Thoughts and ideas to inspire, uplift and affirm the childless and childfree, by circumstance and by choice
Milestones were once real stones placed at intervals along a road so that travellers could gain a sense of how far through their journeys they had come, as well as feeling reassured that they were still on the right path. Now the term is more often used to describe events in our lives that we can use in the same way, to mark and guide progress. It’s a beautiful expression, I think.
Although there are some significant milestones that we celebrate as a society, if we rely on the world around us to acknowledge the accomplishments, changes, windfalls and losses in our lives, many important moments will be allowed to slip through the cracks. Like those old travellers, we will be at risk of losing our way. I think it might be especially important for childless and childfree women to be aware of this possibility, since our own most important moments are not always acknowledged or celebrated.
Susan B. Anthony, one of the childless/childfree women on the pinterest board I have been compiling, has advised that:
“Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.”
Anthony was an active opponent of slavery and a proponent of women’s rights in the nineteenth century. Whether or not they were prepossessing, I have the feeling her own ‘real milestones’ were probably pretty remarkable events. She and Amelia Bloomer travelled all over America together, teaching, lecturing and promoting the feminist cause, journeys that were instrumental in gaining suffrage for women.
I particularly like the story that at the age of sixteen (sixteen!) she went against a gag law and collected two boxes of petitions opposing slavery. I would love to think that before she submitted them, she paused and somehow marked that early milestone in what would prove to be a truly extraordinary life.
If you’re interested in ways to enjoy childless or childfree life a little more, you might also enjoy reading about the importance of getting behind our own decisions and having the confidence to run with some wilder ideas.
But in the meantime, what about you? Are you a believer in marking milestones?