useless – it was, of course, the hand I write with – and work and sleep were impossible. Six months later, after trying everything traditional and non-traditional without success, I made the terrifying decision to have my spine fused. The hope was I’d get some pain relief and maybe some hand function back, but no one was overly hopeful for a full recovery.
I woke up from that surgery and for the first time in months, I didn’t have a screaming headache or excruciating arm pain (or at least once the Morphine was discontinued as I was sick from that). No neck or jaw or shoulder spasms. The bone graft site in my hip was the only pain I felt. No one was more shocked than my surgeon, who could only hope for the best possible outcome to make life bearable again. I became a story of hope they shared in that office for years.
That date was June 8. As the months went by I continued to be so grateful for restful sleep, and a functional arm and a relatively pain-free existence again. Walking up and down the stairs just because I could kept me out of elevators. I loved painting my toenails after months of not even being able to see them while in my neck brace, nevermind touch them. My surgeon called my recovery miraculous and couldn’t believe I had no long term nerve damage. As I continued to embrace gratitude for this, others kept telling me I’d eventually forget to be grateful and take things for granted again.
I was determined that wasn’t going to happen. And thus, on June 8, the anniversary of the day I got my life back, Life is Too Short Day was born. Every year I send my friends an email telling them what I’ve learned over the year and what I’m grateful for. And the best part – the rules for the day! I make a list of rules for the day to help everyone celebrate with me somehow. Sometimes serious, sometimes funny. Always heartfelt.
For example, the first two rules are always the same:
- Margaritas are mandatory, even if they are only mental margaritas. (One guess as to my favorite drink! Anyone? Bueller??).
- Eat dessert first. Because if you die before dinner you die happy. There is NO RULE that you have to eat dinner first. Trust me on this one!
I’ve even modified the dessert rule through the year to include eat cake for breakfast on your birthday. No one is going to wish they skipped the cake if they don’t make it to dinner! My kids love this tradition and start planning their breakfast cake weeks in advance. Their friends have even tried to get sleepovers at our house the night before someone’s birthday so they could have cake for breakfast too!
On the fifth anniversary of LITSD, Cheryl, her daughter and I took a life-changing trip to Maui that culminated in watching the sunrise over Haleakala crater on the morning of June 8 and having margaritas on the beach at sunset. It was my favorite LITSD ever, partly because the whole week embodied the spirit of the day itself.
Gratitude is a big theme I cultivate in my life, as is living for now because life really is too short to not enjoy your days in all the little ways you can. It’s one of the things I know Cheryl loved about me, and it’s one of my favorite things about myself. It’s something I try to instill in my kids, in whatever ways I can. Especially in these pandemic days, gratitude can trump fear, and life should still be enjoyed and celebrated in all the little ways you can.
So that’s how Life is Too Short Day came to be! What would your personal holiday be and how would you celebrate it? What a GREAT QUESTION to ask people you care about! (Whether or not you use our templates 😉 ). I can’t wait to hear what you come up with!