Friday, May 23, 2014

Week twenty-one – don’t just buy me flowers!

If you walk into a room with a bunch of flowers and the person says “why did you buy me flowers, it’s not my birthday!” then you know this blog is for you!

My children call me Scrooge, some say I’m so un-romantic, and you could even call me weird, but I’m one of those people that don’t like to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and any other type of celebration days we all have in our cultures (you know the ones I mean… Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Mother’s day, etc.) And I don’t like them because of a simple believe… we should celebrate every day!

I didn’t always believe this and like many, when I was young I spent a fair bit of money and time celebrating those once-a-year occasions. You name it and I took part; birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, until one day I realize there was no real meaning to these days. I guess it became clear to me when I left Mexico at the age of 18 and I no longer had to celebrate or spend my money on any of these “special” days any more; why? Because I was so far away that no one, at least I thought, cared if I celebrated with him or her. But being so far away did remind me of how important it was not to just celebrate with people once a year, but all of the time. My wife will tell you, I don’t take her out for Valentine’s Day, not because I don’t love her but because everyone knows what a rip off it is to celebrate on that day! Not only that, I find it incredible that people wait all 364 days to buy flowers to someone! And of course, they are so expensive, they are mass-produced to meet the demand and they will last only two days. Some people will even go to the extent of buy expensive gifts, which again, you have to spend ridiculous money just to say once a year “I love you”

I was triggered to write this week’s blog on this subject for two reasons. First of all this week in my company we celebrate our employees. We do it every year and it has been a tradition since our company began. The idea, which I think it’s great, is to thank our people for all their hard work and commitment through out the year; this is their week! I have always taken part in these celebrations and have seen some amazing ways to thank employees that week. This is all very well and commendable but what I find extraordinary is that we should not just thank our employees once a year, but every day. This is a bit like the Valentine’s Day, why do we wait the whole year to be reminded to thank someone? Why do we have to wait to be told to celebrate someone or something special? I’m sure you all agreed that thanking someone every day (and meaning it) has more impact than thanking someone once a year with a special celebration and gifts? I am sure those around us would appreciate more a kind world or a loving gesture every day rather than the once-a-year show we put to express our gratitude and love. I’m all for a bit of celebration and recognition, but it has to be part of an on going demonstration of affection and gratitude for someone throughout the year and not just once on a blue moon!

The second reason for writing on this subject was actually triggered by last week’s blog and something that happened to a friend of mine. If you read my blog last week I talked about how #realmenrespectwomen and the fact that they are instrumental to us as human beings (I believe those men who have little respect for women don’t realize they are alive because a woman brought them into this world!) Talking to a friend about this subject she shared a personal experience that happened to her and I was amazed at what she was telling me! She had an incident some time ago for which she needed help and support and naturally she asked her husband, as you would expect. He is a highly paid, high profile executive and told her to get on with it and sort it out, apparently he was “too busy” at that moment to support her in a moment of great need. This is a man who in Valentine’s Day will buy her those flowers, and those expensive gifts. This is a man who on her birthday will spend a fortune buying an expensive gift and taking her out for dinner. This is a man who at some special occasions, when prompted by publicity and popular traditions (and one would say peer pressure!), will take her out for dinner, buy her flowers and pamper her like a Queen. This is a man, who in my opinion, only celebrates when he is reminded of how lucky he is to have someone special in his life, someone who supports him and makes him complete. As she shared this with me I remembered why I don’t just celebrate once a year, but ensure that I give all I can to people every day we are together.

The secrete is not to become Scrooge or go to the extreme and never buy someone a gift or flowers, but to remember that every day is a celebration, that every day is a chance for us to say a kind word, a thank you, to give someone a smile and a “well done” for what they did. Every day that goes by is a chance to make it right, to make it better and to celebrate what we have, then when we come to special occasions such as the day you were born, your wedding day, an anniversary or just simply a highly commercialized national day (Yes, I’m very cynical when it comes to these “special” days!) you can give flowers or a gift, share a kind word or a kiss, shake hands with someone a say thank you, they will know you are not just doing this for that day, but part of every day life.

We should live today like is the last day of our lives, and celebrate all of those “special” occasions today. Why wait for our birthday to remind us, in the words of Elton John “how wonderful life is when you’re in the world” remember yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, that’s why is called the present! Give people a present ever day! My blog is my gift to you all today, thank you, like every week, for taking the time to read it and support me.

“I write because someone out there reads”

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