This last weekend, Matt and I packed up our car and headed down to our hometown to watch our niece, Lily, get baptized. (For those unfamiliar with the LDS church’s customs, children who grow up in the church are typically baptized at the age of 8).
My sister had asked me a few weeks before to take some baptismal portraits of my niece, so perhaps that’s part of the reason why, when the day of the baptism came, I was feeling particularly nostalgic (that and the fact that she’s the first niece on my side to get baptized).
As I watched her exciting day unfold, my mind automatically went back to my own milestones in the LDS church—my blessing day as a baby (which I can’t remember, but which I’ve often seen pictures of), my own baptism at 8, my entrance into the young women’s program at 12, my graduation from the YW program at 18, my being able to enter into the temple for the first time at 22, and, finally, my wedding day.
And then it struck me—I’ve reached all the milestones for myself that are typical of every active LDS member.
I don’t know why this came as such a revelation, but it did, and it was one that tugged at my heart a bit. It was like all of a sudden I realized that I would never again get to have those milestones again–I would only get to look on as others reached theirs.
In growing up, there are milestones that many people go through—graduations, marriage, new jobs, etc. And I know that I’ve (hopefully) still got many milestones of my own left, such as starting a family and buying our own home.
But the older I get, the more I’ll be looking on as other people reach their milestones, especially my own future children’s.
All these realizations all culminated to this one resounding fact:
I am getting older, and quickly, too.
No more will I experience a first date, or a first day of high school, or a first job.
No more will I be asked to go through my own high school graduation or my first ride on a bicycle.
No more will I get a do-over of my high school prom, my first kiss, or my first time moving away from home.
It’s not often that I think about growing up like this (normally I think that whatever age I’m at is the most exciting one yet), but watching my little niece hit this big milestone this past weekend certainly made me take a step back and reflect on my life—
Am I going where I want? Am I heading in the right direction? Am I proud of where I’ve been?
Luckily, the answer to most of these is pretty favorable.
But maybe that’s the thing about milestones, either your own or someone else’s—they’re opportunities for self-reflection, for a little self-checking that you’re going in the right direction.
And for that, I guess I should be grateful, eh?
Do you ever get a little sad or introspective upon thinking that a lot of life’s milestones are behind you?