Stef (firecat) wrote,

Recognizing non-standard life events

I see a LOT more non-standard circumstances that call for recognition than standard ones (both happy occasions and sad ones and ambivalent ones), and I think the more people get creative in honoring the non-standard circumstances, the better off the world is.

I said "reconition" rather than "celebrate" because a lot of the things I have in mind wouldn't be "celebrated" per se, although honoring the good parts of them would sometimes be part of the recognition.

One thing that bothers me about a lot of standard recognition rituals is that they don't make room for the "wrong" emotions. At a wedding, you have to be happy. At a funeral, you have to be sad. You're not allowed to talk about being sad at a marriage or happy at the death of a loved one, even though you might well be feeling such things.

  • Death of a pet
  • Deaths of people who aren't immediate family -- you might attend the funeral but that's pretty much all the mourning you're allowed publicly.
  • A divorce coming through.
  • Breaking up with a partner. (Often there is a lot of spontaneous support around this but not necessarily formal recognition per se.)
  • Anniversaries of deaths-of-loved-ones, divorces, or break-ups. (We publicly celebrate the anniversaries of births and ongoing relationships, but not the anniversaries of endings, even though we darn well *feel* the anniversaries of endings.)
  • Anniversaries of relationships that don't look "spousal." How about celebrating the anniversary of being single? Celebrating theanniversaries of friendships?
  • Moving out of an old home.
  • Having a parent or child or roommate move in or out of your home.
  • Our bodies (hey, we celebrate ongoing relationships with other people, what about ongoing relationships with our own bodies?, specifically:
    • Start of menstruation.
    • First gray hairs.
    • Menopause.
  • Surgery. (Undergoing surgery via general anesthesia is like dying and being resurrected!)
  • Ending or starting a job (sometimes there is recognition of *getting* a job but not so much around starting a job).
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