I’m a fan of punctuation, in all its forms.
I find it easier to understand and enjoy reading if the punctuation is there to remind me when to pause; when to stop and breathe.
It’s the same with life. I like my life to be punctuated with events honouring the moments when things go right. I live for the times that allow me to stop and mark life’s milestones. Celebrations chop up the passing weeks and months. Without them, it’s all a bit hum drum, isn’t it?
Some people are happy for their days to be uninterrupted by these observances, but I expect those are the same people who could write a whole article without needing to put extra thoughts in brackets. That’s just not me.
I recently saw a tweet from an author whose book was published in the middle of lockdown. She said she wanted to mark the launch of her book, which had taken a year of her life to write, but felt bad about celebrating when there is so much pain in the world right now.
There is more suffering, uncertainty and fear at this current time and, to me, this is even more of a reason to grab the positives by the horns and ride them hard (too much?)
I suggested the author put on a ballgown, opened something fizzy and hold a lockdown party for everyone she lived with, plus anyone else who wanted to join in on the internet. She’d worked hard and hit a significant moment of success. Surely that’s worth commemorating?
Writing is a long and lonely process. It takes months, sometimes years, to get every semi-colon right (have you tried to correctly punctuate speech? That’s big-brain stuff, right there), so as far as I’m concerned, the final full stop before you write The End, merits a shower of glitter falling from the ceiling at the very least.
Life is hard. Every additional year we’ve survived its knocks we should approach our birthdays with awe and wonder, fist pumping as we plan how to honour our magnificent achievement.
Many of my friends have endured lockdown fiftieths and their resilience and cheer in the face of cancelled plans is laudable. There’s been impressive ingenuity on behalf of friends and family to ensure those birthdays have been appropriately marked. Some of the videos, so lovingly and thoughtfully created, will probably mean more to the recipient than all the Jo Malone candles they would have received in the pre-Covid world.
Despite this, I still aim to celebrate each and every one of those birthdays with double the vigour when we’re allowed out and about safely. I’m not precious about celebrations; I’ll join in anyone’s. I’m nice like that.
When times are tough it’s sometimes hard to see others getting a break, but I truly believe that the majority of people want others to succeed, and if they don’t, they should, because celebrating is fun and it makes our lives better.
I’m not suggesting everyone has to don a tiara and crack a magnum of champagne on the bow of a yacht every time a good thing happens. Small things, like retweeting someone’s good news, or ringing your mum or a friend to share something lovely counts as life-punctuation.
Not everything needs an exclamation mark. Sometimes the humble comma, to pause and think, that makes me feel good, is enough to stamp a positive mark on a day.
That said, if you do want to party when all of this is over, stick me on the guest list. I’ll be there with bells on.