The Random Writings of Rachel: Life Itself Demands Celebration

Life Itself Demands Celebration

Lately, I've noticed an increasing number of folks turning to the internet to condemn people who throw excessive numbers of parties or who take too many pictures or who otherwise get excited about the apparently small things of life.

People say stuff like, "Humans have been having babies since the beginning of time. Why does the ability to procreate deserve photographic announcements, gender reveal parties, professional maternity photo shoots, and the like?"

They say, "Graduating from high school is the norm. You shouldn't be celebrating it with senior pictures and huge grad parties. Why should we celebrate something that's so expected?"

Birthday parties for adults, and all manner of other celebrations, also get a bad rap. The argument, by and large, is that having big parties and inviting the extended family over just for a gender reveal is overkill. That elaborate photo-shoots for "small" occasions are narcissistic. That people who frequently post on social media about how happy they are and the cool little things that make their day are making big deals about nothing and are merely selfishly trying to rub their happiness in the faces of those who aren't quite so happy.


If you know me, you'll already know that I happen to disagree that all of the "excessive" celebrating  going on is a mark that this generation is ridiculously self-absorbed. I say, bring on the celebrating, and the photos, and the statuses about what makes you happy, because it gives me a chance to participate in your life more than I could otherwise. To me, your life is a big deal, and I want to celebrate with you.

If you're grouching about how many family photos so-and-so is posting on Facebook, do them a favor and unfriend them. When it comes to the people I love, I look forward to seeing their little ones--even when they're doing the most not-amazing things. You'll never hear a sarcastic, "They're acting like he's the first baby who ever turned 1." from me. Angel regularly messages his brother to let him know that we haven't seen enough of our nephew lately. Just last year, I hosted this graduation party for my cousin and celebrated the fact that she was done with high school and was going on to spend some time abroad. A few years before that, I broke all manner of etiquette rules and hosted a joint high school and college graduation party for myself and my little sister. She had just recently arrived in the USA and we got to see all sorts of old family friends--it was an absolute blast.

 Chinese character bedecked cookies in honor of my Mandarin degree. Because my guests didn't know Mandarin, I wrote random characters like dog, cat, old, fat, fur, wash, etc. I had a blast!

To me, celebrating doesn't mean I'm some sort of special, unique, princess. Celebrating means I realize that the gift of life is awesome--celebration is my natural response. My personality isn't one that demands Pinterest-perfect parties, or even insists on waiting till I have a pretty home or yard to have one. I've never had a particularly pretty home. I mostly likely never will. But I will always have parties.

I remember being asked what the occasion was when I invited some friends to a bonfire party a few years back. I couldn't think of one at first--but then I answered, "It's not snowing!" I swear, every day it's not snowing in Michigan, that's a good enough reason for a party. To some, that's selfish, narcissistic, and wasteful. I do not know why. Money I spend on feeding my friends and family is never money wasted, and Saturdays I've spent getting ready for a party are some of the most enjoyable Saturdays in my memory.

I, like every adult, grew up during the days of film cameras. My first birthday photos? Three pictures of me sitting in a kiddie pool at home. The 4x6 pictures are half black because something was wrong with the camera that day. Now, professional photography and DSLRs are expensive, but I'm glad that photography has advanced so much that we can have better photos of little events throughout life. True, there aren't great photos of my childhood, and if we go back a little further--almost no pictures of my dad as a kid even exist. The lack of great photographic evidence didn't hurt us any, but nice photos of what life is like are fun! A 1st birthday party may not be a world-shaking event, but high quality photos of it can mean a lot to a mom whose kids are turning into adults before her eyes. I don't have a DSLR, and the last time we hired a professional photographer was for our wedding. I'm so glad we did. I love our wedding photos. The last time my parents brought our family to a professional photo studio for family pictures was after my freshman year of college. To this day, I still see my mom looking through the photo album we bought from the studio. I know that those photos (and yes, they cost money, and yes, there was no special reason to photograph the family) bring her so much joy. I love those photos, too, even when the photographers finagled us into rather silly poses with bubble backdrops...


There's plenty in life that heart-breaking. Some days I get the kind of news that feels like it shakes the very ground I stand on. The ability to celebrate is a privilege that I don't take lightly. I will persist in celebrating the big and the small in my own life and the lives of people I love--with photos, with parties, with whatever means I have at any given moment, because to me, it's worth it. Celebrating with others is how I show I love them. I'm already planning goodbye parties for a few special individuals who are moving to the USA this summer--that in itself is not entirely a happy event, but we're going to celebrate together while we can.

My sister Rebekah is turning 16 tomorrow. I hear she has an epic non-birthday party planned. I didn't get the full story on why the party is themed as a "non-birthday" party, or what exactly that means, but I'll find out sometime. I did find out that the party is intended to be a heavy feast followed by an all-nighter devoted to board games and party games. How I wish I could be there, because Rebekah's life demands celebration.

40 comments:

  1. Good lord, people on the Internet will rise up against anything. I just don't understand why people care. If they don't want to have a party, they don't have to.

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  2. Seriously! I think that if you want to celebrate, you should celebrate! Silly internet.

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  3. I think we should most definitely enjoy the little things in life everyday and celebrate life itself because it is precious. Great reminder.

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  4. I don't host parties very often but I always have fun when I do. Most of the time, it's not to celebrate something, it's just to have fun together :)

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  5. Thank goodness, I haven't come across those group of people on the internet, who think that way about celebrations. I don't host parties a lot but the whole affair is pretty amazing whenever we do. And since we rarely attend events or have it at home, of course documenting it with pictures and videos is the only way to go. :)

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  6. Agreed! If you can celebrate, you should! Why be negative?

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  7. I love to celebrate - I completely agree with you! I love to host parties, getting all of my friends and family together to have a great time...I can't understand how there are people that don't!

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  8. I completely agree with you!! Life is meant to be celebrated and if you have the money or more likely the will to put a little effort to do the things you love, like celebrating. Go ahead!

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  9. I agree. I'm terribly disappointed that I have hardly any photos of myself as a kid other than the school photos. Back in those days it was expensive to have film developed. How much I would have loved to have seen images of myself growing up. I have no memory of it now.

    Every day is a gift. Choosing to recognize that fact by celebrating it shows gratitude.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  10. I completely agree with you! There are so many sad things in this world/life, that it's so important to celebrate the big and little moments!! I love this post :)

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  11. What kind of life is it to not celebrate ALL milestones? I totally agree that life is an enjoyment, so party it up and celebrate how awesome it is.

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  12. I love celebrating, I'm a big party person. And I love to take 12 million photos of my dog and post them to instagram as many times as I can, including when I throw her a birthday every year. And I absolutely think graduating high school is a big deal, and if people think that's just the norm they've never been to inner city Chicago.
    That said, I don't like kids which is why I don't have facebook and why I'm not friends with anyone who has kids. Like I assume anyone who doesn't like dogs shouldn't befriend me either. Just gotta do what works for you and let other people do what works for them!

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  13. oh goodness, i hadn't heard any of the anti-celebratory comments, but i definitely disagree with them. for me, celebrating with others is a great way to increase my own happiness (i get to be happy with you!) ((selfish??)), and i also think finding joy in the small things is an easy way to make life more enjoyable. we deal with so much hardship, why not pause and find things that are worth celebrating?

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  14. How could anyone seriously be against celebrating??? Life is an amazing gift worth celebrating every day! It almost seems...ungrateful...to not celebrate!

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  15. Yay!!!! I love celebrating EVERYTHING! I agree, I think the more we celebrate the better outlook we have!

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  16. Amen! Life is what we make it, and celebration is making things matter, bringing attention to them.

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  17. Yes to all of this! I, too, have noticed that people seem to poo-poo all of the stuff that actually makes life fun. While I didn't have a gender reveal party (mostly because I didn't care about ANYTHING while I was pregnant other than when it was going to end), if someone else wants to, knock yourself out. I won't stand in anyone's way that wants to do something positive and happy!

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  18. I am not always big on celebrating all the time but I definitely do love others doing it, like you said sometimes it the only way we get to celebrate their lives with them. Great post

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  19. Yes! This is awesome. I love birthdays, and the day of my birthday is one of my favorites of the year. Last year people basically acted like it was silly for me to keep being so excited and that in a few years I wouldn't care as much. Rude! Why can't I get excited about myself on my birthday, or any other day, for that matter?

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  20. I love this! Lately, people are offended at anything and everything. Someone's life looks too happy. Someone complains too much. Someone doesn't like the message a song sends. Someone else loves the message a song sends. BLAH! I love your idea of blocking people whose updates you truly do not want to read, and celebrating with your friends online.

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  21. i so love this and agree that we should be celebrating every little thing that makes us happy, brings others joy and is positive. i love hearing how much you love treating your friends and family to parties for no reason except that it's a party and a reason to get together!!

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  22. Some people will always live a ba-hum-bug life. I say ignore them and celebrate. Why live a mundane life? Celebrate the small and the big things in life.

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  23. Amen! Great post Rachel! We don't have enough (in my opinion) parties planned in my group of friends this year, so I'm planning to throw one this spring--I haven't thought of a reason yet, but who needs one?! Oh well, I'll think of something ;)

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  24. Really great post, Rachel. I totally agree: life is a miracle and just being alive is cause for celebration.

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  25. Oh how I love this post! Every day we are here and with the people we love is a day to celebrate. I love taking pictures and videos on my phone and have taken lots since our son was born 6 1/2 yrs ago. I lost my dad unexpectedly just before Christmas, and one day while looking for something on my computer shortly after he died, I happened upon a treasure trove of camera phone videos with him and my son when he was a toddler and baby. I cried with joy as I watched them, and was so unbelievably grateful that I chose tho moments to take the video, to celebrate the fun they were having together. When our time comes, there is no way that we are going to say how glad that we were that we didn't celebrate the fun and silly and just because times and kept things serious. Those will be the memories that last. This I know.

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  26. Love it! Life is so precious and definitely needs to be celebrated every chance we get. I am with you!

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  27. Loved it.. Social media and internet sometimes just fuels jealousy and nothing good comes out of it! But, we need to stop worrying about people and celebrate all we want to- we get just one life after all!
    -DT | Here I Scribble

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  28. HERE HERE! This is so exactly what I needed to read this morning. I had babies at a young age and as such, have very few friends with children of their own. I've definitely heard the comments about "too much baby" on Facebook. I even got word that one friend turned off her account because she was "sick of seeing pictures of babies and weddings." Who says that?? What kind of miserable human being says things like that? Sick of seeing friends be happy? NOT me.

    I say bring on the pictures, parties, and blog posts :) Celebrate, girl! You inspired me to this morning!! :)

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  29. Wow! I can't say I've experienced people who have that attitude...thank God! Jeez...people will complain about anything and everything! My family and friends are definitely more of the "make a big deal and celebrate", luckily! Meg of An Affair of Character

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  30. I agree that all life is worth celebrating and I'm not a big FB person but it's fun to be able to go there once in a while and see what people are up to. Esp if you have a lot of family on there, I don't so I'm OK being nonexistent for months on in. Hope your sisters birthday was wonderful!! Have a great weekend Rachel! -
    Iva

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  31. I totally agree with you! Sharing photos on the internet (especially for new moms and new grandmas) is the same las pulling out the folded pictures in your wallet to show strangers your spouse, kids, and grandkids...it's just technology rather than actual tangible pictures.

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  32. I love this post! Life IS a big deal and should be celebrated! :)

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  33. Great perspective.

    "It's not like he's the first baby who's ever turned 1." There's very little in life that hasn't been done by someone before. Who cares? If it's the first time it's happening to you, I think that's a good reason to celebrate. Party poopers aside.

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  35. Who the hell says those idiotic things??? I must be living under a rock, cause I still haven't read or heard anything like this, but I wholeheartedly agree with your post! Many people don't appreciate life and especially the little things, maybe that's why they hate it when others do. I think life is crappy enough, the least we can do is cherish whatever we've got and if the way we cherish is by taking photos or throwing big parties then fuck it, do it.
    To be honest though, I myself have been frequently annoyed by all the baby photos, it's just something that gets on my nerves, don't know why...

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  36. Yes to all of this! Some people just love being outraged. And I'm so curious about the "non-birthday" classification too...

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  37. EXACTLY! I couldn't agree with you more. I had a friend once whose Facebook friends were telling her to stop posting so much pictures of her kids. Another was told that the pictures she was posting with her boyfriend were too sappy. I made a point to make sure they both knew how much I enjoy their pictures because children and love are beautiful things. It's sad that people are being torn down for enjoying their lives.

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  38. I LOVE this and I agree 100%! I love seeing tons of pictures on social media of newborns and first birthdays. I love hearing all about people's successes no matter how big or small. And any excuse to get together with friends and have fun, laugh, and build each other up is welcome in my book!

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  39. Rachel, you are such a breath of fresh air! I truly feel blessed to know someone like you, even if it is just through blogging.

    Back in Texas, where I had my extended family and a lot of friends, I LOVE LOVE LOVEd hosting parties. I love to cook for people and just celebrate whatever! That may be what is missing in my life since moving here (to HI) almost three years ago. Thanks for reminding me to celebrate once again!

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  40. Words alone are not enough to express how look at here now happy I am you are celebrating another year of your life! My wish for you on your birthday is you are and will always be happy and healthy! Don’t every change.

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