Milestones | Macro



Debra Ward, Managing Director, Macro

This week our parent company Mace celebrates 25 years. It made me think about birthdays, anniversaries and the milestones we celebrate in life.  Are we celebrating the passing of time? I doubt it… it would seem like a sentence and not a milestone.  We are celebrating our accomplishments within that time frame on our own personal journey.  Some say we are celebrating our path through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs towards self-actualisation.

Several milestones must be reached in order for us to achieve self-actualization. Our life’s milestones will almost always help us grow, or change who we are as a person in some significant way. The positive milestones can do this for us, and so too can the negative milestones – but why?

According to Chicago Booth School of Management, here are 10 of the most important milestones in life and why: 

1. Hitting rock bottom

Hitting rock bottom is the one of the most important milestones in your life (maybe even the most important) because it literally forces you to find different avenues to achieve fulfillment. Some of the most remarkable achievements we make in life are the achievements we made after hitting rock bottom, because we were determined to lift ourselves back up – and we finally had the drive to do so. If we are able to be resilient and turn the negativity in our lives into motivation to make a change, we will be on the road to success in no time. This is why it’s better to hit rock bottom sooner rather than later.  Once you are have proven to yourself that you can come back, the bottom is less scary. 

2. Falling in love

Falling in love is the closest thing we have to real magic. The wondering feeling of contentment we have when we meet that special someone is worth the wait – even if it feels like it took forever to get there.  The loss of control and rational thought at times can be a bit scary and make us feel vulnerable but the upside makes it all worthwhile. 

3. Getting your heart broken for the first time

I wish I could go back in time and tell my crying self that everything was going to be ok. And according to the Marigold Hotel Movie, “Everything will be ok in the end… if things aren’t ok, then it’s not the end!”  Time heals all wounds (and Ben & Jerry’s), and you were obviously meant to be with someone else. To quote Greg Behrendt, “It’s called a breakup because it’s broken” and rather than trying to fix it, we should be focusing on reinforcing core values within ourselves. Why? Because that’s what must be done before we will be ready to meet Mr. or Mrs. Right. 

4. Realizing what you are passionate about

Realizing your passion is one of the most important milestones for achieving self-actualization or eureka. Sometimes, like a light bulb, it is realized when we least expect it. People always say they are attracted to people who are passionate about something. Nobody wants to be vanilla – having a passion is sexy. The problem is, sometimes we don’t know what our passion is. Is it music? Teaching? Soccer? Writing? What if you are not sure? One of the greatest milestones in life is the moment you realize what your passion is.

5. Getting fired or let go from your job for the first time

It will feel like your life is over, and you sometimes forget that everything happens for a reason. You must be destined for bigger and better things, and that’s why the universe is pushing you in another direction. If there are any lessons you can learn from the experience, make sure to take them with you to your next job. Not only will you not make the same mistakes again, but you will use what you learned at the job you lost as a means to propel you into success. You learn what to do and what not to do, how not to piss-off your boss, and how to be the best team member you can be. The next thing you know, you’re being promoted or being offered your dream job elsewhere. 

6. Getting the job of your dreams

Bigger than graduating and getting your first real job, the milestone of landing your dream job is a big one. You will feel like you are on a high when you achieve this milestone – and you should be proud of yourself! 

7. Losing a close friend

Sometimes, friends fight. And sometimes, you lose a close friend – for good. Losing someone close to you is an important milestone because it forces you to take a step back and reevaluate yourself and your character. Are you a good friend? Were they? This experience may have forced you to evaluate and re-evaluate what is important as a friend and in a friend. 

8. Getting married (in whatever form)

Now you have found another best friend. Your partner. You will always have someone who you can talk to about anything. Someone will always care how your day was, and want to know every exciting detail of what happens in your life. You will have someone who will witness your life and be there supporting you every step of the way. You have someone to build a life with, and that is an incredible milestone. Marriage isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a pivotal moment in some people’s lives. 

9. Becoming a parent

Becoming a parent is not only a new chapter in your life, it’s a whole new book. Guiding someone else through life and teaching them all about the mistakes you made in your adolescence – and what the consequences were – helps you get a do-over in a sense. You’re giving to your child everything you have, every bit of advice you wish you had gotten, and more. Again it is not for everyone but for those who embark on parenthood it is a pivotal life altering point. 

10. Buying your first home

This is an incredible milestone. Moving out of your parent’s home and into your own apartment for the first time is a big one too, but buying your first home is huge. Not only has all your budgeting and saving paid off, but you finally have a place you can truly call your own. You can decorate it however you want, you have a sense of security, and an asset… of course a nail biting mortgage usually comes with it. 

All of these mark milestones in our development and growth throughout our life.  Some will play an important part… some we may not ever experience but each one will, in some way, shape the path you are on and the person you become.  I believe in the experiencing this one way journey to its fullest – the good, the hilarious, the devastating and the euphoric.  For each one of us though, the really cool thing is… we can decide the path we take… it is completely within our gift…  so enjoy the present!