OPINION: WITHOUT MILESTONES, WE'RE LOST
We’re walking on a path, and on this sometimes dark path, it’s easy to get lost. Sometimes, I’m sure we all feel very lost.
When we get lost, the first thing we do is look for landmarks. We look for something familiar so that we can understand where we are. And, once we find the path, we use milestones to guide us so that we don’t get lost again.
Milestones are important.
Our lives are marked by milestones, and I’ve been blessed by many in my life.
I’ve been to weddings, baptisms, graduations, more weddings, more graduations, and even funerals. All milestones shared by families and friends.
But, the most universal milestones off all are birthdays. We all have birthdays; we need them in order to survive.
When we were young, every birthday meant cake, candles, and songs. They meant a lot more, especially for those who celebrated with us.
Yet, as we’ve “grown up,” many of us have decided to start ignoring them. We’re walking a path through an often dark world, and we’re ignoring the most obvious markers of the path.
At first, we decide to skip the cake. Later, we skip the party. Eventually, we settle for a meal, a sombrero, and a group of waiters clapping and singing for us.
Lately, I’m afraid many birthdays have become little more than a thread of Facebook posts.
The problem is that ignoring these milestones, eventually causes us to miss other milestones. We condition ourselves to skip graduations and settle for invisible weddings that we only share after the fact.
We lose the milestones, and eventually, we get lost.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
I recently had the opportunity to help celebrate my sister’s 50th birthday. (Happy Birthday, Margie!)
It was a great milestone, that marked a path that has taken her many places and made her many friends. So, we threw a big party, with music, dancing, food, and drink, and many of her family and friends came to celebrate.
It was a great party for a great sister.
But, for me, that party did more than honor my sister. It reminded me that birthday parties aren’t just for the birthday girl. It reminded me that birthdays are for us to celebrate the life of someone we love.
It’s an opportunity for her to feel loved, but it’s also important for us to be able to express that love.
That’s an important part of the path we walk, and we don’t do it anywhere near enough.
We need to be able to express love.
Celebrating my sister’s 50th birthday was easily a milestone I’ll never forget.
I hope that memory reminds me to keep my eyes open for all the other milestones on the path. There are plenty if I remember to look for them.
I also hope that reading this encourages others to stop ignoring milestones.
I hope that more of us choose to celebrate birthdays and all the milestones we pass.
Watch the news lately; we seem to have no trouble expressing anger and hatred.
We need to remember to express love, so that we remember how to express love.
In the end, if we choose to ignore milestones, we get lost.