As a member of the overly-coddled, helicopter-parented, participation medal-receiving millennial generation, I’ll be the first to tell you that we’ve learned to take whatever achievements we can get. Whether that achievement is landing an unpaid internship at the ripe old age of 26 or finally moving out of your parents’ house on the brink of your 30th birthday, we don’t really discriminate because we’re nothing if not naïvely optimistic. We’re also not above turning even the most menial accomplishment into an excuse to binge drink ourselves into oblivion. (Hello Taco Tuesday, Wine Down Wednesday, and Thirsty Thursday!)
Simply put, we’re accomplishment whores.
Saved up enough to take the coffee snob tour of Colombia? Accomplishment. You were the first person in the office with the iPhone 5? Accomplishment. You picked Mercer over Duke in your March Madness bracket? You bet your sweet ass that’s an accomplishment. We may be the generation who saw “selfie” installed in the Oxford English Dictionary, but we’re also the generation that brought you Facebook. How would you know that I recently baked a perfectly executed purple ombré birthday cake without Facebook? (And yes, I count that as an accomplishment.)
Somewhere between the first postgrad wedding you attended and the advent of Facebook milestones, the line between accomplishment and major life event became blurred, leaving us with a splinter cell of Generation Y-ers who seem to think that getting engaged is an accomplishment and booking a nose job is a life event.
This phenomenon dawned on me when the alumni relations chair of my high school class posted a “What’s your biggest accomplishment?” question on our class page. The responses ranged from passing the bar exam to teaching English in Taiwan, but far and away the most common response was “Getting married! 🙂 🙂 !!!”
This left me pondering the difference, so I did some highly scientific Facebook based research to help anyone who may find him or herself wondering if his or her information qualifies as an accomplishment or a life event:
New job? Awesome, definitely an accomplishment.
Getting transferred for the new job? Life event.
Knocked up? This is a life event. Please spare us all the sonogram pictures. Your mom doesn’t know how to work Facebook. That’s what email is for.
Oh, you’re in the hospital perfectly coiffed with a bundle of joy? Still a life event, and no one looks that awesome after giving birth. Seriously, stop.
Got accepted to graduate school, law school, or medical school? Congrats, you’ve got an accomplishment on your hands.
Got married to the love of your life who is also your best friend? Unless you happen to live in a “Jane Eyre”-type novel, this is a life event.
The next time you’re tempted to humblebrag about something, do us all a solid and choose your words wisely. Besides, as gratifying as it is to defriend someone, you might prove to be perfect fodder for my next post.