At this time of year, there’s plenty to celebrate. With an influx of engagements and pregnancy announcements – our parties, functions and online feeds are gushing with public proclamations of some recently unlocked life achievement.
After celebrating my own engagement this year, my partner and I have received many congratulations regarding the upcoming nuptials. Our online announcement elicited many messages of celebration and well wishes, and after the wave of dopamine subsided, I pondered the moments in our lives that will be met with the most congratulations. Weddings, engagements, new jobs, new houses, babies and births – these milestones are widely understood as positive, undoubtedly celebration-worthy events and they all mark the occurrence of one thing – a new beginning.
New beginnings are exciting. They symbolize the heralding of something different, and unknown. Starting something new can fuel us with a fresh sense of purpose and direction.
The moments in life that I feel are truly celebration-worthy are not the beginnings. But the middles. When you’re faced with hardship you never anticipated. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable and it is scary and uncomfortable. When everything seems to be conspiring against you. When you are so overwhelmed, broken and defeated and you’re teetering on the brink of giving it all up.
But you don’t.
These silent and noble moments often pass unnoticed. Not met with any filtered Instagram posts or public announcements over Christmas lunch. I often wonder if we underestimate the importance of these moments because they’re not received with a champagne toast, or a stylized photo shoot or 100+ little cyber thumbs-up.
So with no likelihood of public congratulations, it will be up to you (and perhaps those very close to you) to recognize and celebrate these true life achievements. Albeit not as flashy as the beginnings of a lifelong love or a brand new baby, these moments make up the invisible middles that help strengthen our connections, build our resilience and fill our lives with purpose, direction and growth. So if no ones congratulated you for those moments this year, I’m raising a glass for you right now.