On day 128 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I remembered a dear friend who passed away four years ago by toasting to his memory.
He was much too young.
His beautiful spirit, inappropriate sense of humor, and general zest for life was contagious, and it’s still hard to believe that he’s gone. But our memories are among the few things that we don’t have to let go of. We can keep them with us, reviving them to life as they surface in our minds.
While the anniversary dates of our losses often bring these memories into clearer focus, it’s amazing how they surface randomly, often when we least expect it. People, places, events — and even music — have a way of leading us back to earlier times. Our thoughts can reduce us to tears, and they can just as easily cause us to burst into a fit of laughter. It’s amazing how a mere thought can drive our emotions with such force.
We raised our glasses in our friend’s memory, and as we toasted we expressed gratitude for life — both for the precious moments we spent with our dear friend, and for each of the moments we’ve been given on this earth ourselves.
To me, celebrating the gift of life is a form of self-care. When we choose to remember the good things, savoring the special moments we share with others, we’re deliberately supporting our well-being. And when we express our emotions in a healthy way, we benefit from the experience itself.
Toasting typically involves a celebration of our most significant life events. In America, we say Cheers! when we toast, but every language has a similar variation:
Spain: ¡Salud! (health)
France: Santé (health)
Ireland: Sláinte (health)
Germany: Prost (may it be good)
Turkey: Şerefe (to honor)
In a way, a toast is simply an expression of gratitude for the good things that come with living. The ceremonial practice of toasting allows us to give thanks for the blessings in our lives, and for those we share the moments with.
What have you toasted to recently?