Growing up, my mom used to always say, “You should never be bored because you should always have a party inside yourself.”
It always used to make me laugh. Well, maybe not always. There were perhaps a couple of days in my teenage years when I internally rolled my eyes at this saying. But what she was saying always rang true for me, as it still does today. My mom meant that we should teach ourselves to always find joy, always find curiosity, always find a reason to celebrate or engage, and then there is no way we could ever be bored in this wild world. When we are always interested in better getting to know ourselves and the world around us, almost any situation can feel like a party. We have this ability within ourselves to make a place or a circumstance brighter, full of warmth, saturated with laughter.
When I think about this expression of having a party inside yourself, I always think about my Uncle Karla. He was the true embodiment of an internal party, and everyone around him always received an invitation to join. Uncle Karla hugged EVERYBODY. He had this way of warmth that he could bring with him. You could feel it when he walked into a room. Like that smell of fresh baked cookies or something, but a person. His eyes were always smiling. Even in very serious moments, he had a glow of joy around him. He knew what it meant to have a party inside yourself more than maybe anyone else. One of my favorite memories of Uncle Karla was during my sister’s bachelorette party. He wanted to take the girls out to celebrate, and by the end of the night, everyone at the club was literally chanting "Uncle Ji". Can you imagine a white-bearded, turbaned man at a dance club, with strangers chanting his name?
I’ve been thinking about Uncle Karla a lot lately, and I’ve been returning to this expression my mom used to say to me as a kid. It’s helped me realize that so many of the people I have grown to respect most in this world have some variation of this gift. They know how to throw an internal party. Whenever they’ve left a place, they’ve made it better. Warmer, more joyful. They have a special way of being present and exuding joy. This is something I aspire to do as well.
I’ve learned that when I’m at my best, or whenever any person is at their best, one of the things we take on as our responsibility is to make places better when we leave them.
As we go into this new year, I wish that on you. Can you make this year better because you’ve been there with your presence? Can you throw a party inside yourself, and bring joy to those around you? Imagine what our days and our communities could be like if we did just that.