Today is a milestone of sorts for me. With this post I have published 100 blogs since creating In My Own Words. I was a bit surprised to learn that in 2015 http://www.papaswords.com was viewed in 93 different countries. And yet I still question my impact or influence with my readers, an unfortunate part of my character.
A milestone defined is something that signifies a life event, change or achievement. Simplified a mile stone is a stone marker used to mark each progressive distance of one mile. Some milestones are dedicated to historical events. I’ll never forget as a young boy on vacation with my family in the car I would see these road signs that read “Historical Marker Ahead”. We were usually in too much of a rush to stop to read them and I always wondered what it was that happened at these spots that was important enough to erect a monument for our rememberance. Today when I travel and see these I try to make a point of stopping to read them. The details in events of the past become more fascinating to me as I age.
Milestones are often a time or opportunity to stop and reflect. In a month I’ll be turning 55. I’m not yet certain how I will respond to this particular milestone. Birthdays, like New Years are undoubtedly the more common milestones we face each year. Lately I’ve spent much time in self-reflection over my past years. I will always have the same questions; have I helped anyone along the way, could I have done more, could I have done things differently, how will I be remembered when I’m gone, will I be missed, will I have regerts (like a tattoo gone wrong). These are questions I can’t help but ask. These are the concerns of both over achievers and those of low esteem-what is my purpose and have I achieved it or have I fallen short. I may never know these answers but just asking them help to keep me on track as I approach the next milestone.
I’m not sure what success means. I still don’t know how one determines if they have fulfilled a purpose or measured up. What type of milestones have I left along my journey? I can think of a few that if read would encourage others to do something similar. And sadly I can also name a few markers that when read would cause others to not follow the same path. In that respect I suppose even mistakes can be used as a lesson to others if they take the time to stop along the road and read the historical milestones. I don’t really want to be the person that others look at and say “I don’t want to be like him”, but even that has a purpose.
Life is so full of opportunities for us to make decisions that ultimately determine the markers we leave behind for others. Our lives are a living milestone, ever changing but always readable. A life may be marked by a successful career or marked by a failed business. It may be marked by a long and exemplary marriage or by divorce and failed relationships. It can be marked by a life of faith in One who left us many milestones, or marked by a life of indulgence and denial of the spiritual realm. Each and every choice we make on our path impacts our journey and leaves behind a marker for other travelers to stop and read. We want to believe that our markers are more positive than negative, that our children and family are proud to claim our markers and that others are encouraged to stop and read them on their journeys.
I hope that my posts have been an encouragement to those who have stopped long enough to read them. I keep posting so that even one person may find a nugget or two to help them in their own journey. I write words of hope to compensate for a life of mistakes and lessons learned. And even if some of the milestones of my own life signify battles and defeats, there’s encouragement in knowing someone else’s course might change as a result. With that in the forefront of my mind, I will begin the second hundred posts and hope that those who come along later and read the markers will be impacted either by my successes or my missteps. Either way it’s all good.