Today marks the 3rd anniversary of my move to California. As a former Army brat and current wanderer, I’ve had more than my share of move-aversaries. So this milestone may be a lame one, but I’m taking it anyways – because I like milestones.
In fact, we all like milestones. We like milestones so much that the celebration of these sign posts on the road of life begins before we’re even born. “First ultrasound!” “First kick!” We like milestones so much that we start arbitrarily chunking time so we can have more of them. “Ten weeks!” “Eleven months!” We like milestones so much that we film, photograph and otherwise fanatically document everything from first haircuts to first bites of solid food to first pairs of shoes. Then we take the exit ramp shortly after our “First chocolate cake face-plant!” at the “First birthday party!” and we slow down for a little while. Mile markers come further apart. SD cards become full.
Once we’re a little older and Mom and Dad no longer fawn over our 500th somersault or two-thousandth day of school, we begin to create our own milestones. We strategize the perfect two-week anniversary present with cute-boy-from-biology. We mark every square on our calendars with the countdown to graduation. We celebrate first cars, first jobs, first apartments, first time we pay the car insurance without help from our parents. We map out our own mile markers.
And as adults, when it’s finally up to us to recognize (or not) the milestones of our own lives, we each pick the route that suits us best:
Mile Markers: Mile Markers embrace essential milestones with an average and appropriate amount of gusto. They plan for years to recognize their 10,000th customer, they take two weeks’ vacation for a 20th anniversary cruise, and they will go all out on over-the-hill gear for your big 40th birthday shindig. If it has a 0, it’s worthy.
Right Laners: Right Laners are always ready to make an exit to avoid a milestone. You know you’re in the company of a Right Laner when you’ve been friends for six years before you realize you have no idea when their birthday is. They shrug off recognition and they never learned how to high five. They do not remember their anniversary because they don’t need a calendar to tell them they’ve loved you forever.
Speeders: Speeders run from a milestone. They will be out of town on business for their 50th birthday and they refused to watch the 65th Annual Tony Awards on principle. They don’t make New Year’s Resolutions and they quit after their 99th sit-up.
Watch for Falling Rockers: Milestones are equal parts excitement and anxiety to WFFRs but they hide both like a bad rash. Their brilliantly choreographed mani-pedi-teeth-whitening-whilst-cake-baking-tango leaves them armed for any milestone but always feeling something terrible is bound to happen. WFFRs always have an extra appetizer in the freezer and they would never dare miss an oil change.
Landmarkers: You always see a Landmarker’s milestone coming. They warn you when they’ve lost 9.8 pounds so you’re primed to cheer appropriately for the big 10. They keep you abreast as they tick off their to-do lists. They invite you out for dinner solely so they can earn their level 3 Foodie badge on Foursquare and then don’t tag you – you didn’t help.
World’s Biggest Ball of Stringers: WBBOSs believe it doesn’t necessarily have to have a 0 or 5 at the end to be a monumental milestone. They throw the best 29th birthday parties, they will take you out for drinks for your “friend-aversary,” and they do a celebratory happy dance every time their socks pair up coming out of the laundry. Any landmark is worthy of acknowledgement. They stop at every Route 66 museum.
Yielders: The Yielder will insist she hates milestones. She will roll her eyes when my “Seventh Annual Christmas Party!” save-the-date arrives obscenely early in June but will secretly be strategizing her white elephant gift. She will adamantly oppose the happy hour in honor of her promotion but then be annoyed when you decide against planning it. She will stop at the World’s Biggest Ball of String but “only because you wanted to.”
I’m a combo Landmarker and WWBBO. If there is no true milestone I’ll simply create it - like I did back in the two-week-anniversary-zone. I celebrated the series finale of Lost with a Hawaiian theme party, my 33rd birthday was as memorable as my 30th, and I believe letting everyone know when we’re 100 days from Christmas is a public service. So happy three year move-aversary to me!
What route do you veer toward when approaching a milestone?