Numbers and milestones go hand in hand. You reach a new age, you purchase ($$$’s) a new home, or you publish your 100th blog.
Yep! It wasn’t my birthday yesterday and I didn’t buy a house. You got it! I did publish my 100th blog. Wow! High five to myself and a big old pat on the back. I didn’t see that coming. And you guessed it, I did smile ear to ear when the notification popped up in my WordPress alerts yesterday.
Milestones are ours to make, define, and delineate which are meaningful and meaningless.
A lot has happened in the time between my first and last post. For example, my cousin Corey, at 43 years young, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, and I graduated my intro to Improv class, my Advanced Improv, and now I am part of the Players Workshop at Westside. Two hugely different events, yet both meaningful. They represent the tangible milestones, the ones that are easily digested by others, and whose significance is relatively untroublesome to explain.
Mystery riddles most milestones, many of which we never unearth.
This space, Table for One, is my writing desk. It’s a place where I write through thoughts, situations, dreams, quandaries, reflections, struggles, and more. Most mornings, when I choose to write I have nary an idea of the end product. Rarely do I return to my draft folder to resurrect something that didn’t make it on the day it was born. Yes, there are a lot of stillborn blogs in my life. And yes, you’ll never read them.
I experienced two unexpected milestones yesterday. The second was a first-hand impression of me via this blog. I was taken aback and almost fell to tears at the person’s thought that given the opportunity I would welcome my daughter’s father back into my life. My first thought was this clip from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca.
I’m not being dramatic. That really was my thought. Let’s be clear though I don’t hate my ex-husband. Neither of them in fact! My Aunt Mary taught me a long time ago not to hate, we can dislike, but not hate. I do love the father of my daughter. I am not in love with him, nor do I want to recreate something that died long before it was dead. But, that’s the milestone, right? What I understand as truth, another may barely grasp.
Milestones are revealed through the giving and receiving of life experience. What I write, what I put out into this world, is subject to a process by every member of its audience. Each person will interpret, intuit and ingest bits and parts in his or her own way. No person will know the full truth, because a) only a sliver of my life makes it into the blog post, and b) it’s one-sided so it’s biased.
Karen writes, “Karen is great.”
Audience reads, “Karen is great.”
Karen things the audience believes that she is great.
Karen is wrong.
Ding ding ding! Why is that a milestone? Because it’s a measurement of our depth of understanding, our reflex to which is self-awareness. It is challenging to communicate to anyone, let alone share with an audience of some friends and acquaintances, but mostly one-time or present strangers, what happens in a fairly amicable divorce. What happens in a sad divorce? What happens when the anger and rage once present in a marriage, is superseded by common sense which eventually leads to divorce? What happens when two people walk away from life as spouses but remain true to parenting roles, the subject of their love is not another but the child they created together?
Face it, anger is an easy emotion to identify with, it’s the bedrock that builds a villain’s soul. Anger keeps us rooting for the underdog or the victim. But Peace is a shit ton tougher to understand and accomplish. Look at the Middle East for proof of that. In understanding peace we question how and why the truce was called? Who called it? How did forgiveness surface? How can happiness emerge through sadness? Those are tough questions.
Yesterday’s other milestone came via my friend and yoga teacher Rachel. “It’s so good to see you happy,” she wrote to me. Her observation is a milestone grounded in the measurement of time, but happiness is a less tangible than the events that bookend the time period. She was there when I first walked into Essencia in September 2016, a time when I stood on the precipice of a major life event. She witnessed many life events since then. Sometimes, those changes, those truths, those minute and major milestones don’t make it here to this page, an act that undoubtedly leaves the audience less informed or possibly unintentionally influenced. This practice is not unique. We all try to show our best side while we simultaneously reveal a sliver of our ugliest.
As a street reporter at City News Bureau of Chicago, I learned to assume your audience knows nothing. Details matter. Scribe them and communicate them. Educating the audience was taught at Improv, too, wherein every scene we need to communicate the relationship, the environment, and the stakes. Even when done well, the audience will never fully know your truth.
My truth is mine, and your interpretation of it is yours, nevertheless, reaching that understanding is a milestone for which I am grateful. My sincere thanks to my 66 followers the bulk of whom reflect the stats associated with 100 blog posts. Outside of 100, two other milestones made Wednesday, March 14 happened in real life via receivers communicating their impressions to me. And me accepting them and appreciating them, and in one case refuting them. Over the course of 100, now 101 blogs posts, I realized that moments of self-awareness are neither minute or major, yet still, constitute memorable and meaningful milestones.