Les Bons Temps All Year Long


For the past week (at least) in New Orleans, it’s been the ultimate ‘Nawlins holiday season: Mardi Gras. We’ve been eating a lot, drinking a lot, and screaming and smiling and enjoying life a lot, and there are beads and beer cans littering the sidewalks to prove it. But today is the culminating day of the season, just like Christmas day in the winter holiday season. It is the peak, the apex, the burst of the firework. We have been chugging along until this moment. We will party hard and whoop and holler 'til our throats get sore (about 30 minutes, or 1/8 of a parade, if you're me.)

And then… back to normal. 

Just like that, after a season of indulgence and happiness and pleasure, we will revert back to our “non-holiday” lives where we wait for the next holiday in order to feel like it’s okay to indulge and partake in life’s greatest pleasure’s again. Why do we live like this? From holiday to holiday? Why do we wait to celebrate until a calendar gives us a reason?

In her book, Eat Pray Love, author Elizabeth Gilbert writes about this mentality of reserving celebrations for holidays saying Americans will often ask themselves this question, “Do I really deserve this pleasure?” and she continues to say that, “This is American...the insecurity about whether we have earned our happiness.”    

Gilbert goes on to describe just how deep this mentality goes with us Americans:

“Planet Advertising in America orbits completely around the need to convince the uncertain consumer that yes, you have actually warranted a special treat. This Bud's for You! You Deserve a Break Today! Because You're Worth It! You've Come a Long Way, Baby! And the insecure consumer thinks, Yeah! Thanks! I AM gonna go buy a six-pack, damn it! Maybe even two six-packs!”

I read this now and think how sadly true it is for me. Monday through Friday, I am in work mode, a generally non-celebratory mindset, because I don’t have anything deserving celebration. Bigger than this, I keep this mindset between each holiday season. I think we all do. Unless there is a reason to celebrate, a calendar giving us permission, we usually don’t.

How sad.

As Mardi Gras comes to a close and one holiday season slips away, I hope you remember that we needn’t do a single thing in order to deserve happiness and pleasure in life. We are free to indulge daily in the things that bring us the most joy. There doesn’t need to be a parade for you to throw a block party and let strangers onto your porch. It is the wonderful thing about life, that it is always ready to be lived, at any moment of any day. 

Don’t sink into the “post holiday” slump. Don’t live a Monday to Friday lifestyle. Every day can be any day you choose. 

You just have to choose.