I came across this article this morning about how women are making new milestones in their lives now that they have more choices. I’d argue that they’re often chastised for those choices, but I digress…a bit. The important part of this is that we are starting to see a change in the way we perceive life. Or at least some of us. The end goal isn’t marriage and procreation for all of us anymore, and that’s a wonderful thing. We are so much more than our reproductive organs.
We are women…hear us roar.
The article listed the following as new milestones and I thought I’d share with you my experiences and thoughts on them as a milestone in general. I hope you’ll play along.
- Losing Your Virginity
Milestone? Yes, but don’t let it define you. I made this out to be more important than it was. In fact, looking back, I wish I had just done it sooner and been done with it. I made too much out of it and it made too much out of me. My fear of it (mostly because of the fear of my own body) needed to be removed so I could move on and enjoy my life and myself. I did it and we all moved on.
- Getting Your Period
Milestone? Yes. But only because it’s still such a secret to many girls. Otherwise it’d just be a biological stepping stone. I remember reading Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Despite the way in which the technical details of the story aged poorly (belts for sanitary pads, anyone?), I think every girl should read this. Judy Blume is magical. Unlike Margaret, I actually got my period before most of my friends–even some that were older than me. I was kind of an early bloomer in that respect and so the thing I remember most about it was being alone.
- Learning How to Masturbate
Milestone? Maybe. I guess for those women who haven’t done it, it is one. But to me it’s something that evolves over time and changes as your body changes. So I don’t really know how this is one set milestone. But I hear about women who have never touched themselves and…to be quite frank…I don’t get it. How have you never done that? Haven’t you ever driven down a bumpy road or sat on a washing machine and thought “Gee whiz…I could get off like this at home with a bit more effort!” ???
- Standing Up For Yourself/Someone Else
Milestone? Yes. For sure. I think this one should be a pure standing up for yourself. Women are much more likely to stand up for others and let themselves take the blame and the shame. To me, that’s not a milestone. But standing up for yourself? Damn straight that’s a brilliant thing. Learning how to say a simple “no” is something we should teach girls (and boys) much earlier.
- Falling in Love
Milestone? Sure. But was this not one ten or twenty years ago? I fall in love in weird ways. And my problem hasn’t been falling in love, it’s been falling in love with the right people.
- Dumping Your First Shitty Boyfriend/Girlfriend
Milestone? Yes. Also could be letting go of an unhealthy love.
- Finding Your People
Milestone? Yes. But not just finding your own people, but learning how to do it. It has to be able to be replicated. I have my own people in each era of my life. Some stick with me, some fade out. But high school, college, law school, beyond…it’s all been about finding my people.
- Picking a Major/Focus
Milestone? No. You have to do it. You have to pick a major to get a degree. And these days, picking a major doesn’t mean picking a profession or way of life. So I don’t think it carries the same weight. And a bachelor’s degree doesn’t carry the same weight either.
- Taking Your First Road Trip
Milestone? No. Wicked fun? Yes. Great memories are necessary to a full life, but this is no more of a milestone than other great times.
- Finding Your Look
Milestone? No. If your look is static, then yeah…I guess. But mine isn’t. And it’s mostly what is comfortable and clean that day. What if you just don’t care enough about a look to let this be a milestone? Because that’s where I’m at with it.
- Trying to Have an Adult Relationship
Milestone? Maybe. The “trying” thing bothers me. I tried to have an adult relationship with my eight imaginary husbands (all named Bobby or J.R.) when I was five. So how special was that? Having an adult relationship? Yeah….that one is different. That one takes work and sacrifice and admitting you can be wrong and learning and growing and fighting and building. Sure. That one is a milestone.
- Facing Your Finances
Milestone? Not sure. This might be the lawyer in me, but…define this, please. Because I get what they’re saying but it’s a constant freaking battle. It’s not like I hit a certain age and took control of my finances Suze Orman style. I just can’t. I never will be able to mentally or financially. Sorry. But I’m not sorry. I can’t let money have this much influence over who I am as a person. Learning that money doesn’t just magically appear? Yeah. But for those of us who grew up without that sense of entitlement or a limited version of it, that lesson isn’t exactly one we need to learn in the same way.
- Loving Your Body/Actually Liking Yourself
Milestone? Yes. But not in the way it’s phrased. I remember the first time I heard of size acceptance and fat acceptance. And since then it’s been a journey. So that moment was a milestone, but the rest is hard work. I’ve gone through phases where I’ve loved my body, where I’ve hated it and where I’ve ignored it. That’s natural. But learning that you can love your body despite what everyone else says about you and those like you? Hell yeah that’s a milestone.
Other milestones that I’d add:
- Deciding whether you want to try to have kids or live child free. Our reproductive systems do not govern our lives, but it’s a decision we have to make and remake and live with one way or another. So it’s still relevant. But it’s relevant in the way in which it’s relevant to men and women alike.
- Finding a job you really love. I’ve had bits and pieces of this, but nothing that I enjoy 80% of the time and pays the bills.
- Learning your parents are human. They aren’t infallible. They aren’t evil either. (in most cases) They’re just people that made choices like you make choices and those choices may or may not be wrong.
- Taking one real vacation and doing real travel at least once each. Vacation=relaxation. Travel=explore. To be honest, I love to travel but sometimes it leaves me more exhausted than when I started. That’s how you know you’re doing it right…you need a few days to recuperate. Every now and again we need a vacation where we relax and are catered to regularly. If you can afford it, I highly recommend. But don’t confuse the two because they are not the same.
What did I miss? Do you agree with the list above? What would you add/take away?