“Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do”- Pharrell Williams
I get it. What is there to celebrate in the world these days?
With a looming recession; ballooning inflation; Hijab protests erupting around the world after the murder of Mahsa Amini; Putin calling a sham referendum and illegally annexing more territories in Ukraine followed by a new set of drone attacks on civilians, riots killing hundreds at a football game in Indonesia; storms Fiona, Ian and countless others tearing communities and lives apart; and my own prognosis of more surgery and health complications due to further deterioration of my right foot’s bones and possibly having to completely rebuild my digestive biome after cancer.
The world looks pretty grim.
But I can’t help but celebrate. Celebrate still being alive. Celebrate that I’m finally done with the Bermuda challenges. Celebrate the discovery of a New York artist I admire and whose work called “Celebration” is now hanging on my living room wall. Celebrate the recent 98th birthday of Jimmy Carter, the oldest living President of the United States (who likely is still alive because he happens to be doing exactly what he and his wife Rosalind love — saving lives and advancing global peace).
I’m also celebrating the strength and determination of Ukrainians to hold their ground and reclaim their territory with the recent wins in Lyman and elsewhere.
But mostly, I’m celebrating because every day we have is a gift even if it feels like the opposite.
So, from my point of view, there’s a lot to celebrate, if you make the time and effort to look around you and find those things. And I’ve certainly spent my life trying. Especially over the last 9–10 years or so since Pharell first released this song, because things have become increasingly more challenging in the world and my own body.
But how? How do you make that time? How do you choose that point of view? What does it take to choose happiness on dark days when pulling the covers back over your head seems like a more natural, appropriate and even enticing response?
The honest truth is that it’s agonizingly hard. it takes a lot of personal will, mental strength and hard work, like building or rebuilding muscle memory after a long time or maybe even lifetime of doing the reverse.
But it also takes something more important: called self-awareness, and self-knowledge of what habits like pulling the covers over your head lead to for you if you succumb to the enticement of withdrawing into yourself rather than outwardly celebrating the challenges of living ahead.
Ukrainians didn’t go back to bed when Russia attacked, neither did Russians when they opposed the mandated conscriptions, or the hijab wielding women when the so-called “Morality Police” doubled down on attacks and death threats. Because they KNOW what will happen if they don’t.
So, as you move forward with your day, week and life today, I’d encourage to ask yourself, what will it take for you to see and embody the celebration in the challenges you face in the world today and every day?
Holly Lynch is a 20+ year ESG and DEI communications veteran, board member, strategist and investor who has helped individuals and companies tackle the toughest challenges, transitions and transformations in their worlds. Having survived countless life setbacks and two rounds with terminal cancer, while seeing the country-wide collapse of the systems and safety nets for the most vulnerable in and outside our communities, she is now shifting her life and career trajectories to focus on coaching and consulting with those facing down fundamental shifts and transitions as they try to adapt to change while rebuilding their lives and businesses during these unprecedented times.