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!!