Making Maki is the home of Maki B. It’s where all of life’s parts meet. Figuring out the work-life balance, managing finances, navigating relationships, finding the things that give us joy, appreciating life’s journey and caring for ourselves along the way. Making Maki isn’t about finding any particular thing; it’s about always searching for the best versions of ourselves and making the most of all of life’s lessons and opportunities.

One of the best things about living in the Caribbean, and particularly on this gem that is St. Maarten, is exposure to different cultures and histories. Geography introduced us to a wider world without us ever having to set foot on a plane or boat. History gave us a glimpse of the pasts of societies and major events way before our time. One of those events that has always stuck with me is Bastille Day. To many, July 14, 1789, the Storming of the Bastille, was a turning point in the French Revolution. It was the end of one era and the start of another.

On a personal front, I see Bastille Day as a reason to remember why we fight (please note that I don’t mean physical altercation, but overcoming obstacles). In my relatively short time on the earth, I’ve realized that almost every day lived is a day hard fought. Some days, the fights are easy and some days, the fights are hard. Some days, the fights are against annoying drivers that can’t seem to understand that the roundabouts have two lanes (yes, that is a personal gripe).

On other days, the fights with the outside world are full-on battles to protect ourselves and our loved ones. We fight for the right to be treated fairly. We fight for fair wages, equal pay, access to education, health services and other valuable resources. We stand for our rights to be respected as human beings. These are the battles that have carried on throughout time and I hope that these fights will be unnecessary at some point. I hope that one day, we’ll all see each other as equals – but until then, we’ll continue to fight.

These fights don’t have to include storming or burning of buildings. Instead, they can happen in our everyday interactions and conversations. In everything we do, we can champion and work towards the ideal quality of life for ourselves and those around us. And if our fights with the outside world aren’t enough, we’re constantly fighting with ourselves. We fight with ourselves on the days we don’t want to go to work or school. We fight with ourselves on the days that we don’t think we can or that we aren’t good enough. We fight that voice that says that we are undeserving. We fight to storm our own personal prisons and fortresses.

While I have never fought in any war or revolution, I understand the importance of celebrating our hard-won victories. Celebrations are necessary because any victory needs to be commemorated. We should celebrate the days that we succeeded. Every celebration won’t come with a parade and fireworks, and celebrations don’t have to come with a cost. Instead, our personal celebrations can be a moment of reflection and kind words to ourselves. Celebrate switching jobs or careers. Pat yourself on the back for closing an important deal. Give yourself some kind words for acing that test. Be proud of yourself for negotiating a raise. Give yourself a round of applause for submitting that job application. Shout-out to yourself for fighting for someone else. Do a happy dance whenever you overcome yourself.

Whatever you do, commemorate your victories and remember why you fight.

Happy Bastille Day!