Have you ever found yourself with one of those milestone life occasions just around the corner — things like a 20th wedding anniversary, baby shower, 30th birthday celebration, or even just a normal birthday or seasonal holiday, in general — but felt that you just couldn’t care less about going through all the trouble of organising and attending a proper party for it?
You know the story, providing catering for a substantial group of people, investigating function rooms for hire, getting in touch with relatives from all around the country — if not from all around the globe.
But although it clearly takes some effort to organise a big celebration, and although it can be tempting just to spare yourself all the trouble and have a relaxing day by yourself sitting in bed and eating ice cream, there are actually some very good reasons why you should consider putting aside your reservations and throwing the party anyway.
Here are just a few of those reasons:
To solidify them in your memory
As we get older, we can tend to find that life sweeps by at an ever greater pace, and that our memories of the past become ever more blurry and selective.
We might remember a good few specific incidents from our childhood, another handful from our adolescence, and perhaps no more than the vaguest snippets of our lives afterwards, excluding particularly large events like getting married.
Memories are formed, in large part, when we experience exciting and new events (and especially if we haven’t been drinking heavily when we encounter them, so keep that in mind), which elicit a strong emotional reaction from us.
When we’re younger, everything seems exciting, and everything is new, and so we often form striking memories on a regular basis and time seems to stretch out before us.
By the time most of us get into our stride as working adults, however, we can easily feel jaded and fall into a rut. Routines take over, and the days blend into one long streak of work, eat, TV, sleep, work, eat, TV, sleep, etc.
Throwing big parties for every landmark event in your life isn’t just a way of enjoying yourself, it’s also a way of breaking up some of the regularity of your usual routine, and subsequently, of forming new memories of the events so that you have something worthwhile to look back on, instead of just seeing a vague blur of office days and weekends in the bar or on the sofa.
To gather together your loved ones
Just as it becomes harder to find novel and memorable experiences as we age — as well as to actually form lasting memories, and to break free of the endless cycle of rapidly-accelerating time — so too can it become increasingly difficult, the older we get, to find occasions where we can gather all our loved ones together in the same room.
In childhood, and typically in adolescence, we tend to be surrounded by those we care about more or less constantly. We live in our family homes, enjoy the presence of our immediate relatives on a nearly constant basis, and likely visit our extended family fairly frequently, as well.
At these ages, the majority of our friend are probably people we see every Monday to Friday at school, and maybe also on the weekends. Everything we know and care about, and everyone we know and care about, is typically bound together in a much more immediate way than in later life.
As we get older, things change. We move out of the family home, and likely find ourselves in different cities, if not in different countries. Our siblings, likewise, disperse. Our parents may head to sunnier climates. Our school friends scatter all over the place pursuing their various careers. Added to all this, we’re typically so caught up with matters like work, and the intimate details of our private lives, that we have much less time to spend visiting and enjoying the company of those loved ones of ours who we can see with relatively little effort.
For these reasons, any occasion which serves as an excuse to draw everyone back together in celebration is to be seized upon enthusiastically. Who knows, maybe if you don’t do the job of arranging these gatherings, no one else will?
To cut loose and have fun
Life can be pretty stressful at the best of times, and when times are hard, it can be difficult to grin and bear it without feeling bitter and resentful.
While our material resources and wisdom theoretically increase with age, the opportunities we find in which to have fun and enjoy our lives often decrease quite substantially.
This isn’t because we’re somehow fundamentally doomed to be bored and boring once we reach a certain age. Instead, it’s because we tend to prioritise more practical considerations as we get older, and because the avenues we have available for fun and entertainment are increasingly restricted by the standards and expectations of our culture.
It’s often seen as a bit weird and uncool for a person in their mid-30’s to be enthusiastic about playing Frisbee in the park with their friends on weekends, or to be heavily into recreational Go-Karting, and it’s definitely frowned upon for anyone who isn’t a child or a parent to be swinging around on a climbing frame.
So what to do when you want to unwind and relax? Often, the most socially acceptable pastimes are to go home and watch videos on the internet, or to go to bar and have a few drinks with your colleagues after work.
A big celebration, on the other hand, allows you to cut loose and have fun in any number of memorable and uplifting ways.
A big party in the countryside could include an archery contest, a fire-dancing workshop, or even an adult Easter egg hunt. You can dance until the early hours and share jokes with people who you don’t need to see in the office later. You can have some fun.