Do anniversaries and milestones really matter? The years have passed and the milestones have been crossed, but who really cares? I’m writing this on my 20th wedding anniversary and it feels like any other Wednesday. My parents will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary later this year and apart from the party, it will start out just like any other day on the calendar. Fourth Dimension will turn 10 years old next year, and unless I remind you of that fact, it’ll be just another Monday. Why do we celebrate these things at all?
If you’ve been married, like me, you can probably recall details of that day that on any other day would not be memorable at all. I remember the errands I ran, the clothes I wore, and the feelings I felt. I recall the wave of emotion that washed over me as my beautiful wife-to-be appeared at the back of the church. I vividly remember telling myself to not cry or fall over because that’s what I thought was about to happen. What was this outrageous series of feelings I was experiencing? And twenty years later, telling you about it makes me feel similar feelings that I did that day. It’s surreal.
I often think about other milestones that appear to matter to people. Things like work anniversaries, Facebook friend anniversaries, weight loss milestones, and even the number of steps taken in a day capture our attention in ways that are a bit baffling if you think about them. Who said 10,000 stepsis the right number of steps in a day and why are we all suddenly measuring this?!
I found myself momentarily anxious today because the stock market dropped below 26,000. I thought, “Oh man, is this it? Is this the beginning of the recession?” When I stepped away from the thought in order to see it more clearly, I realized that 26,000 is a wildly arbitrary number that only means something because I decided it did. Does 25,516 mean that our clients will no longer meet their retirement goals? Of course that’s silly, but it’s a way of thinking we’re all sometimes susceptible to.
As I consider the anniversaries and milestones we all enjoy celebrating, I begin to see that time passes so quickly and progress marches on at an increasing pace. Without stopping along the way to savor these milestones, we lose all perspective on what’s really important. A 20-year or 50-year marriage anniversary should be celebrated, as should a 30-year career milestone. Without these moments of reflection, life itself begins to lose some of its meaning, its joy.
So while you may or may not get your 10,000 steps in today, feel free to celebrate when you do. Because why not? When your grandson starts his first day of high school, of course you should post that cute picture online of him when he started kindergarten. And when you get your first Social Security check, you should tell someone about it and get some ice cream to celebrate. Without these highlighted moments in life, it can all become a blur and that’d be a shame.
All the best,
Adam Cufr, RICP®