Milestones not set in stone

magic book with a landscapeI’ve been thinking about milestones a lot lately as I just celebrated another landmark birthday. Crossing from one personal decade into another is a significant event and takes on a life of its own. Connecting with friends who are also making this transition has managed to help us all focus on what we’ve gained over the years – memories, perspective, wisdom – rather than on what we’ve lost – agility, some energy, our youth!

My personal age marker coincided with a milestone the stock market reached last Friday, when the Dow Jones closed above 14,000 for the first time since 2007. While any connection between these two events might seem farfetched, click here to see how a reporter on the national evening news linked them when he interviewed me.

Even though the signpost for an event may be firmly planted and unchangeable, our reactions to it are certainly not set in stone. We have choices to make about how we want to continue on the journey. As we each write our own life stories, here are some of the options that remain open:

Choose which road to take. At any age, we often have several different opportunities available – what interest to pursue, where to live, which job to take. These diverse paths may converge on the same endpoint or they may take us in completely different directions. We may not know the outcome when we begin, but we do have the ability to change course along the way if our initial choice does not seem to be working well.

Decide how to travel the path. For some, being in control and knowing what to expect along the way create an environment of trust. This grounding can bring greater confidence and even the ability to bounce back after a letdown. Other times without overly planning, we can enjoy the result of serendipity and take joy in the unexpected.

Pick who will accompany you. Do you enjoy spending time with old friends and family who know you best? Or meeting new people along the way and learning about their differences? Do you resonate with those in your own age group or would you rather hang out with younger or older folks? One particular person with whom you are especially close or a group of friends? Perhaps you may prefer some solitude and choose to take this part of the trip solo.

Select how fast you will go. You may be filled with ambition and motivation to accomplish a specific goal in record time. Or at this point in your life, you may want to enjoy the process of the journey itself as you ‘stop and smell the roses.’ Your experience along the way will be a result of how you choose to structure this part of your travels. You can focus like a laser on the task at hand or explore and encounter alternatives at the edges.

When you recognize your part in the process and your resilience, you can use these tips to guide you. The choices you make after a milestone event give you the freedom to direct how you might be celebrating the next significant occasion in your life. So get started and have the confetti nearby.

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