There’s an envelope in my bedroom with a gift certificate to a local day spa. It sits on a table, semi obscured by unfolded laundry and skittery mounds of mismatched books, waiting. Dust films its creamy beige exterior.
When my husband bought it for me last Feburary, I thought I’d use it right away. Instead, I kept it, wanting to accord it even more value than the glorious realization that he’d finally gifted me with a true indulgence (this, after 14 years of hiking boots for Valentine’s Day and bags of flour when I complained that he never bought me flowers. Yeah, he’s a real joker . . . ).
This week, I’m going to call that spa and make an appointment.
I’m going to drink a shot or two from that bottle of O’ban in the cabinet.
I’m going to buy a dark chocolate bar — one of those 70%ers — to nibble along with it.
You see, I want to celebrate. I’ve now written well past page 200 in the draft of the first book in my new series. And, Friday, I handed in the final page proofs for THE SOCORRO BLAST. After two years, that book is out of my hair and on its way to publication. The next time I’ll see it is when it’s in ARC form. A couple months after that, it’ll be in hardcover. Hallelujah!
There’s even better news. Whatever stasis seemed to be gripping my life has begun to recede. The Muse and I have been hanging out, lifting weights at the gym, going for Vietnamese food at the little restaurant near my house. I’m feeling happy, like I’m accomplishing things again.
I’m ready to play.
Marking victories, small and big, is tremendously important in a life. The mere act of stopping to say, "Yes. I did this!" keeps things in perspective and grants a different experience of the day-in, day-out frenzy of existence. Taking the time to pat our successes on the back keeps the demons at bay.
Along with this active pausing, sometime in my late 30s, I began to practice gratitude and joy. These two emotions take work; they weren’t found in abundance in my childhood home. So, I started looking for minor blessings and tiny beauties.
Just the simple acknowledgment, every day, that my life is damn good . . . makes it even better.
So my question is:
How do you reward yourself for goals met, for kindnesses extended, for stretching yourself into a better person?