A few days after my Grandma passed away, my Mum handed me over a book she found in her room.
It was a book I had given my Grandma a few years ago that asked her questions about her life. A way for her to tell her stories in her own words. At the time I gave it to her, I wasn’t even sure if she would fill it out.
But I opened up the book, and there it was. Her handwriting. Secrets of her heart spilt out onto each page.
Such contradictory feelings they are - pain and relief. I felt like I was floating on the ocean knowing she was still with me somehow, but drowning at the same time because physically, she wasn’t.
The bittersweet thing about it all is that her answers were probably destined for me to read at that very moment after she passed away. Yet I don’t have the opportunity to thank her for it.
I flipped the pages to one of the last questions. It said ‘What are your highest hopes for your Grandchildren’
She wrote - ‘Happiness. To be content with what they achieve’
My Grandma was my biggest cheerleader. I remember entering Fashion's on the Field last year and my photo made it into the paper. Even though she was in the hospital, she ripped out the page and told ever damn nurse that walked into her room how awesome I was.
Then there was that time I wrote a letter to the editor of Madison when the magazine was closing. My letter got published. To me, it wasn't like I got my big writing break, but to her, she thought it was remarkable.
I went home that day and sat with the book in my lap, questioning why I felt so sad.
Then there it was. Something I struggled so deeply with for a long time.
I can't remember that last time I truly celebrated myself.
Is it the unrealistic expectation that we can always do better? That even our small acheivements aren't worth celebrating? It's not that big of a deal? Do we not deserve it?
Since university, I haven’t truly been content with a lot of my achievements. Hello the life of a 20-something.
And if I was content, it was usually because someone else celebrated my achievement for me.
I know if I called my Grandma today and told her I caught up with a friend for breakfast, wrote two blog posts, finished a freelance post, met with a client, went to yoga and made dinner - she would be elated. She would think I’m killing it.
So why can’t I do the same?
Expectation. Future tripping. Greediness. Chasing Bullshit.
In this messy world, it’s too easy to get caught up in it. Does not good enough sound familiar to you?
But that's exactly what's so fucked up. We think we have to accumulate big wins to celebrate our life. Like a dream job, a house, a husband or a big paycheck.
But what about our daily triumphs, the ones that refuel our enthusiasm for life itself?
If what you are doing each day inspires you and you truly enjoy it - you should be damn proud of yourself.
If you are a writer who influences people with your words, you are a legend.
If you are a Mum who encourages her children every day, you are extraordinary.
If you are a volunteer for a good cause, you are magnificent.
If you are self-employed in uncharted waters, you are courageous.
If you hustle in corporate and love it, you are awesome.
If you have travelled halfway across the world and do whatever work you can, you are brave.
If you wrote a few emails today, you are smashing it.
If you got through the day after little sleep and a lot of nursing, you are admirable.
If you went outside and did some exercise, you are productive.
If you paid someone a compliment, you are kind.
If you went to the beach and read a self-help book, you are magnificent.
If you cooked a nice meal, you are impressive.
If you ticked something off your to-do list, you are fabulous.
If you caught up with a friend, you are generous.
And if you're not going to take my advice, take it from a woman who lived a long and damn happy life herself.