Life is hard, celebrate.

Photo by Alex Couey. To view more wedding photos click here. 

My uncle used to say “Life is Good” as his mantra. When troubles came- life is good. When good times passed-life is good. Always, a full-hearted, life is good.

My uncle also died 10 years ago in a car accident on his way to visit his dying mother. He was 52. Life was not good for his friends and family for a very long time after that.

During that time, and during all the challenging times after, I wanted to cling to his words. I wrote them on birthday cards, I shared them in toasts, I stopped and stared in a state of awe when I saw an entire store at the airport dedicated to the phrase “life is good.” I bought a keychain and wrapped my hand and my heart around it.

I wanted to borrow his mantra because I thought it was beautiful, full of hope, and exactly who I wanted to be.

But life didn’t feel good. At least not all of the time. There were many moments when it did feel good, even close to perfect. There were others where it felt like so much more.

Life is complicated: in the fitful relationships and incessant feelings.

Life is funny: in the aged rituals and the spontaneous genius.

Life is frustrating: in the daily boulders and the overarching climb.

Life is rewarding: in the small smiles and giant leaps.

Mostly, what rang true to me through it all, (my mantra if you will) is that life is hard. 

All the time life is hard. In the beauty and the pain. In the good moments and the devastating ones. It is out of this difficulty that the best celebrations can occur.

Dating is hard, so we celebrate life unions. Kids are hard, so we celebrate births. Aging is hard, so we celebrate birthdays. Death is hard, so we celebrate life.

Life is hard. Celebrate.

It isn’t something to be ashamed of. It isn’t something to face alone. Life is hard, and that means it should be celebrated. All of it.

After my uncle died, life did eventually start to feel good again. It crept in when nobody was watching and hid in the crevices of our smiles. Now, life wasn’t only good but the goodness had a new meaning.

I hope that when I am someday gone, my loved ones will think of me not just when they feel like rejoicing, but when they feel their worst. In the thick, underbrush of life there is beauty. Even when we are stuck and can’t see it. Because eventually we will get to a clearing, and we can celebrate how far we’ve come.

Until you get to that spot, just watch this video on repeat. That’s what I do.

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