I was thinking about milestones in life. Author Gail Sheedy used to call some of them Passages. On a trip, or when doing a difficult hike, or in sales targets in the case of a sales person, there are often milestones that one sets as a personal goal or as proof of achievement. In life, there are often significant milestones in life. Examples of these include: entering kindergarten; graduating from high school; graduating from college; getting that first post college job; getting married; having children; the empty nest; retirement. There are milestone birthdays: becoming a teenager; reaching voting age; turning 21: entering the various decades; turning 65; and so forth.
Why do we mark or make note of these milestones? Typically, each implies a strategy shift. Now I recently turned 65. So I have been thinking about that. To answer the question you may have, no I am not retiring. I am however, thinking about stones. To be specific, in reconfiguring my strategies and priorities I am using different filters than before. The shift is not because it is required. However, the shift could not happen until I had accumulated sufficient life experiences in specific areas resulting in the right kind of wisdom for me. This is not to say it will be the same for anyone else.
I said I am thinking about stones. I am examining people, places, things, responsibilities and more. The first question is which people, things and activities help me to stay on my mission. These would be touchstones and stepping stones. By that I do not mean I walk on them. I do mean that because of them I am encouraged to stay on God’s path (analogy could be a bridge or guard rail). Then there are people, things, and responsibilities that bring emotional clutter, things that bring me way down, and do not feed my soul. Let’s face it, everyone has some of that. Sometimes it is unavoidable, I will grant you that. But make no mistake about it. These are millstones. However, when you are at a certain stage of life’s journey, you must stay on your path and guide others to theirs as well. Let go of millstones and stick to the path. It is a legacy and mission I believe we each have.
So perhaps the milestone I am thinking about is a big sign that says: Girl, the best is yet to be. Fight the good fight. Continue to run your race. You have running buddies to accompany you. I am still a perennial optimist. I continue to believe it is important, in these times, to believe anyway. I still believe what my mom and her sisters taught me: do not curse the darkness ~ light a candle. I say this: if you are discouraged, if you feel like you are in the dark, come over. God will light your path too. Remember: I have a candle and lots of matches. Bring your candle that you can’t light. Passages ~ milestones ~ touchstones ~ stepping forward, onward and upward.
What milestones, touchstones, stepping stones, and millstones have you noticed in life?