We make a big deal about life's milestones. We are taught that beginnings and endings are special. We have Kindergarten graduations, which are not even a real thing, to celebrate the end of pre-grade school life. We make a big deal about being a freshman in high school, getting a license and turning 18, because they all mark a turning point in our lives. A time where we stop being what we once were, a middle schooler or a kid who had to call their mom five times to remind her that they needed to be picked up, or a child, and become something new —older, wiser, more experienced and more responsible.
While I love everything about celebrating these moments and appreciating the change they bring to our lives, there is a major case to be made for the moments in-between. There is something special about losing your fifth tooth, or being in the seventh grade or turning 19. All these events that happen in the middle are what make the milestones so special. Turning 10 would not be exciting unless you spent your whole life before that being single digits. Getting a good grade on a math test gets less exciting when you know you have done it a million (or just like four) times before.
The point is, achieving something is only exciting because of what came before it; all of the waiting and hoping and working and growing. The middle is where all the good stuff happens. As we float through life, unassumingly, under the guise of an average life, with nothing monumental to celebrate, that is when we truly change and improve. By the time we reach a milestone, the work has been done, all that is left is celebrating that. Which is when we realize that while looking back on all that we have done is inspiring and shocking, it is in no way as amazing as doing that work again. So we leave the milestone in the ground and get back to our life in the middle.