When's My Celebration?
You've probably lost count of the number of showers, engagement parties, baby births, bachelor parties, house warmings, and children's birthday parties you've attended in your adult life.
Each of these events is proof of how blessed you are and how abundant your life is. You have family, friends, and colleagues that you love. Great things are happening in your circle. People are happy and getting on with their lives. They want you to help them celebrate because your presence matters to people who love you. And people do love you. That's the good part.
If you don't want to admit out loud to the bad part, then stop reading. And if you're seeking fresh perspective on the bad part, I'm going to tell you right now: I have none. I'm only here to commiserate.
To express what the bad part is is a complicated endeavor because I feel it more than I can express it. It's difficult to find words to adequately present an argument that is characteristically pragmatic and logical, but also heavily intertwined with feelings.
The pragmatic and logical part of the argument creates the biggest issue because for some people, celebrating others--a form of giving--is spiritual. "It is more blessed to give than to receive," said Christ as recorded in Acts 20:35. Although He was talking about the poor, weak, and needy, the phrase is used to generally blanket opportunities to give. To feel something contrary would probably be considered heresy to those who deeply believe in this spiritual principle.
While I agree that it is indeed better to give than to receive, I can also say with a high degree of certainty that celebrating others can leave you rejoicing the lives of others while no one is rejoicing your life. And that's when you wonder when your world will celebrate you.
INVESTING IN OTHERS' happiness
Time, money, and energy: the 3-installment payment plan that celebration rituals require of its participants.
You gladly pay the price to invest in the happiness of others, but the frequency in which you pay this price in relation to the infrequency or non-existence that this payment is reciprocated for your happiness can be dispiriting when there aren't many, if any, traditional opportunities for your circle to celebrate you.
By traditional, I mean milestone occasions like a 21st birthday, a college graduation, an engagement, wedding, baby, 2nd baby, buying a house, wedding anniversary. The big stuff.
It's not that these special achievements--we'll call them--shouldn't be honored. They absolutely should with all the merriment that the collective group can muster. Looking through the lens of a person who is patiently waiting their turn for the same jubilation, it can feel like life is passing them by frame-by-frame. And that's the feeling that no one likes. The anxiety that comes from seemingly standing still.
In the absence of a milestone, you can make a big to-do about your birthday, but unless it's a landmark birthday, it's pretty humdrum. I mean, celebrating your 38th is great, but there's something about 40.
Even in the case of 40, if you're like me, introverted, then you don't celebrate birthdays socially anymore anyways, leaving no traditional opportunities for anyone to openly celebrate and invest in your life at this moment, which by default means that your life is all about celebrating everybody else's. It feels lopsided, at best, and one-sided, at worst.
I literally plan to do nothing about any of this.
I'll continue investing in the happiness of friends, family, co-workers, their children, and their spouses because the relationships I have with individuals that I love and am close to compels me to do so. But looka here, when my time comes, I'm unloading to make up for time lost. I'm not sure when, but I will have my celebrations.
Afterword: As I wrote this piece I started thinking about celebrations I had that others hadn't, like a college graduation or a first corporate job (not that anyone threw a party, but no lie, it was a big deal). So now I feel ridiculous for even writing this. This is exactly what I touched on earlier. These feelings are complicated. Maybe you can relate. The point is, I'm acknowledging it. For now, that's all I'm willing to do.
Photo credit: Pexels via Ryan McGuire at Gratisography