If your Facebook timeline looks anything like mine, engagements and pregnancy announcements are in a constant rotation. While I’m happy for my friends, the traditional idea of what life accomplishments deserve praise and acknowledgment can sometimes get me down. Even if you celebrate alone with a glass of bubbly, here are some achievements that truly deserve to be celebrated even if you don’t plan on going a traditional route in life:
Promotions at work or jumpstarting your career
Perhaps it’s getting a raise or moving across the country to accept a better position at your company or even starting your own business—whatever betterment it may be, you should celebrate your hard work finally paying off.
Continuing your education
Finishing college, taking community education night courses, learning another language, or hell, even visiting educational museums are all steps towards higher learning. Education and the constant reach for more of it are the most important gifts you can bestow upon yourself. Having the extra time to research topics you’re interested in learning more about is priceless.
Traveling and frequent vacations
Kids are cute but they’re also really expensive. If you don’t plan on having them, you can look forward to using your free time and money to see new places. Maybe it’s a solo vacation or a road trip with friends—any way you can expand your horizons can and should be celebrated.
Adopting a new pet
According to the ASPCA, each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized. While this number is startling and concerning, the number of dogs and cats euthanized in US shelters annually has declined from approximately 2.6 million in 2011, partially because of an increase in pet adoptions and more animals finding their forever homes. If you don’t plan on getting married or having children, caring for a pet and giving an animal a good life is a fulfilling venture worthy of praise.
Achieving health and fitness goals
We only get one body—why not treat it well? When you trade that boxed mac and cheese for a whole grain, low carb version instead and start going HAM on the treadmill, treating your body right from the outside often helps the inside too. Losing weight, running a marathon, making gains—whatever goal you may have, working hard to give yourself a healthier life is worth acknowledging.
Paying off your student loans or credit cards
If you’ve managed to skate through life without taking out a loan or collecting some credit card debt, consider yourself lucky. The average student in the Class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt. There are more than 44 million borrowers with $1.3 trillion in student loan debt in the US alone. Finally freeing yourself from years of debt without adding more to the pile is an accomplishment that should definitely be celebrated.
Taking a long bubble bath in complete silence
Hear that? Exactly. It’s nothing. Complete silence. No Dora the Explorer, no Peppa Pig, no husband crapping on the toilet while you’re trying to bathe in the same 40 square foot space. Absolute silence. Relish in it.
Volunteering or donating to a charity
Spending your free time helping others is not only fulfilling but helps create a better community for you to live in. Food banks, animal shelters, political campaigns, and local libraries are just a few places where volunteer work is highly appreciated.
Living a more active social life
No need for bed times or babysitters; if you want to get loose with your friends and have a few drinks, the only thing you’re responsible for is making sure you get home safely. If you feel like staying at a friend’s house for the night or taking a spontaneous trip to the beach, you can do so without worry. Take that shot at the bar. You deserve it.
Creating a non-traditional family
Just because you’re not into signing a legal contract that allows someone to take 50 percent of your life’s earnings if the relationship goes belly up doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to live a life of solitary confinement. Creating a support system within your own friend’s circle and community allows you to give and receive help when life knocks you down. No one wants to go through life alone and creating your own non-traditional family is a good way to get the support you’ll need.
Living your life on your own terms without answering to or for anyone else.
There’s nothing more freeing than not having to ask anyone’s permission to do whatever you want at any given moment. Living a life without the attachment of a spouse or children is simply the right choice for some and doesn’t mean that those life accomplishments are any less worthy of praise than that of someone with a more traditional path.
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