Dr. Helen Holton
Milestone Moments of Life
My mother recently celebrated a milestone birthday with a joyous celebratory gathering of family and friends. I saw siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles that I had not seen far longer than I’d like, especially with family. It brought back memories of days long ago as if it were only yesterday. Hearing the updates of children that are now independent adults making their way in the world was a conscious reminder for me to do better at staying connected.
The joy of reconnecting with living family and friends instead of remembering them in retrospect made the celebration that much more special. It is moments like this that I become consciously aware of the passage of time. Seeing people I have not seen in months and for some in years filled me with mixed emotions of joy and guilt. It is way too easy to say, “Let’s catch up soon,” or “Has it been that long since we’ve last connected?” Following through on the intention of the moment is a goal I plan to improve.
I was disappointed with myself when I saw family I had not seen in years and had to wrestle with who they were. And some of us live in the same city. The good news was there was no sad news of deaths to mourn or major life challenges shared. As I engaged in conversations and got caught up on life I found myself wondering how this related to resilience. We all face hardships and setbacks but do we recover and bounce back to life being as good as or better than before?
Most of Mom’s friends at the celebration were her contemporaries, many of whom I have known since I was much younger. Knowing some of the challenges my mother has endured made me certain that these same friends had endured and survived adversities in life as well. I’d be interested to know some of the strategies and techniques used to get them through to the other side. And maybe some of them never rebounded.
I observed the generational span present to celebrate this milestone moment and it gave me even more to ponder as I continued to think about resilience. As I looked at my nieces, nephews, and their children I thought about the setbacks and adversities they had experienced in their young lives. The study of resilience began with researchers looking at how children rebounded from difficult situations and it gave me cause to pause on a personal level.
I vividly remember the separation of my parents as a child and how it shook the core of my belief system. I felt powerless, much like a victim and even thought I was to blame. I did survive and life went on but what was the impact on my life? It was a milestone moment and I have come to understand the experience as shaping my life early on how to be resilient, how to move forward in spite of adversity. Rebounding from life’s harsh realities is a process and a matter of perspective.
Milestone moments are an opportunity to stop and reflect on life and how we deal with the ups and downs that have helped us reach a milestone moment. None of us gets a pass when it comes to dealing with adversity. Either we deal with it or not and I believe that consciously dealing with adversity is one way to develop and strengthen our resilience.
Forever learning and growing stronger in resilience, stay tuned and follow.