My son finished his first year in Middle School today. Tomorrow he turns 13. The next day, my husband and I will commemorate our 15th wedding anniversary. In two weeks, I’m due to attend my 30th High School Reunion. And yes, for those quick mathematicians out there, you are right, that means that I have a big milestone birthday looming in a couple of years. Yes, it is still a couple of years away, but I feel it sitting there waiting for me, an ominous and unwelcome beast luring me into another decade. I’m reminded of that great line in the movie When Harry Met Sally, where Sally is having a full-blown meltdown, and sobs “I’m going to be 40!” Harry asks “when?” and she replies “Someday!”
Milestones are funny things. When we are young, like my son, they are exciting and we look forward to them eagerly. He has so many big moments to look forward to… his first date, first girlfriend, moving on to High School, turning 16, learning to drive, turning 18 and being able to vote, going to College…. When we are young, we want time to go quickly so we can jump into that next cool event or stage in our lives, and celebrate with abandon, eagerly anticipating the future ahead of us.
When we reach our mid-life stage, milestones are certainly something to be celebrated – but they are bittersweet. Now we want time to slow down – even pausing from time to time would be the best – so we can savor each moment. For years I’ve wanted time to slow down so I could linger and enjoy my little boy – the one who is now becoming a teenager. Like any Real Woman, I’ve wanted time to slow down to enjoy my own youth, and not see the years tick by in the mirror. And now, with each milestone, I think we naturally start to take inventory. Am I where I imagined I’d be, or wanted to be, at this stage in my life? Have I done what I wanted to do professionally and personally? What do I still want and need to do?
I can say with complete honesty that I’ve so far had a pretty darn amazing life. I have had some great experiences, good health, have a wonderful family, incredible friends, a home I love and enough money to put food on the table and pay bills. It hasn’t been peaches and cream every step of the way, but I do believe each milestone I’ve crossed so far has happened for good reasons. But I’m not done yet – there is still so much I want to do, places I want to see. So I better get busy.
Perhaps I’m feeling a bit more anxious about upcoming milestones because in the wee hours of the morning today, I had a bizarre nightmare that I had received bad news about my health. I’m reasonably confident this was only a bad dream, since I just passed my annual physical with flying colors. My husband has wisely pointed out that I’ve had too much on my mind and have been having anxiety dreams. He’s probably correct, along with the fact it is PMS time and we all know how wacky we can get.
However, after some thought, I’m going to take my disconcerting dream as a message learned – life is short…. It’s time to work on my bucket list and get busy planning my next set of goals. As the old song says, “I gotta lotta livin’ to do.” I’m going to start by joining my son with his next step — by organizing a wicked cool birthday pool party for him. What better way to relive the excitement of the future, than through the eyes of our kids?
My new motto: Less trepidation, more celebration.