Today was my parent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary. My sister and I had a surprise party for them last month and I posted about that (see below if interested) earlier about what it means to be a witness and how this really came through when thinking about the value of a long-term relationship like that.
But today, I want to acknowledge the importance of milestones. Many of us might not make it to a 50th wedding anniversary. For my parents, this achievement is a testament to a commitment to each other and a dedication to marriage that maybe not many might find themselves the recipients of. And at the same time, it also represents the reality of gratitude that can envelope milestones like this because, let’s face it, there is also an element of fortune involved. (For those who know my mother, a former English teacher, I am not sure she would forgive me for ending one sentence with a proposition and starting the next with a conjunction but hey, this is my blog.)
I don’t mention fortune to take away in any way the hard work and slogging through the day to day required to get to milestones like golden anniversaries. I only mention it to give some of us a little slack – and a little permission to celebrate milestones we are part of, regardless of whether they are 50 years or 50 seconds (withstanding tooth pain, anyone?).
So, what does this actually mean? Well, it’s pretty individual. I know a lot of people – too many people – who are just too hard on themselves for being at a point in their lives where they expected more, they deserve to suffer less, they feel trapped or might feel as if they missed their opportunities in life. The truth is that many of us, maybe all of us, have some of these feelings.
In 2019, I would ask that we each find one milestone to celebrate – with at least one other person – no matter how big or small – losing 5 pounds, paying off that credit card bill, learning to change a tire, signing up for a class, eating vegetarian one day each week or finally donating all those items cluttering your closet to Purple Heart. Just do it and then grab a friend and celebrate- with a hike, a drink, a cappuccino – whatever. Why? Because milestones are markers of progress – where you were and where you are going. Don’t wait 50 years. Start this year and be kind to yourself.
I have friends I am certain will see their 50th wedding anniversary and I am humbled and happy for them. I also have friends that I know will continue to reflect on how to get started – on anything. Starting IS a milestone. And you don’t have to wait 5 decades to do it.
Until next time,
If you are interested in what I posted about my parent’s anniversary, here you go:
On Sunday, my sister and I had a surprise 50th Anniversary party for my parents – surrounded by 70 plus souls representing decades of family and friends. I had the honor of giving a short speech and shared thoughts I had put together last week to try to capture the emotion of the day: 1. Einstein said that “there are only two ways to live your life: as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is a miracle.” and I do believe, even cynical me, that it’s all a miracle – the twists and turns that bring people together over decades to share a moment. 2. My parents have a good marriage because of the nature of understanding what it means to bear witness to someone else’s experience – whether good or bad. After 5 decades, they are able to validate each other’s experiences and witness all that has passed and all that will come to pass.
Maybe not all of us can say the same but I ask that we each honor those special people in our lives that serve as our witnesses. In today’s day and age it’s so easy to lose sight of moments and it’s the moments that, when we take a pause, are almost too overwhelming to take in. But that’s what life is about. I’m really proud of them. It hasn’t been easy and I am very grateful to be a witness to their 50th.