Saturday, July 20, 2013

Milestones

We all have our lives marked in milestones. It starts with our parents tagging our achievements from tooth-cutting to first steps, first this and that.

The first real milestone I waited for was getting my period. Idiot. I lived in agony for two to three days a month for year afterward. Anyone around me lived in agony for a few more days each month. Then came the usual markings for most of us:

  • 16th birthday
  • First kiss (or serious crush)
  • Driver's license & first car
  • Graduating high school
  • Standard college or the college of life
  • Love and Marriage and sex (in whichever order)
  • First house or other major investment
And on and on and on.

Then there are the other things that can count as being profound to our existence. For me, having death take away someone I loved showed me how real life can be. I sometimes think that only death can do that.

Do you remember the first time someone broke your heart? Or the first time you did some awful thing that you hope never comes to light?

I remember the first mistake I made that will haunt me for all the days I breathe.

All those milestones are from when I was younger. These days, I take some things more serious and other things don't touch my soul at all. 

The other day, my great-nephew grabbed my face and planted a big wet, snotty kiss under one eye. That was a moment that I never want to forget. Being cherished by a child feels different to me now that I am older.

The milestones that make me shake my head and think of my parents are the ones they warned me about: "Just wait til you have to squint to read anything." Or: "Help me get up from here, and remember that someone will have to help you one day."

I called my sister from Walmart the other day and had her laughing herself into a crying fit.

"Girl, I am in here looking for the Ben-Gay, and you won't believe how old all these people look!"

"You're old(pause)er."

"Not old like them. They look and act old."

Said the woman slinking down Aisle Three, trying to read the labels on jars of muscle ointments.

It probably makes me sound mentally unfit to say that I sometimes want to cry when I can't just spring right up from sitting cross-legged on the floor. Some months ago - too long ago - I had to tell a date to adjust his embrace because I was getting a crick in my neck. Gone are those acrobatic days of magic when I only had to worry about being respected afterwards. These days I'm lucky when I have to worry about it at all and, when I do, the biggest worry is that 911 might have to be called at some point. How embarrassing would that be?

But.

I am so very thankful to still be counting milestones. 

My sarcoid is back and acting the fool (if you can't tell by the poor composition of this post), and I am just sick to death of it. If I weren't at least getting my figure back from the months of prednisone, I might actually lose a little more of what's left of my mind.

But, again, I am so glad to still be here, bitching and complaining about it all. I'm not looking for the milestone that will be marked by a final church service.

Peace
--Free

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