Blog: Which milestones really matter? 6



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There are many milestones in any one life.  At birth our parents are keen for the early milestones of first cry, first smile – that is not just wind – first words, steps, a diaper-free day and night.  These milestones become a little less ‘baby-centric’ and more ‘little independent person’ styled.  We do our first writing, reading, painting, as well as all the birthdays, candle blowing and cake demolishing!


Later on there are the scholastic milestones, which are really more achievements than actual expected milestones. Not everyone will have the same levels of achievement; where the milestones will be more similar to all.  Riding first bike, for example, rather than doing up laces on shoes!


Major milestones cover the region of all of life – becoming a teenager, first car/driver’s license, girlfriend/boyfriend, legal age for drinking alcohol – in public!  Voting age, able to leave school, first job, day at University and so on, have different meanings according to your culture, country and laws.  In some countries, some of these will never be a milestone for a woman, and some places will have a boy armed and dangerous before he reaches puberty.


First love is a milestone many remember fondly, some will even still be with that ‘love’ many years on.  Normally, that ‘first’ is soon followed by the milestone that has more terror for new brides and teens with raging hormones – no, not the sex part; the sleeping together part!  Does he snore? Do I? Do I undress in bathroom or bedroom? Who gets which side of the bed?


The first sexual encounter milestone, is one that we many reach without any forethought. It just happened, they say. Well, it should be more special than that. Even if they are in their teens and in the back of his Dad’s car, it should be more than just a quick fumble, and an ‘oh, was that it?’!


Sadly for some, including myself, that special moment was taken, rather than shared.  Not that we chose to experience it that way; the situation was not of our choice.  Mine was as a result of an older school teacher offering me a lift home from a Uni student party. He taught us in Grade 3 so I felt safe – in fact, I did not question his motives for a moment. I just accepted a lift home, as the buses had finished for the night, and I would’ve had to walk otherwise. Which oddly, was probably the safer option!


Later milestones are more age-related; engagements, weddings, babies and much later, funerals.  We choose our life partners as best we can, we do the white frock/3 tier cake thing, and then look forward to the future together. I have known some to try that step over and over, and still never be sure of success. Personally, I did the ‘engagement’ 3 times, the ‘wedding’ twice, the babies 3 times (plus a couple of ring-ins!). The last milestone mentioned – well, I would not be the author if I had been there! Been to a few family ones, some sad, some very special. I’ve been to a few friend ones also… some for teen friends – all very sad.


My milestone list has had a few unexpected add-ons, apart from the earlier mentioned ones.  Most are health related. Others are going on my first cruise – for 6 weeks! Also  seeing New York, Borobudur, Buried Army, Great Wall, Bangkok, Mt Fuji, Arnhem Land, Fraser Island, EXPO in Shanghai, The Golden Triangle and the Mekong.  The list also has problems  on it – depression, bankruptcy, cancer – but nothing comes close to the milestone I have just reached.


Now, I am 65!!


The Doctors told my parents I may not live to 30… how wrong were they!


I have the most magical husband who is loving, caring, gentle and intelligent.  Things my first attempt at marriage certainly lacked.  We have a frugal life, with occasional frills – yet it is not hard to face it every day.  We can smile at the world, and each other, knowing that what we have in our little life is special, to us. And many would want to feel that special, we know, because many have told us they envy our close relationship.


Our mismatch of a family may be spread far and wide. Some may prefer to not be a part of this group but those that do, we love dearly.  Michael and Juliet, and Ray and his own family, are all very much in our thoughts daily.  The rest, well, they are the ones that are missing out on the fun!


I have reached official retirement age!!  Not from life but from paid work!  I am never going to retire (or even tire) of life itself.  There is more fun to be had, and each new day can bring a touch of sad, a touch of happy, and always, a touch of fun!!


photo: babykrul

Raewyn Oliver

I live with my husband and best friend, Paul, and our daft ginger cat The Wuggs, in Bundaberg, Queensland. We both volunteer with Sailability and also Red Cross hospital library service. We have been retailers on the Show/Field Days circuit, motel managers, art gallery owners - in 2 countries, manufacturers and artists in wood! We have traveled together through Asia, USA, as well as Australia. We are a blended family of 5 grown-ups, 2 not married, 3 grand kids - too far away to see in person. I enjoy writing short stories, reading, cooking and wine. Finances permitting we would travel more - Europe beckons!

  1. We can identify with so much of your journey, as we are similar, well a few years older, I am 74 now and husband 78, but we have had many of the milestones and bumps in the road you have, love art, writing and traveling. Welcome to retirement, which as you point out is not an end.
    Hope you have the opportunity for more travel. We would love to, but the piggy bank is empty.

  2. Loved your article Raewyn. Can relate to so much of it and after retirement is when life really starts.

  3. Can relate to so much of your story Reawyn. 3 marriages, 2 divorces 1 passing. Grandsons I don’t see often enough and 3 grown up children, 2 girls 1 boy. My life is pretty full and travel is not an option on a pension. I have been single for several years and truly have no wish for a full time partner. I have a really lovely man that is a very good friend and like me he loves his own place. I think the most important milestone for me came about 12 years ago when I lost 65% if my sight. It reminds me every day how lucky I am to be alive and to have my lovely girls in my life. I can do everything except drive a car. Something I thought I would never get over. I did and it was no where as traumatic as I thought it would be. Life is way to short to let it just go by and I fully intend not to waste a minute of the rest of mine. Congratulations on reaching 65. It is a fun time ahead. 🙂

  4. The first steps into widowhood were a huge milestone for me. I am 67 and was widowed three years ago. I had to rediscover who I was as I had really been a facilitator for all my husbands interests and activities over 40 years. I have reawakened my own talents and interests and life is certainly different and fulfilling.

  5. I enjoyed your story Raewyn. My life has been a series of firsts – when I was about 18 I decided that I would take every opportunity that came up. Have done most except for leaping into the never-never on an elastic band or jumping out of a perfectly healthy aeroplane. Every day there are new firsts. I’m only 64 and a big bit, but the firsts keep coming every day. The first time I retired and the first time I retired again are two milestones recently added to the list.

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