Managing editor and original Pink Hearter, Trish Wylie, returns this month to mark The Pink Heart Society's 13th birthday and discuss how we view the many milestones in our lives.
How do you mark a milestone?
Back in ancient Roman times, it was fairly obvious. They placed stone pillars called obelisks along the sides of roadways, typically a mile apart, so people could tell how far they'd traveled. And if you think about it, apart from the being a stone obelisk part, we still think of it the same way. But what I'm asking here is, how do you mark a milestone?
Then again, maybe what I should be asking is; What do you consider a milestone?
It's something I've been thinking about a lot as the PHS becomes a teenager. Thirteen years! How did that happen? Our baby isn't a baby anymore. And while it's sometimes hard to believe we're still here after thirteen years, there's a lot of pride attached to that milestone. The PHS had to adapt and evolve to stay relevant but we've worked damn hard and it really does feel like we've hit a lot of goals this year, one of them being our first (and thrillingly well-received!) Reviewer's Choice Awards. What's more, I really do believe we have the strongest, most enthusiastic and talented team of people in place now, which gives me great hope for the future.
Hand on heart, the PHS is one of my proudest achievements. It has weathered many storms, survived the numerous challenges life threw our way, more than a few personal upheavals and regular bouts of exhaustion. But we still believe heart and soul in the Love Is Love ethos and will continue to promote diversity and inclusivity in any and every way we can for as long as we can. How could I not be proud of that? It feels like we're doing something important and worthwhile and that's why we keep doing it, even on the days we feel like throwing in the towel (and yes, we've come close to doing that on more than one occasion).
When you reach a milestone like this and look back on all the hard work it took to get here, it makes you look at the other things you've achieved in your life or, alternatively, the goals you set for yourself which you haven't reached yet. It's partly an inspirational thing. A case of, if you've achieved this, what else could you do? But it's also a personal measure of your own success thing. And we all do a little inventory there from time to time. don't we?
So, let's go back to the milestones thing...
Birthdays are milestones. Every Christmas or trip to somewhere new could be considered one. First day at school is another one. First day at High School and College. First best friend. First boyfriend. First job. First payday. We experience a lot of firsts along the way. Not all of them are good. There's the first friend who 'betrayed you' in the playground. Your first broken heart. The first loss of a family member, either two or four-legged, which makes you realize life is short. We don't celebrate those things. We focus on celebrating the good and commiserating with each other on the bad. But the older I get, the more I think that's wrong.
By adjusting your perspective, as difficult as it may be at the time, even a loss can feel like a win. So, yes, you may have had your heart broken. But you discovered how much you can love someone and what you do and don't want in your next relationship. And yes, of course the loss of a family member hurts like hell and will do for a long, long time. But you had them in your life and have memories you can carry with you for the rest of your days. Would you trade either of those things for less heartache?
Milestones aren't a measure of how comfortable the journey was, they are literally the distance we have come and have yet to travel. On the dark days, we're understandably focused on just making it through them. But making it through each and every one of those dark days is one milestone after another after another. Putting them behind us is an even bigger milestone. Having a day where it finally hits you that you're happy again when you doubted you ever would be, is HUGE. And every choice we make, whether it proves to be right or wrong, should be considered a milestone, too. Because it helps form who we are and guides us along the road to the person we want to become.
I don't think we should wait for the more noticeable milestones like birthdays and book sales before we celebrate what we've achieved. Every day should be considered a milestone. And we should constantly be on the look-out for things we can celebrate with friends, family and alone. If you get fifteen minutes peace to enjoy a cup of coffee in the middle of an otherwise manic day, you should savor every second. If the laundry basket is empty for a half hour, it should be viewed as a win. If you made the choice to take a break from screens for an evening and instead read one of the books from your teetering tbr pile, you should bask in the bliss of beautiful escapism. If you get a new idea for a story which sparks your creativity and makes you want to start writing straight away - even if you only manage a few paragraphs or a first chapter - that's worth a pat on the back. And if you finish a book, you have totally earned that sigh of relief and a large glass of wine!
Because no matter what those stone markers say, some miles are longer than others. Some are bumpy. Some are on an incline. Some feel like climbing Everest. But we all gotta cover the ground and keep moving forwards. So, my wish for all you lovely PHSers as I blow out the thirteen candles on our birthday cake, is that you do this;
Stand still for a moment. Take a look around. Think of everything you've survived and achieved and how much more you could do if you set your mind to it. Then take a deep breath. And smile.
Because you are AWESOME, my friend. And you have GOT THIS.
Trish is currently working hard on a brand new series of books which are due for release next year! To check on her progress and what she's getting up to away from the keyboard, you can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or check out her website.
Are all the milestones in your life treated equally? Are there some you celebrate more than others? What do you think about celebrating every small achievement as well as the large ones?Let us know in the comments or by joining the conversation on this subject on our Social Media using #Milestones
And to celebrate our 13th birthday we would LOVE to hear your PHS story! When and how did you first discover The Pink Heart Society? Do you have a favorite feature or column, read every article when the new edition comes out, like learning about new authors, find our Reviews helpful, rely on our Instagram sayings about love to put a smile on your face? Join the celebration here and on our Social Media using #MyPHSstory