Sure, finding love, getting engaged and tying the knot are all beautiful milestones that you should absolutely celebrate if you want to. Growing your family is worth celebrating, too. But relationship-centered milestones — be it the arrival of a new child or the legal legitimizing of a partnership — aren't the only milestones we have to celebrate. Yet far too often, even today, relational achievements are the only ones that receive celebratory airtime for women, at least in any kind of significant, ritualized way. And we think that needs to change.
So, here are nine other seriously impressive (and non-relational) achievements that you deserve to be cheers-ing yourself for, throughout your lifetime. Break out the party hats!
1. Getting Accepted into a College or University Program
Getting accepted into a college or university program is a massive ordeal. And women achieve this even more than men. In fact, women comprise more than 56% of students on campuses nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
2. Getting Accepted into a Graduate School or Higher Education Program
Likewise, getting accepted into a graduate school program or another higher education program like medical school, for example, is another reason to celebrate. Again, women represent 57.9% of all graduate students in the country; this means that there are currently more than 137 women enrolled in graduate school for every 100 men,
3. Landing a First Job
Landing a first job is one of the most exciting times in a woman's life. It's often a Catch-22 that you need experience to get experience. That's why getting a job is difficult, and that's equally why unemployment rates persist. In fact, among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.2 percent) and adult women (3.2 percent) have showed little to no recent changes, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
4. Landing a New Job
Landing a new job might be easier than a first job, since your resume is a little more decorated, but the job hunt is still a major undertaking and one that deserves recognition. After all, leaving one job behind and moving onto another can be a big transition that requires a lot of time, planning and hard work.
5. Successfully Switching Industries
Switching industries is no easy feat — especially when all or most of your experience comes from your former industry. Successfully making the switch to start a new career for yourself means making a huge jump and putting a lot on the table. That, certainly, is commendable.
6. Reaching a Health or Fitness Goal
Reaching a health or fitness goal like finally hitting a healthy goal weight or sticking that handstand, for examples, is a big accomplishment. Of course, health and fitness goals require hard work and discipline, which makes these kinds of milestones especially worth celebrating.
7. Moving to a New City
Moving to a new city (especially for the first time) can be intimidating — you don't know anyone and you have to support yourself until you dig your roots and establish a community. That's why it's a huge milestone for many women, especially if they're leaving behind friends and family who've always been alongside them.
8. Traveling Solo for the First Time
Contrary to popular belief, women actually make up the bulk of solo travelers. While it may feel liberating and exciting, it's no secret that traveling solo for the first time can also feel terrifying. You have to be your own pilot and copilot, and you have only yourself on whom to rely, which is major. Embarking on the adventure in and of itself, let alone successfully completing the trip, is a huge milestone.
9. Buying a Home for the First Time
Of course, buying a home for the first time is incredibly exciting. Homes are ever more expensive. In fact, today, the median home listing price in the United States is $226,800 according to Zillow, though that number varies drastically depending on where you house hunt. Regardless, that's a pretty penny that requires some serious saving to achieve.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.