Finding it odd how life’s most profound milestones don’t elicit the same mass congratulatory mobilization as more traditional events. We’re not as publicly joyful for people about their passion as we are their progeny, as celebratory about their hard-fought independence as we are their nuptials, as full of pride and praise about their healing as we are their graduation. What’s often seen worthy of reward and recognition is some external progression, some outwardly evolution, as opposed to an internal advancement; someone discovering their talent for teaching after years of searching for purpose, someone deciding to go to therapy for the first time, someone coming out to their family, someone finishing that book they’ve been working on for a decade, someone persisting in the pursuit of their dream against unfavorable odds, someone bravely going back to rehab. But there aren’t showers, registries or formal parties for these things. Perhaps because they’re not as visible, harder to define, difficult for culture to profit from. I’ve never seen bunting for having broken bad behavioral patterns.
And isn’t that what makes these things so in need of celebration? The harder-to-package moments are often the most intensely fought for, the quietest of victories, the most imperceptible of braveries. The things we often find the most difficult are also the least applauded. And we sense no one cares. Not by mainstream standards. I’ve never bought a gift on a registry for someone who heroically moved to a new city alone after quitting a job that broke them. I’ve never been to a shower in support of a person who otherwise couldn’t afford the silent retreat they were in desperate need of after escaping an abusive relationship.
Sometimes the most profound of occasions go unsupported, uncelebrated. The most courageous of achievements pass unnoticed. But the most important thing that will happen in a person’s life won’t typically be the shiniest. It’ll be the thing you forgot to notice about them. Forgot to ask. Forgot to celebrate. What we’ve been duped into thinking is unworthy of mention might be the thing that defines their whole damn life. Acknowledge it. Celebrate it.