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10 Nontraditional Life Milestones That Deserve To Be Celebrated

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s spring editorial intern Megan Pavek. Find her on Instagram at @megan.pavek. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

The other night I was in bed, mindlessly scrolling through TikTok (as we all tend to do) when I stumbled across some content with a beautiful, heartfelt message. Created by Sam Rueter and captioned “Share something you deserve to celebrate! Don’t let your big, fulfilling moments go unnoticed” the video feels like an intimate, yet relatable journal entry that everyone needs to read.

It begins with the narrator sharing some inner thoughts regarding the way that our society celebrates life milestones: graduating, starting a career, becoming engaged, buying a home, and having children. These milestones have been accepted as the norm and we receive positive reinforcement for checking each box. One example of this is women are commonly thrown elaborate showers for achieving these idealized moments. 

Sam Rueter explains that as the world changes and norms are broken, humans become bolder and feel more empowered to take different life paths. However, she admits that it’s inevitable to feel left behind as everyone else continues to celebrate these norms. This can make it difficult to feel confident in our decisions or “make us long for a lifestyle that isn’t even truly authentic to us.” Throughout this video, there is one simple yet eloquent message: live your truth and celebrate any life milestone or accomplishment that matters to you! Here are ten examples of  nontraditional life milestones that deserve to be celebrated.


Share something you deserve to celebrate! Dont let your big, fulfilling moments go unnoticed 💌 #writingabook #beproud #lifejourney #writingaesthetic #journaltherapy #liveyourlife #healingheart #writertok

♬ Family and Genus – Shakey Graves

Starting over

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First and foremost, starting over should be celebrated because it’s incredibly difficult to acknowledge that something is irreparable or broken. It’s also daunting to accept failure, let go, and begin again. Whether you struggle with addiction, are stuck in a toxic lifestyle, or simply want to improve your current situation and believe you deserve better. Either way you are taking a leap of faith away from what’s comfortable which many people aren’t able to do!

Leaving a toxic relationship & learning to be in a healthy one

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Being in this situation can take such a toll on your mental and physical health. It’s a long journey of learning to set healthy boundaries and prioritizing self care. Learning to love ourselves first is one of the hardest lessons.

Moving to a new state or country

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Experiencing other parts of the country or world is important and helps you grow as a person. Completely uprooting your life is an often messy, emotional process but it teaches you so many invaluable lessons.

Starting a business

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Talk about an unnerving endeavor! Starting your own business means stepping away from the security of steady income and relying fully on yourself to make things happen. It’s also a beautiful way to follow your passion.

Leaving a job that isn’t right for you

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Societal and financial pressure to stay in a soul-sucking career is real. Especially if you invested in the degree but hate the career. It’s hard to step away, but keep reminding yourself that you’re in control of your life and can always change it!

Breaking generational patterns

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Understanding where we come from and how it’s shaped us is not always easy and can unearth past trauma. Everyone has baggage, but if you’re actively working to grow past yours, that is a huge milestone that deserves to be celebrated.

Finding friendship

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Making friends as an adult is hard- especially in today’s post-pandemic world. Keep your head up and keep putting yourself out there!

Paying off debt

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So many people struggle with debt and it can weigh heavy on your shoulders. It’s unfortunate that being in debt seems almost commonplace, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a huge, life-changing accomplishment to finally pay it off and gain financial freedom.

Traveling to new places

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Maybe you can’t fully relocate and that’s ok! Prioritizing travel is still important so that you can see how other people experience the world to change your perspective and broaden your horizons.

Getting divorced

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It takes so much courage to leave a marriage that no longer suits you. Move past the assumptions that you’re a bad person for wanting something better and remember your self-worth.

The common theme among all of these nontraditional life milestones is crazy amounts of courage and believing or investing in yourself. There are so many obstacles we have to overcome on our journeys. If you have accomplished anything you are proud of recently, I hope you throw yourself an elaborate shower and celebrate the wins, both big and small!

Sam Rueter leaves us with a gentle, yet powerful reminder: “Timelines are fake. You’re not behind. The milestones to celebrate are yours to choose. You are allowed to be proud of yourself for where you are, right here, right now.”

Let us know what nontraditional life milestones have you accomplished in the comments below!

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