Funny thing about milestones; unless you–the reader–know what the counter (or countdown) is for, you don’t know whether to congraulate or commiserate.
But here’s a hint:
- a counter (adding up days, months, years) usually indicates that you have made a change by choice and you are tracking the time you continue to commit to that change; typically a counter marks the end of a bad choice and the beginning of a new and better choice in life
- a countdown (subtracting days, months, years) usually indicates that you have an event or change in front of you, something yet to come, to anticipate or perhaps to dread
Counters are people like recovering alcoholics, divorcees coming back to life, heart attack survivors. Loss of the counter usually means a backslide into something bad…falling off the bandwagon.
Countdowners are people like students looking toward graduation, couples getting married, parents waiting for their baby to be born.
That would lead you to assume that the end of my counter means that I have fallen off of some positive life bandwagon, but that’s not so. Counters are also people who have lost or put away something, who can mark the last time they had it, and who have been patient and lived well through a long period without something they wanted but couldn’t have or chose not to have.
So I created a milestone event, somewhere off in an unknown future, knowing not if or when having that thing again would happen. For years I didn’t even think of it; it just wasn’t important to me, nor was it harmful in any way either. Sometimes when I did think of it, the milestone aspect was more intriguing than anything…how much longer can I go without it? Why do I still go without it? Was it for a good reason? The right reason? Is it still a good or right reason?
This was a milestone of self-denial, a created milestone, one of my choosing, which isn’t usually the way we think of milestones…a choice. And nearly 15 years of self-denial has afforded me a lot of time and experiences through which to explore things I probably wouldn’t have otherwise, including that thing I denied myself.
But one particular milestone has ended, the counter put away on this one. I have no need–inherent, created, or imposed–to start the counter over. I have accepted an old, wonderful thing back into my life…because I am finally ready for it.
And a new counter toward a completely different, but related milestone has taken its place.