What your life looks like at 25 depends a lot on where you're living. If you're in Texas, you're probably married with your first baby. But if you're in New York or California, you're probably not ready to think about marriage for another 10 years.
Either way, as Millennials are waiting longer and longer to get married, our urge to find an excuse to party is ever-present. Getting married is no longer regarded as our greatest life accomplishment. Now there are careers, friends and finances to be factored into the situation, and there's nothing a Millennial loves more than rewarding herself.
Here are five anniversaries Millennials are celebrating instead of getting married:
1. The anniversary of becoming financially independent.
I definitely look at someone a little funny if they're 25 and still getting an "allowance" from their parents, but usually by this age, most Millennials are financially independent. This is probably the life event that deserves the most celebration, as Millennials are known for leeching off their parents for as long as possible. But truly nothing feels better than making your own way, and knowing any life decision you make — from planning a vacation to going on a shopping spree — doesn't require anyone else's permission but your own.
How to celebrate: Splurge on something you'd normally feel guilty about, like a three-course prix fix menu or a night of $15 cocktails at the luxe rooftop bar you've been meaning to hit up.
2. The anniversary of your split from a horrendous ex.
This is the very opposite of a wedding anniversary.
My best friend recently called me to explain that in a few weeks, it will be the one-year anniversary of being free of her stifling ex-boyfriend. She asked what we should do to celebrate, and after reflecting on the independent and amazing person she's become since the split, we realized this was a huge reason to party.
Sometimes you have to celebrate these small wins in a big way. After all, it's extremely easy to get stuck in a draining relationship for the rest of your life. Being able to get yourself out of a toxic situation is a huge accomplishment, and it definitely deserves a night out.
How to celebrate: Gather a group of your funnest girlfriends (you know, the ones who won't cry after three drinks), and go out dancing. There will definitely be guys there trying to squeeze into your good vibe train, but sometimes nothing is more fun than forming a dance barrier with your favorite girls and just bopping to Drake by yourselves.
3. The anniversary of moving to a new city.
This is a big one in New York. If you've made it one year in the Big Apple, it probably feels like 10, and you deserve a party for merely surviving. By now, you probably know how to haggle for one-hitters on St. Marks Place, and yell at your cab driver for taking you the long way home. And while that might not specifically come in handy if you decide to move somewhere else, the confidence of a New Yorker is unparalleled, and it will certainly help you out for the rest of your life.
How to celebrate: Do something that screams New York tourist, like checking out the Empire State Building view you've always been curious about, or getting lost in a weekend sea of people on the Brooklyn Bridge. The only difference is, when you see everyone pulling out their maps and wondering what direction to take the R train to, stand there like you DGAF and own it when you say, "Yes, Central Park is uptown."
4. The anniversary of paying off your student loans.
That is, if you ever make it to this point. Personally, I like to treat my loan reminders like spam email I ignore and am too lazy to unsubscribe from. Also, if I don't pay it, what REALLY HAPPENS? Also, government, if you're reading this, it's fucked up to make my MINIMUM payment be almost $400 a month. But I digress.
How to celebrate: If you can actually pay off your student loans on your own and evade the paralyzing interest rates, you not only deserve a party, but a literal gold metal and maybe a job offer ... in money management. But the real accomplishment here is, now that you've paid off your loan debt, you're truly free to make adult progressions in your life, like putting a downpayment on a car or house. So maybe you can celebrate by doing just that.
5. The anniversary of becoming friends with your bestie.
Seriously, who needs a wedding anniversary when you have the date you found your true soulmate? From knowing way too much about your co-workers to being willing to wingman you at all costs, your bestie is a definitive part of your life post-college. You know when people say, "I can't wait to grow old and raise our kids together?" They're never talking to their significant other.
How to celebrate: Head back to the seediest bar you used to hit up when you were both four years younger and barely able to make rent each month. Relish in the fact that you're both at least probably 5 percent classier than you were then, and take advantage of that can and a shot combo for $5.
Sure you have plans to get married one day, but for now, getting off your parents' bills and finding a soul sister who truly understands you just feel like more important things to accomplish right now. The best part is, these are all accomplishments to celebrate from the life you've built by yourself. A significant other can find his way in later.