I recently read a survey that indicates our favorite place is our home and what makes us most happy in our home, is the smell of food cooking. No big surprises, there. Yet why is it so hard to blend the love of home, and home-cooked meals with what scientists say is our greatest need -- feeling connected to others? From these studies, home entertaining should yield us our most wonderful memories. Yet for most, the idea of a party or a gathering feels like putting on an exhibition of one's life. And at the center of the exhibit, we stand, naked, exposing every unseemly aspect of us. Every blemish and every flaw.
We have a love-hate relationship with entertaining. We love the idea of it, but once we begin the process of it, all our stuff tends to come up. Feelings about our financial situation, relationship struggles, decor weaknesses, cooking vulnerabilities, disenchantment in our circle of friends, and the fear of -- will anyone show up? What we feel is wrong in our life, suddenly feels amplified and suffocating. Thank you, party! All I wanted was a little fun, and now you're making me see all that's wrong with my life!
Before I threw my first ever party, I chose to explore the party as the paradigm through which I would live life differently from my parents. My parents were and are -- unbelievably wonderful parents. I cannot fault them. But when it came to even the smallest of parties, oh my lord, it was as though Mum was setting up an emergency triage unit in the middle of a natural disaster. It was as though lives were on the line and there was only so many hours in which those lives could be saved. The weight of the world was on Mum and every little thing that Dad did to try and "help", made the weight that much heavier on Mum's petite shoulders. Mum's dinners and parties were the best in town, but the suffering to get there, I vowed I would never endure that pain.
I realized that how I threw a party, was also a way that I could choose to live my life. Starting with the guest list. Did I feel obliged to invite anyone or the need to impress any on the list? If I did, I would only include those I truly wanted to give to and in terms of impressing, I would remind myself that the most impressive thing to me is authenticity. Being my authentic self simply required me to get creative and use every aspect of the party as a canvas to express myself.
If we shift our approach to the party and simply do what we truly want to do, the focus is no longer about what is trending in home entertaining or decor, it becomes about enjoying how we choose to express ourselves via the party and enjoying our company. That might very well mean not having the party we originally envisaged but redefining what a party means to us. Oprah recently celebrated her 60th birthday by enjoying a picnic on the floor with her companion, versus a party with over 400 guests. If 2014 is the year of mindful living, we should be gathering in our homes more often, to connect with folks we can share our authentic self with.
At The Delish Life, I look at any kind of gathering as an opportunity to celebrate who we are at any given moment. Who do we want to deepen our connections with, laugh, dance and make memories with? Its a snapshot of how we express ourselves, what inspires us and what is important to us. What do you want your party to say about you?