At some point in our lives, many of us get married and/or have children. Or we have at least purchased a full palette of colorful bridesmaid dresses and infant onesies (your credit card is no stranger to the gift registry at Macy's).
But why do we feel like marriage and children are the only occasions that warrant "showers" of congratulations? Seriously, we throw showers for these two occasions only.
There are so many other milestones and successes in life to celebrate — for ourselves and for our friends, both relationships we should value with the same amount of attention and care as any other.
So shower with love and congrats during these five occasions (and more!). You, and your friends, are worth it ...
1. Big Promotions
Did your best friend get a promotion to VP from the company she's been at since she was an intern? For years she's worked long nights, and now, her hard work has paid off in a really concrete way. This is a definite cause for celebration! Or maybe another friend has sunk his life savings into a new business venture, and is making a go of his dreams by opening a bakery or his own real estate office. Why not throw a "career shower" where each person brings a gift for your friend in question to decorate his/her new corner office or lobby with? It will the new workspace with love and support.
2. "Finish Lines"
Life is a mountain of wonderful things. But figuring out what you're "supposed to" do in life can be one the most (if not the most) difficult challenges. When someone you love feels like he or she has found that purpose, or at least has taken a step in a good direction, that should be recognized!
Your friend writes something she is proud of, or sells her first big piece of art to a major gallery: these are all on the spectrum of achievements to celebrate. The roller-coaster ride of creating any type of art is an emotional one. Your friend managed to conquer all inner doubts and now her experience is being made public for all to see and benefit from. Why not reward her courage and perseverance by rallying your troops for a celebration? It can be informal or formal. The occasion could be personal or monumental. Whatever the situation, your love and support will be there and that's the most important thing!
3. Life Shifts
Perhaps one of your friends just sent his last kid off to college. Talk about accomplishment. All jokes aside, he just raised and released adults into the winds of the world. That's sacred and celebration worthy! Why not throw him an "empty nest" shower where your group of friends gathers to bring new books, movies, or any other fun items to help him and his family celebrate her newfound "me time."
4. Friendship Anniversaries
Did you meet your best friends during a Halloween party the first year you moved to a new city and now, 15 years later, you are still a big part of each others' lives? Friendship is important in all its forms (think: reason, season or lifetime). But when you have a friend (or friends) that you've celebrated many, many seasons with, and it's obvious you're going to make it to lifetime friends status, that is something to hold on high and commemorate. Perhaps each year the group could share a nice dinner, or take a short sabbatical (even a little "staycation" works) to celebrate life and the good friends who make it all the more colorful.
Have you ever found someone in a great mood and asked what got him or her there and they replied, " I don't know, I'm just happy today!" Perhaps you can relate and some of the best occasions of your life were not occasions you carefully etched in your planner, but rather the sporadic and zestful times you took life up on a random whim. Maybe it's a rainy Monday and you suddenly feel like seeing if your friend is available for a last minute cup of coffee or lunch. It could very well be the most laugh-packed hour you've had in weeks. Think of how many amazing memories you could add if you celebrated on impulse. (Often times, our "impulse" is really our gut-feeling speaking to us).
While marriage and having children certainly are outstanding reasons to celebrate, don't limit your celebrations of friends to these two occasions. Each of us has a life FULL of praiseworthy occasions. Each person is pursuing a path full of events that deserve their own individual light to shine.
This week, think of a creative celebration you can take part in, either on a friend's behalf or one that you would like to host for your own milestone, and start setting a new standard for celebrating life.