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99 tips for a better world: celebrate milestones (10 of 99)

Photo: Meaghan Cook (

Today’s tip will be so obvious to many of you that you will wonder why I bothered writing it down. ‘Of course you should celebrate milestones!’ I hear you say, as you decorate a cupcake or write in a fancy card with a calligraphy pen.

Take this opportunity to revel in your success at making the world a better place!

For some of us, however, this is a skill that needs developing.

Whether you don’t like making a fuss, or the milestones fly past without you noticing, I would like to make the case for changing your ways.

I am expertly qualified to make this case, as I am a reformed milestone ignorer. I would happily skip birthdays and graduated in absentia (twice). A few years ago I saw the error of my ways and vowed to begin celebrating milestones.

This week has been a big one for milestones. Not only is this the tenth tip (I’ve come so far!) I also celebrated my sister’s 40th birthday and the arrival of my friend’s baby. Furthermore, I am about to celebrate the 600th post on my blog (OK, so not all milestones are created equal).

Please excuse the cheesy use of a dictionary definition…But check this out:

mile•stone [?ma?l?st??n]

1. A stone set up beside a road to mark the distance in miles to a particular place.
2. An action or event marking a significant change or stage in development.

A stone to mark the distance. Isn’t that a conveniently poetic literal meaning?

If that dictionary meaning didn’t stop you dead in your tracks, here a few more good reasons to celebrate milestones.

1. Milestones help you live in the moment
It seems to me that around about 50 per cent of the internet is dedicated to blogs appealing to readers to live in the moment. Indeed, it is a worthy aspiration…and easier said than done. A wild party to celebrate your birthday or drinks with colleagues at the end of an epic project allow you to stop everything and focus on enjoying yourself right now. If you tend to suffer from guilt about what else you should be doing, a milestone helps you justify the extravagance. If you tend to suffer from working 24/7, a milestone is scheduled into your calendar.

2. Milestones remind you to enjoy the journey
Sometimes we get so caught up in what’s next instead of celebrating what already is. We assume the next project/year/house will be the one that catapults us into the life we’ve always dreamed of. Making it a priority to stop, celebrate and reflect on what’s been achieved already helps us realise that the life we’ve always dreamed of – or a few key elements at least – is already here.

3. Milestones are like tap on the shoulder from the grim reaper
I gave my sister a watch for her 40th birthday. When I bragged about how awesome it was to my work colleague, he told me that Chinese custom dictates that one should never give a gift of a watch, as it is a symbol of death. Rather than taking the wind out of my gift-giving sails, I embraced the opportunity to offer a symbol of mortality. I am a firm believer in being aware of our mortality because…well, duh, we are all going to die. Better to get used to it now rather than later and live a life you will be proud of as you take your last gasp.

4. Milestones provide excellent social cues
If expressing our affection for one another was left up to chance, the world would be a miserable place. Even if you are not the type to express loudly and publicly in the middle of a wedding or work Christmas party that you love your brother or boss, showing up, writing a nice card, and maybe even giving a thoughtful gift are all ways to express those hidden warm fuzzy feelings.

5. Milestones give you the perfect excuse for awesomeness
The photo above is of me and a sensational little guy named Angus. In addition to being a blessing for his family and all of us who are glad he could join us, he was also a grateful recipient of a moustache dummy. Which I am sure you will all agree has already made the world a better place.

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One thought on “99 tips for a better world: celebrate milestones (10 of 99)

  1. Pingback: Celebrate milestones (and moustaches) | Where is Sarah?

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