When you go to Disneyland, you can ask for a big button to wear all day. It will say “It’s My Birthday!” or “Let’s Celebrate!”  And you can fill in your name underneath or write what you are celebrating: “Anniversary” or “Graduation”. Then everyone who works at Disneyland will see your button and comment and welcome you.

“Happy Birthday, Princess!”

“Happy Anniversary!”

We live near Disneyland and go often.  The other day my little girls and I were walking through the huge plaza full of people as another woman walking towards us caught my eye.  She wore a “Let’s Celebrate” pin, crew-neck t-shirt, big white sneakers and high-waisted shorts;  Typical, comfy, I’m on vacation from rural (fill in a state) attire.  I always think about the people at Disneyland as they walk past us. Is this their first time?  Are they spending 3 years’ savings to make these memories with their families at Disneyland?  What’s her story?

Then, as this particular woman moved nearer to us, I looked closely at her button and saw that it said “Let’s Celebrate… LIFE.” Instantly, all the details I had subconsciously noticed about her came into focus:  Comfy clothes. Thin, short, newly-grown-in gray hair. Pale and slightly puffy face…  New cancer survivor. Laughing with her friends. Walking through the Disneyland plaza. Celebrating LIFE.  Smiling at me as she passed.  She’s on a LIFE.

 

Life.  I want to be on a LIFE. Let’s celebrate… LIFE.

“Happy LIFE, Princess!”

 

So, step one of going on a LIFE – what that woman in big, white sneakers and high-waisted shorts wore all over her gorgeous face: Gratitude. For Everything. For Life Itself.

(pause.)

Gratitude.  It only happens in this exact moment.

 

What makes a LIFE? How does a person permanently change, ditch the Die ette, find gratitude, or even choose a new path without using fear, peer pressure, strict rules, pre-made meals, a personal trainer and a nanny?  How do we combine all the things we currently want into one nice life where everything fits and we’re happy about it?

LIFE is in our habits. In the moment-to-moment choices. This is who we are. Whether it’s what we eat, watch, say, do… We ARE our little decisions. It’s so hard to celebrate life when our little choices keep veering off course.  It’s so hard to feel really alive when my little choices – my little steps – keep taking me further away from the life I want. Do you ever feel that way?  You want something so much and yet you continue to take little, tiny steps away?

This is why DIE-ettes don’t help. They are temporary black & white fixes to life-long, complex issues and goals.

I am done pushing and striving to follow a short-term, fix-me-quick die-ette. Spending so much time researching, trying, failing, being on day 3 for the 100th time, judging results … I am looking down and forgetting to look up with gratitude.   Gratitude that I am alive.

Now, I am done with DIE-ettes BUT the issue is still here. I am still not living Life to the fullest, healthiest, most vibrant standards and I know it because I feel conflicted. I want things that contradict each other.  I want pizza and a flat tummy. I want a deep connection to God and to watch The Bachelor.

This year I am going to get deep down in this messy little spirit and body of mine and try to get to the HEART of why I choose little DIE-ettes instead of LIFE.  I am going to stop surviving and start living.

Will you join me?  Whether you read this today or a year from when I’ve written these words, I am throwing out a strand your way.  Grab hold. Let’s go on a LIFE.