Most of you are wondering what that’s all about. An even smaller segment of you are probably trying to figure out if I just called you a name.
But an even smaller segment of you gets that May 25th is Towel Day, an homage to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s beloved (and now deceased) author, Douglas Adams.
Towel Day is a nerd holiday. It’s a celebration of a world that doesn’t exist, but that has brought joy and bonding to a relatively small but vocal segment of the population who, when you bring up the big question of Life, the Universe and everything will tell you bluntly: 42. (Right after they remind you “Don’t Panic.”)
For those you not in the know, who have never read The Hitchhiker’s Guide (get on that!) and who may not even know who Douglas Adams is (fix that!!) you may not understand the allure of celebrating his birthday as a holiday.
Here’s the thing, and Simon Pegg said it best: “Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection.”
But those are the things I love. Celebrating nerd holidays as a spiritual practice is about what YOU love.
What do you love? What do YOU value?
Be honest about what you enjoy.
It’s this element of necessary self-awareness that elevates nerd holidays to more than just silliness. It opens it up to being something more.
Celebrating nerd holidays does one other thing that spiritual practices also do, at least a lot of the time.
It gathers to you a tribe of people who speak your language…people who get you.
That. Is. Invaluable.
Having someone to share the joke with? Having someone who understands the background of something enough to have that philosophical conversation? Someone who loves what you love?
That just feels good! Sharing dragons with Rachel in Spain makes me happy. Sharing Doctor Who with El makes me happy. Sharing Star Trek with Christine makes me happy. Sharing Star Wars Day treasures with Gayle puts me over the moon!
And that happiness builds me up. It powers the rest of my life. It gives me the juice to express myself more, to risk more, to be myself more…even the nerdy bits of me that once upon a time were devalued and looked down upon.
Nerd holidays have helped me reclaim valuable parts of myself. They force me to know myself better. They give me people to celebrate with and the happiness that comes from a good celebration.
So I invite you to #CelebrateNerdHolidays of your own. Not sure where to begin? How about your bookshelves? Or your Netflix cue? You’ll find clues there.
Here’s some links to give you a couple of ideas about what others are doing.
A couple of extra nerdy places to start:
Ever wondered how I know my birthday is National Disaster Day?
For Dog Lovers
For Cat People
But if you don’t see yourself there, don’t give up. Get creative. Do a little research.
That scientist you love? When is her birthday? Celebrate it.
That Jane Austen character? It’s not my cup of tea but think about what she stands for and find a symbolic way of celebrating it.
(Like my friend Casey who taught me how to get creative with these holiday associations when she served black and white cookies for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday!)
Think about what you love, what thrills you. Celebrate it, and shout it loudly from the rooftops because…you can’t be alone in your love for it.