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Time Between the Milestones

I have a vivid recollection of my mother’s birthday card message on the day I turned 10: “Congratulations, Sara. Wow! Double digits!” I looked at the words and considered that I now hit the milestone of becoming a big girl.

From birth to death, we’ve categorized milestone years. And, for better or worse, we expect these milestone years to be the biggest years of our lives. But, as I spoke with my friend about this a few nights ago, one question remained: what about the time in between? She noted,

“We’re not trained for life between the milestones.”

Thirteen years old marked the beginning of my teenage years. At 16, I received my drivers license, and at 18 I legally become an adult. I exited my teenage years at 20, could legally drink at 21 and turned a quarter century at 25.

I used to believe my youth would end at 30.

I have watched my parents climb “over the hill” at 40 and blow out candles at their golden years of 50.

This week, I sit on the horizon of my twenty-ninth birthday and cannot help but reflect back on the journey of my twenties. It has been a wild ride full of travel, flourishing friendships, failed relationships, confusion, excitement, happiness, restlessness and peace. I have asked countless questions.

I still don’t have all the answers, but I’ve made more sense of this chaotic decade than when I started blogging about it four years ago. I can now declare some “adult” decisions with certainty, have found answers to year-long question and reached destinations I did not know existed.

My city and career moves have given me a better understanding of the type of city I want to live in long-term. I now know what kind of job leaves me fulfilled and what happens to my sanity while working a job that doesn’t. I have come closer to understanding what I want in relationships – with friends, partners and food.

These, to me, are the bigger milestones of life. They are the significant strides we make at lost ages like 28, years with no categorical significance or expectations of any traditional milestone.

Maybe we’re not supposed to receive training for the time spent between our age milestones. After all, we cannot learn values like trust, patience and letting go through verbal training. We can only learn them through experiences we face on our life journeys.

Here’s to the last year of my twenties – to the complicated ride, and to the free-spirited ladybug, which remind us to fly free and trust that answers come when we stop insisting on finding them.

Here’s to living another year living by ladybugs.

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