Get a degree. Get a job. Get a relationship. Get engaged. Get married. Get pregnant. Overshare it.
This is the universal list assigned to young adults pressured to get checked off by the time they reach 30.
Instead, we should be motivating people to find something they’re passionate about. We should remind people that when love comes into your life, you can let it in. Evolve forward while learning to accept change rather than fight it. Privacy can be the one thing to protect the special meaning behind a memory. Share what’s worth sharing with the people that mean something to you. Share without expectation or comparison.
Still, currently, we focus more on capturing rather than experiencing.
Oversharing has led many to drown in self-comparison, wrapped in jealousy. Engagement, wedding, and baby photos flood our screens as submissions to an assumed competition.
It’s created an abundance of promoted information claimed to be shared with purpose.
Unable to avoid this current phenomenon, I haven’t been able to shake a recent thought which questioned how nearly everyone responds to an engagement or wedding.
What do we always say?
We treat the idea of marriage as an achievement required for success.
But is it?
First, ask yourself what comes to mind when you hear the word achievement. Maybe you think of winning a competition, graduating from school, receiving a promotion at work, writing a book, starting a business, or just finishing something you started.
It can mean a lot of things for different people, but will always include a massive amount of hard work. Perhaps there is a valid argument to mention the work that comes with a relationship.
But does should the response to marriage mirror the reaction to someone running a marathon, receiving an award, overcoming a mental or physical battle, landing a dream job, moving somewhere new, or saving enough money for a car?
In my opinion, not at all. I don’t think the generic response of congratulations is warranted for the milestone of an engagement because it gets treated as the success of personal achievement.
Instead, I question why it is so hard for people to respond with something less generic, like I’m happy for you. I wonder why we don’t choose to express our authentic reaction instead of implying, congratulations on your achievement.
Because a relationship is not an achievement.
The relationship of boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé husband, wife, partner, or anything else you want to name it, can be a positive and exciting experience in your life.
Companionship, love, and passion can grow into critical pieces that contribute to your well-being. But their uniqueness deserves to be matched with a similar response.
The next time someone gets engaged, tell them how you feel. Before you say congratulations without thinking, take a second to think about how you feel. Allow the time to register a real reaction and then share your thoughts.
More importantly, for those who don’t get to share those engagement photos or wedding albums, know that your life isn’t any less successful than someone who does share those photographs.
Your achievements are a reflection of your personal goals in life along with the impact you have on people.
A relationship may be a beautiful adventure, but it’s not the only beautiful adventure to embark on this throughout your life.