Shanghai Fireworks

While I was working in China, at the start of 2013, I awoke one Saturday morning to the sounds of fireworks going off right outside my window.  In my half-asleep state I probably thought the sounds were gunshots and I raced to my window to open the curtains.  Looking out of my room, down the 11 stories to ground floor, I saw a group of people setting off their own fireworks.

The colourful blasts were erupting mere metres from the side of the building, right in the middle of a dense square of hotels.  I was flabbergasted.  Here it was, 10h00 on a Saturday morning and people were setting off fireworks right next to the building!  This continued for 20 minutes and with each passing second, I was more and more confused.  It wasn't New Years, it wasn't a special Chinese holiday and for the life of me I couldn't work out why this was the time and place for fireworks?

Later that day, I asked my language tutor in my broken Mandarin - "Why?".  I explained what I had seen and she laughed as she saw the confusion on my face.  She then explained to me that when a Chinese family moves into a new house/building they take some time off to celebrate the event.  Traditionally this is done as soon as the family arrives and includes a small fireworks display as well as a big meal hosted by the family.

While back home, I think that all we would be worried about would be boxes, unpacking, furniture moving and all the chaos that goes with moving house - here all the close family and friends were invited to pause and enjoy the moment together.

This got me thinking...

How often do we take time off to actually stop and reflect?  To celebrate our successes, no matter how small!

It's very easy to keep running forward, progressing from goal to goal, house to house if you will, without taking pride in the achievements and accomplishments that we should be cherishing.  We fail often and spend hour after hour replaying those failures in our mind, so why don't we take the time to appreciate the good things?  We need to give ourselves more credit.

Pause, reflect and pat yourself on the back every once in a while.  No matter how small the success!

Set off some fireworks even!!