Milestones

When I was a kid, my parents had this card game called Mille Bornes. It’s a classic driving game from the 50’s where everyone is racing to be the first person to get 1,000 miles. Get it? Mille Bornes? But, while each person’s primary goal is to rack up 1,000 miles you have to focus on keeping everyone else from getting there, too. So when you play a “go” card, they throw a flat tire. You play a “spare tire” and they throw a speed limit. It’s the first strategy game I really remember playing with my parents where I felt like I had a shot. Luck and skill, it took a little bit of both to get a win.

Looking back, I think I liked it because there was a clear milestone to be achieved and you had to scrap and claw to get there. One moment you could be cruising along throwing down 100 mile cards like mad and then *boom* out of gas. Or, you get cocky and think you’ve got someone right in the cross-hairs with an accident hazard and then, *shazam* they have the Driving Ace safety and you gave them big points instead. The goal was simple, but it was rarely simple to get there. My parents had no tolerance for whining — if I couldn’t handle the ups and downs of the game with good sportsmanship, I wasn’t old enough to play.

I hid my frustration and learned to deal with it. I wanted to play and I wanted to win.

I was thinking about that game today because this post marks another milestone, my 100th blog post. In the eleven months it has taken me to get this far, I’ve had moments of elation where I truly felt that my words have had a positive impact in the universe. And, I’ve also had more than I couple moments where felt like those hands in Mille Bornes where I had seven cards I couldn’t use — when I would just draw and discard, draw and discard, draw and discard. It’s hard not to feel dejected, to throw your cards down and walk away.

But the thing about milestones is that they represent progress, a tangible reflection of progress even when your emotions feel that nothing has changed. I know that even though my latest post (Why Even Workaholics Should Take Vacation) has garnered only 17 views that is only one data point. The real milestone is this: 100 posts, 4,300 views and 2,300 visitors. It doesn’t matter right at this moment that my biggest fans are people who know me in real-life. It doesn’t matter that even those people feel like some of my posts are duds. It doesn’t even matter that I’m not sure whether my audience wants me to be silly or serious or sincere. What does matter is that I made it to 100 posts, because that is a milestone.

I’ll figure the rest out on my way to 200.

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