Life is full of happy milestones – both expected and unexpected. As you move through it, you’ll be more likely than you think to hit a few of these blessed occasions. Falling in love. Marriage. Traveling the world. Babies. These are all some of the milestones that people have on their tick lists, and with each one comes the loud toast: “to the next step!”

The problems often arise when people have expectations about what each step of their life should bring, and instead of stepping up, they can’t because there’s a big old gate in the way in the form of loving in the wrong place, meeting someone unsuitable or infertility. There are always gates that slam down on people’s expectations and dreams throughout life, but the biggest sign you’re doing okay is in how you handle it.

Okay, so you may not have married the right person the first time around, but that doesn’t make marriage a bad thing to do. Next time, you’ll do it with the right person in the right way – exactly how you wanted it to be. Maybe the first house that you bought was poorly built and riddled with damp. You learnt what to demand for next time, and the next house that you buy is going to be perfect. Perhaps you try for a baby, and learn that you can’t conceive in the way that you imagined, but there are ways around that, too, such as this step by step guide to how surrogacy works. The point is that no matter what your next step is going to be, there are ways to climb over the gate that slams down in your path. All you need to do is look for a way through it. 

You don’t have to accept bad luck in your life. We make our own luck, and while there are things that we can’t always control (abusive partners and infertility included), we can choose where we go next. We can choose to take the very difficult step to get support from outside sources to leave abusive partners – no matter how long it takes. We can choose to sue dodgy builders who leave a brand new house full of damp. We can choose to look into other avenues of conceiving a child, whether it’s by IVF or surrogacy. There are options! There are options for pretty much everything in life now.

Taking that next step isn’t linear. Life is not a fixed escalator, moving smoothly from one floor to another. It’s a staircase up a cliff: there are corners and hills, jagged edges and parts crumbling away. There will always be a banister to cling on to along the way, even when you do miss your foothold sometimes. The goal is to keep moving up, to keep looking forward and not backward. It doesn’t matter what the occasion is in your life, get your champagne glass polished and keep it from becoming dusty. It’s time to toast to the next step once more.

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