The traditional rites of passage are easy to name. There’s middle school graduation, and then there’s high school graduation, and then there’s college graduation. In between those, you get your first kiss, lose your virginity and go to prom. You get your first paycheck. You get hired at your first job. You turn 21, when you use your real license to order your first legal drink.
These are all well and good. But I was working on an article the other day that made me realize that maybe there are some other milestones that are unique to us as Millennial women that aren't celebrated quite like the others.
I wrote a round-up of moments in which Millennials tried to play it cool and failed miserably. And the responses I got showed me something: We’ve all done it. We've all realized that playing it cool is actually a pretty difficult task.
Failing at playing it cool isn't your typical moment of maturity. You didn't get a diploma, and Vanessa Carlton didn't write any songs about it. But that doesn’t make it any less of a defining moment in a Gen-Y woman’s life.
And it’s not just that. There are so many moments in our lives that are simultaneously so small and yet so vital to our growth. But they go unnoticed. I decided to celebrate them all with this article.
Here they are: 50 Generation Y coming-of-age moments.
1. When you got rejected and were shocked that you didn't die.
2. When you knew when it was time to go home.
3. When you realized it’s okay to say “no.”
4. When you tried to play it cool and failed miserably.
5. When you had a hangover that made you regret every time you ever drank, ever.
6. When you realized you don’t have to document everything on social media.
7. When you realized sex can actually be fun.
8. When you dropped the stigma of using dating apps.
9. When you rocked the dark lipstick you'd been too afraid to wear.
10. When you realized you're perfectly capable of getting over someone.
11. When you genuinely wanted to spend a weekend doing sober things.
12. When you didn’t go out the night before because you knew you had to be feeling great for what you had planned the next morning.
13. When you let yourself take something seriously.
14. When you let yourself cry.
15. When you went batsh*t crazy over a boy.
16. When your drink of choice graduated from a Natty Light to an ice-cold IPA.
17. When you confronted your friend about what was bothering you.
18. When you stuck up for yourself.
19. When you stopped seeing your Facebook profile as a reflection of your life.
20. When you let a toxic friendship fade.
21. When you had an orgasm from penetration.
22. When FOMO stopped applying to you.
23. When your apartment became more than a transient living space.
24. When you become somebody’s boss.
25. When you graduated from living up to other people’s expectations.
26. When you let go of your parents’ opinion of you.
27. When you ate something healthy, and it actually tasted good.
28. When you had the courage to say how you felt.
29. When you went for the person you actually liked, and not the one you were supposed to like.
30. When you had your first Tinder/Bumble/OKCupid date.
31. When you started drinking for reasons other than getting drunk.
32. When you graduated from red Solo cups.
33. When you stopped making excuses.
34. When you actually stopped caring about what other people thought of you.
35. When you cooked a meal that wasn’t pre-packaged.
36. When you started to take pride in your own apartment.
37. When you realized you had enough money to buy more than just the essentials.
38. When you bought a plane ticket on your own.
39. When you got your own credit card.
40. When somebody you’re not crazy about left the table, and you didn’t feel the need to talk any sh*t.
41. When you realized it’s okay to ask a guy to put on a condom.
42. When you kept actually kept a secret.
43. When you realized what you’re not into.
44. When you were ghosted by someone you saw in your future.
45. When you ghosted someone who saw a future with you.
46. When you stopped being embarrassed about your past.
47. When you embraced the things you always hated about yourself (your big nose, your tiny boobs).
48. When you let yourself be sad.
49. When you realized nobody is actually as happy as they seem on Instagram.
50. When you felt like it was the end of the world, but life went on, and you realized it wasn’t.