Personal Milestones: Help or Hinderance?


Do milestones visually aid growth and quality of life, or do they alternatively construct a barrier, overwhelming and hindering you from moving forward? These are sentiments I often struggle with, especially when constructing a vision of my life in the future, as well as when attempting to piece together the mental enigma that lives within me. 

On the one hand, milestones can be a really helpful tool for igniting motivation and a sense of purpose into ones life. Particularly in times of depression, I can find myself examining life, and how I would like it to look and feel moving forward into the future. I set myself goals and targets, in the hopes of reaching the lifestyle I want to create for myself, henceforth setting down a clear and efficient pathway to achieving the overall hope of happiness.

However, more often than not, I end up over-fantasising and setting unrealistic targets, which create an immense pressure to be at a certain place in my life at a certain point. I get frustrated when my life takes a different course of action, and my milestones are missed; adapted or just damn-right changed.

This is unnecessarily strenuous on the mind, especially when taking into account that no one can really control the future, or have the ‘picture perfect’ life that is dictated to us in the media, and gauped at from birth in movies and stories, whereby a fairy-tale conclusion is always conveniently reached.

But in consuming such media, we need to remember that convenient is not comprehensive. Life, more often than not, will not go the way you want it to. There is no linear pathway, and even if there was, as human beings we would inevitably take swaying steps to walk down a seemingly easy walkway, as we in ourselves do not follow one particular mindset, or one way of doing things. Both human beings, and life, is very individual, and is in constant evolution – so why put so much pressure on ourselves to reach a target milestone by a certain point?

Why are women made to feel like they should settle down and start having a family by the age of thirty? Why are those who take longer to reflect on their personal circumstances, seen as inferior to those who may realise their deep-seated trauma at a later point in life? Why are the elderly made to feel like they should isolate themselves and become less active in society?

The truth is that society consistently sets unrealistic and fabricated standards upon us all. As such, we feel we should therefore conform to the general mould presented to us, without considering what is right for ourselves as individuals. The pressure to act and look a certain way based on your age, or protectory in life, is unhealthy and exhausting, particularly when society chooses not to see each individual as just that – individual.

So, do milestones help or hinder growth? That was the original question.

As far as I am concerned, the answer is both yes and no. Milestones help bring a sense of calm towards the chaos of somebody’s life, but they also have the potential to erect a sense of disarray and frustration, when life takes you on a different path, forcing you to miss determined targets, for new more spontaneous ones. Life is ultimately personal, and full of many individual choices, that both open and close varying pathways – the choice of how to move forward in life is yours; the key needed, however, is knowing yourself well enough to evaluate and decide which milestones are needed and when.


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