Convention requests that we acknowledge rounded numbers; anniversaries and birthdays, a 20 pound weight loss, or being sober for 100 days. They seem to me, although pleasing to the eye, arbitrary. Wasn’t it great when your friend was sober on the 99th day, or married for 24 years too?
Why is the nine thousandth one hundred and twenty fifth day in a marriage deserving of celebration more so than the one before? Perhaps giving us pause in increments we can appreciate gives us the desire to go on.
Not for me. Numerical markers do not propel me, motivate me, or even interest me all that much. Society tells us, “Good job! Keep it up! We are proud of you!” I struggle with messages from society that tell me how to behave, especially where numbers are concerned. (Remember my math and number-skills issues?) I get sweaty and feel boxed in when “big dates” approach. I have gotten over this mostly by just enjoying the moment for the moments sake and not for the bigger picture.
For me, a milestone is more tangible. It may make its mark at odd hours, odd dates. They are experiences, not pre-determined numbers. Milestones in my marriage include the yard sale in Arizona when we sold pretty much everything we owned, and laughed about it. All we had was each other, a dog, and a truck pointed east with no job, or plan, and it was good. Another was just recently, in the middle of the night when I woke up restless, and realizing I still liked my husband. (To those of you who have been married a while, you know this is a big deal. For those of you who are not married, or newlyweds…this is a big deal.)
So, as I approach what society tells me is a big deal, my 25th wedding anniversary, I am starting to sweat. But I know sure as sugar on snow is delicious, that one day does not a marriage make and what’s more, one day does not sum it up.