Milestone phases

Some milestones in life happen to most people. And when you’re a certain age, you tend to have a lot of these going on around you. I’ll call these milestone phases, and they occur when many of your peers start hitting these milestones at once.

But here’s the interesting thing: they don’t always happen at the same ages for everyone. In fact, I’ve noticed them switching up a bit.

  • Birthday parties: Contrary to popular opinion, these aren’t for all ages. They’re for the 7-14 age group. After that, we still have parties sometimes, but they’re not birthday parties. (For those who don’t know, “birthday parties” include cake and ice cream, presents, hats, and Pin the Tale on the Donkey. If those aren’t included, it doesn’t count as a birthday party.)
  • High school graduations: ages 16-19. Most people graduate from high school around 18, but you have to factor in your friends who are older than you. Once you’re out of high school, though, you don’t normally have many friends who are still in.
  • Undergraduate graduations (somehow Master’s and Doctorate’s still don’t seem too popular and even when people get them, we don’t celebrate as much): These are for the 21-26 age group. Sometimes you’ll have friends who are older graduating, but usually once you’re over 26, you’re friends have stopped graduating. You’re the only one left.
  • Weddings: This is the weirdest one… I mean, it’s switched the most. It used to be much younger. Now the average person marries for the first time around 26-27. So the wedding phase now comes when you’re 25-30 years old.
  • Baby showers/Births (I’m putting these together because I don’t really do baby showers even though I know they’re popular): I didn’t know where to put this one actually. I think it’s somewhere in the 20-somethings group. I’m including it after weddings, but that’s probably not accurate. It probably starts when you’re around 22 years old.
  • Retirement: Your friends start retiring en mass when you’re between 55-65. I’m really curious about this one actually. I’m not planning to retire. <<But that’s a different post altogether. We’ll see.
  • Funerals: This is where I have no idea. But I’ll take a guess. I’m guessing it’s around 63. Because right at 63, one of your friends dies of cancer, and you realize, “Wait, I’m not old. But all my friends are dying. This is insane.” In other words, I’m guessing it’s exaggerated at first. One friend dies, and you assume all of them are dying.

Okay, these are just a bunch of guesses (obviously). But this is important: for the ages I’ve given above, your peers are the ones at these milestones. But I’m wondering if these phases come around again when you’re a parent or grandparent.

Like do you go through another graduation phase when your kids and your kids’ friends are graduating? And if the phases do come around again, are they more or less intense than the first time?

What do you think? When did these milestone phases hit for you? Or if they haven’t yet, when do you think they will? Also, did I miss any milestones?

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