by Nancy Casey

Originally, milestones were rocks alongside the road. Stones that marked the miles. They didn’t tend to be flashy, although they could be in flashy places. On a long journey, you would pass a lot of them.

Today, when we say “milestone” we are talking about reference points in our lives.

Make a list of some of the milestones you have passed so for on the journey of your life.

Major life events make milestones, of course: births, deaths, marriages, graduations, moving to a new place, getting a new job. Anything you start. Anything that comes to an end.

Not every milestone has a big story attached to it. Some milestones are simply markers in your life history that are personal. When you acquired a certain possession can be a milestone—a car, a pair of shoes, a dinner plate, a houseplant. The moments when people or pets came into your life can function as milestones, too. If you can attach a “before” and an “after” to it, it’s a milestone.

Events are often milestones. An accident, a test, a vacation, a trip downtown… It depends on what happened and how and why you remember it.

Milestones also exist in our minds. Learning new facts and skills. Understanding a conflict in a new way. A realization that changes your attitude.

Think about the milestones of your experience—big and small—as you set up your page. Draw a line at the top where your title will go. Write the letters of the alphabet, A-Z, down the left-hand side of the page.

As milestones occur to you, write something about them next to a letter that stands for a word in your description. You’re only going to have one line to describe your milestone. That’s not much room. Write a few words, maybe a sentence, with just enough information that you could recall what you were thinking of if you read it again in a week or a year.

For example, if you remember a time you got a piece of news about Charlie, and also that you happened to be wearing a red shirt, you could write something like any of these:

  • Red shirt that I was wearing when I heard about Charlie.
  • Shirt, red. The one I was wearing when I found out that Charlie…
  • Wearing a red shirt and learning that Charlie…
  • Charlie, and the day I found out that…

Depending on who Charlie is and what happened, there would be other words whose first letters you could borrow to put that milestone on your list.

If you can’t decide what to write, begin by scribbling or drawing around the margines. That can help your mind relax so you can think more clearly. When an idea for something to write pops into your mind, find a letter of the alphabet where it will fit and write it down. Don’t be too fussy about how you start. One idea usually leads to another one.

When you have a milestone for every letter, look over your page carefully and make small changes if you like. When a title idea floats to the surface of your mind, write it at the top of the page.

Write the date on the page too, along with a signature or your initials.

Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.

Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. If you would like some help with your writing, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center. In-person Write-for You classes have been suspended for now, but when Covid recedes, they will return.

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