June seems to be littered with milestones, or certainly my June 2016.
This month, my oldest stepdaughter got married, my youngest stepdaughter moved onto high school, and my second niece graduated high school. Just like that, they are all in new chapters of their lives.
And of course, these events make me think and wonder and ponder. They make me think about my own milestones, the ones I celebrated and the others I shovelled off to the side. I wonder about the other milestones that we all skip over because we are adults now. Of course, there are the obligatory milestones like marriage and university graduation, but what about the other milestones of our lives? Do we forget about them?
At my nieces graduation, their guest speaker, talked about how life is hard – and rarely what you expect. The gymnasium was chalked full of people nodding their heads in agreement, we were all respectful, and anticipatory as he continued his message talking about depression, divorce, among other hardships. I think everyone enjoys those speeches to the ‘young’ people because it gives us two things; helps us feel normal, and helps us remember our own milestones.
So what happens when we get older? Why do we stop recognizing the milestones, or why do we minimize them? Where is it that our perspective on life becomes skewed, perhaps, less optimistic? When do we forget that life is adventure? An opportunity? A gift?
At my high school graduation, I remember feeling optimistic of what the future held, unknowing, perhaps unwittingly, but optimistic and dare I say, excited. And I can tell you today, I have that same feeling with my business. I have not always felt that way about work or life. I, like all of you, have had difficult things to deal with, to survive, to conquer, to move on from. The life events we all face, although different in many ways, are equally similar in other ways.
Maybe we think that 18 year olds are naive, or blinded by youth. But maybe, that blindness and naivety are exactly what infused our optimism and anticipation of what’s next? Maybe we need more of that instead of less?
What if we continue to recognize milestones throughout our lives, or is it just graduation, marriage, house, kids, retirement, and death? What if another milestone was surviving a job you no longer loved? Going to Africa? Paying off your mortgage? Decades long friendships?
What if you started to root for yourself?
What if we celebrated the little ones, the medium ones, and the BIG ones? What if we took stock every June like we ask the high school graduates to and rekindled our belief that there life is an adventure, an opportunity, a gift? What if we remembered, and now believed, that this is not the end, but rather, the beginning?
What would be possible for me, for you, for us? What could we accomplish with a mindset that screamed ‘there is more to come!’ More to love, more to experience, more to see, more, more, more…
I am not saying we need to be irresponsible, or that you should abandon all the things you know to be right. I am saying that the opportunity to experience life doesn’t end with a milestone; it is the beginning of a new one. I am saying that you have the right, and possibly the obligation, to breath in what’s possible. I don’t think you need a million dollars, or a spouse, or a kid, or a pet, or a car; to make any of this happen. I think you need perspective, gratitude, optimism, and a willingness to try. Then try harder.