We cherish special life milestones like birthdays and anniversaries for a reason. They represent continuity and growth, the unbroken threads that shape a person’s life. They are a sign of triumph over adversity, of strength, and of hope, particularly in the later years when they represent decades of experience. The importance of celebrating life is reflected in physical and mental health, community and family relationships and a healthy self-concept. Each of these is essential to an optimal quality of life, and here’s how they work.
The Importance of Celebrating Life Milestones
Celebrating is good for people. It’s an opportunity for activity, conversation, laughter and excitement. Parties can mean games and singing and even dancing. Laughter opens airways, lowers blood pressure and relaxes tight muscles. People eat more when they’re celebrating together, and they perceive less pain.
This is the key to the importance of celebrating life. We are social creatures, and we’re happier when we connect with each other. Multiple generations of family come together at birthdays and anniversaries, to think about their shared history, to tell familiar stories and unveil new ones, to enjoy seeing how the children have grown, to feel close to people they’ve known their whole lives. Anniversaries remind life partners of the years they’ve shared, the struggles they’ve endured, the triumphs they’ve savoured. Celebrating these events allows people the chance to feel like they’ve achieved something significant, that their commitment to each other has value in the eyes of their family and friends. The joy and comfort of these events is an important source of strength for people, even when they may lack the energy to do all the planning themselves.
Families bond together because of the years of experience they have shared. Celebrations are an opportunity to deepen these bonds by bringing people together who see each other only rarely. Special events become reunions, allowing far-flung family members to see each other in the context of celebrating their loved ones. These moments reinforce the continuity and endurance of family ties, another important source of strength and peace when challenges arise.
Family bonds aren’t the only ones that help us stay connected. When a person has worked and lived in a community for years, long-standing friendships are often the result. Relationships of parents who raised their children together, professionals who worked together, people who shopped at the same stores, sent their children to the same schools and doctors and baseball practices, are also important to celebrate on special occasions.
The importance of celebrating life draws power from the ideas above, but it is grounded in an individual’s self-concept. A healthy person understands the whole arc of life as a continuous journey, punctuated by moments of pain and of joy but always changing. Special occasions are the milestones along this journey, chances to stop and reflect on life as a whole, and on the person who has lived it. Giving people the chance to celebrate these milestones is an essential way to nurture their inner health. Celebration isn’t just a party, it’s a way to show someone that they matter, that their journey has meaning.
Celebrations can be easy to postpone or ignore as we get older. Maybe it’s hard to think about how many birthdays have passed, or how many anniversaries. Maybe it’s hard to celebrate without worrying about being a burden on family and friends. Maybe there are painful memories or unhealed grief that make celebrating difficult. In all these cases, the answer is to stay focused on the importance of celebrating life. Don’t skip the party. Instead, adjust your plans so that your celebration fits your mood.
The advantages of celebration are universal, and can be as powerful in a small, quiet gathering as in a big party. If you have questions about how to add more celebrations to your life, let us know. We’ll work with you to make it happen.