This tool seeks to provide focus on Holistic Life; HIV; and Heterosexuality. I have had so many occasions to reflect on these three aspects. I have provided online counselling and guidance services since 2006 on Holistic Life; HIV; and Heterosexuality. In 2012. I had my first client who was contemplating suicide and this awakened in me a deeper desire to meet and talk to different people who were suffering with questions they could not reveal unless pressed harder. Since then, I have talked with 30 people from Africa who were also contemplating or attempted suicide. 19 of these were going through a troubling phase of self-rejection. They had discovered they were non-heterosexual or to what is said to be non-conforming. In all my work with different people from mentoring youths to moderating self help groups, I realized the idea of building ethos, pathos, logos and shared values is important as one makes self evaluation a life skill. I also noted that the tools or platforms which give direction into contemplative reflection for many of the people I talked to or opportunities to encourage them to read about keys to formation and development are in an inaccessible format. In helping them adhere to coping and adjusting, I noted there were other adjustment barriers. I tried my level best to help but was limited by time constraints and other logistics. All cases were facing a sexuality crisis. I did refer all of them for further management. I did send money to some for transport as well as refreshments. The 19 admitted to being asked to undergo religious healing or some form of conversion therapy because of their sexuality issues. I developed this tool to fill a knowledge gap and I called it the Milestone analysis. I have used it for many of my online counselling themes and found it was adaptable to many situations. The materials I used are from a number of sources including the frequently asked questions from my clients. This tool provides sequenced cues to be used to contemplate about and appreciate life. Contemplating life enables one be able to apply Band-Aid when it is needed in a timely manner. The materials are also an adaptation of what other Growth, Development and Motivation psychologists have used to help empower their clients employ Band-Aid. Life is an incredibly beautiful and special experience. My premise is that life has many other domains and some examples are: orientation; attitudes; belief systems; gender; identity; Social and Emotional Development; Curiosities and approaches to Learning; Language, Literacy and Numeracy; Cognition, General Knowledge and Spatial abilities; The Arts; culturally determined norms; Physical Development and Health. There are those who are born, are able to grow and conform to the two aspects that are based on physical and biological statuses e.g. having all limbs, eyes, lips and intact organs; having what are considered normal body parts; ability to go through growth milestones; having an ability to follow instructions; and to perform tasks according to age. There are those who are born, are able to grow as non-conforming to one or both statuses. There are those who are born, are able to grow and engage in heterosexual relations. There are those who are born, are able to grow and engage in non-heterosexual relations. There is no doubt our bodies are defined by biology and continue to be refined by cultural ideology under the presumption that one’s socialization will influence one’s sexuality which in turn will be actualized as heterosexual. But sometimes, it is not the case. Non heterosexual eroticism is abhorred in the strongest terms possible including many countries enacting Penal codes punishing relations other than heterosexual ones. Structures for guidance, which include socialization, are cast around promoting heterosexuality buttressed by a legislation that is said to be conforming to natural laws and organized religion. Anything out of these boundaries have simply been made anathema and an abomination. Heterosexuality has become a concept against which people measure experiences in their lives. The 19 cases contemplated suicide once they found out they were non-conforming to a heterosexual normativity. This tool brings you 67 gentle reminders that there are plenty of amazing things out there for you to experience other than, or in addition to, suicide.
1. Critical Thinking: Stop and think about what is going on in your life. The action you are about to take should be measured along three planes: Is it going to affect how you subsist? Is it going to harm your relations? Is it going to affect you in that your turnaround may be a long way away? Be principled, if you commit and show up.
2. Keeping a Journal: Keep track of your activities. Take time to read back to yourself. Learn to laugh at yourself, to smile at the happy things and to brood over the mistakes you made. This means you are taking your life back and owning it. Richard Bronson is one of the people I admire. I remember reading a story in which he shared his pre-investment practice i.e., making a to-do-list and keeping journals.
3. Find time to think about your friends: There are friends who cannot come to your aid. These are the ones who remind you of your vulnerabilities. There are friends who will come when you are need. Not only are they friends indeed, but they remind you that we need each other. Both types of friends should remind you of one common thing. You still own your space, so at the end of the day you are responsible to making your life more fulfilled.
4. Learn and polish a skill: Actually learn four skills so well and these are: the ability to talk yourself out of trouble; the ability to work to earn money; and the ability to do something other than that which makes you earning money but is equally fulfilling; and lastly, find time to transfer your knowledge to another or others. It will enable you create so many others like you. And the law of love is based on this.
5. Share three things: food, shelter and money to other people or causes that are in dire need.
6. Become your own hermit: Dedicate time every day to go through a deprivation wilderness. If it is that extra phone, avoid it. If it is that extra spoon of sugar, avoid it. Journey into yourself and clear a space where you can meet the natural sensations. Appreciate that moment. You are in the hands of of God then.
7. The next best thing if you are not in good terms with your parents: If you are in good terms with your parents ask them to stay in bed and you make breakfast. If possible run their bath up to a point. If you are not in good terms with them, go out and whisper to a rock or tree words of love. Love something.
8. Walk to animal shelter: Okay! First and foremost learn to care for animals. Not just the domesticated ones but even the wild ones. Look after the environment and the animal habitat will be intact.
9. Surprise a friend: Most especially your ex! Send a card that begins “On this day, we……..” But, first ask the ex two days earlier as well as your present partner about it. In other words learn to be considerate in any decision you make when you are in a relation. Relations do not only thrive because of love but because of fidelity too.
10. Show up even if you feel you are not so competent: You have been asked to be part of a team and you committed to attend. Don’t disappoint them at the last minute. If you do make amends. Otherwise, you may miss being in company of angels.
11. Define and refine your comfort zones: Three things mark this and the first being taking chastisement hands down; learning from your mistakes; and go more paces to meet people you barely know anyone.
12. Pay back your debts: Make it a practice to pay your debts. It is gratifying and makes you more charitable.
13. Character building: Remember, the choices you make, be it your looks, to the things you do and the people you surround yourself with matter when you are building or maintaining your character.
14. Watch your weight: Then you will have healthy heart and powerful limbs. This will put you on a path to a healthier quality life.
15. Make it a habit to have regular medical check ups: it is a major problem in your life without which you are just reckless. Like driving beyond the speed limit.
16. Your physical appearance may need some change: You will be more yourself when you align your inner self with the out one. It could be a major haircut, a piercing, a tattoo, a hair color change, a wardrobe, a watch, sunglasses or shoes.
17. Rudeness comes in many forms: Self-harm is a form of self-inflicted rudeness. Rudeness on the whole, reveals yo are scared to make painful changes in your life. Then there is rudeness from others. Do not react with rudeness otherwise both of you may be thought of as fools.
18. Have self help plans: These are work plans capturing all forms of work or activity; Yearly plans; Maintenance plans; going back to school plans; car maintenance job plan; and a health plan.
19. Learn to work for fun: Explore ways to work not because the sole goal is earning money but add another reason. Explore ways to make your company engage in a social corporate activity and ask if you can manage it. Allow a certain change in routine.
20. Jog every evening: In other words establish a body workout routine. It may not necessarily be jogging. it can be walking or engaging in community clean up activities.
21. Go for holidays: Holidays rejuvenate and make one renewed. You do not have to go to expensive venues for it to be a holiday.
22. Save money out of practice: Saving money comes in handy when one hits a snag or has to pay for an emergency.
23. Have some five chores you do by yourself: It may be cleaning your house; car-detailing; beautifying your compound; meeting and doing volunteer work at your place of worship; and joining a choir.
24. The corner grocery: Take time to make friends with the retailer who runs that corner grocery that you pass by before getting to your home. You may get intelligence that your Landlady brought the long awaited new front door.
25. Support groups: You need friends who are not drink-buddies but just animators as far as your psychosocial life is concerned. You don't want to be bored when you go to relax by the lakeside.
26. Exchange gifts: Get into the habit of buying and sharing gifts with friends or work mates.
27. Developing a Value and Belief System: This will help you understand the issues going on around in your life. This also affirms many of your beliefs as well as acting as a litmus enabling you to know where you are standing.
28. Get into the habit of reading: Reading opens up one’s mind, view and interpretation of life. It also enables one gain competence in dealing or communicating with people from other cultures especially if the books have social-cultural themes.
29. Watch something on TV or Cinema: Go out to the parks, zoos and wild animals. Watch movies and documentaries increases on one’s scope and definition of things and life.
30. Social Support Groups: Join or form a social support group. Take time and make it formal. These days we have social media platforms such as: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp groups and online Listserv. Make an effort to have a presence somewhere in society.
31. A Treat: Many Psychologists advise that we need to treat ourselves to something memorable. Giving yourself time is a form of maturity, spend your hard-earned money on once in a while, on things like super soft bedsheets, or a massage, or a really delicious bottle of wine or invite people over for dinner to a meal you cooked by yourself.
32. Look at your receipts after shopping: This will enable you find out what you are missing. You could have made that long shopping list and thought you had purchased everything. Nothing wrong with double checking. It adds to the fun of shopping.
33. Telling someone you love them: You must have opportunities to tell someone you love them without knowing for sure whether they love you back.
34. Celebrate Your Milestones: Think back a minute back. Okay 3 years back. There are people you make happy, there are people you showed care, it could be you provided opportunities for others time and was responsive to their needs. Celebrate the milestones one milestone at a time.
35. Time you spend online: News updates, memes and all other aspects of life one experiences via our phones or tablets is immense. No wonder you try to catch up but still this new app or updates from a famous social media platform keep coming. No wonder, you miss your next stop. Anyway, find ways to limit your attachment to a phone. It will release time for other things that need to be done.
36. Find out which games you are good at: Wait! It can either be participating as a player, spectator or sponsor. Be part of games around you. It will polish your sociable attributes and offer an opportunity to gauge how to take losses and how you share victorious moments.
37. Pilgrimages and Tours: Travel to place, a city, a spiritual retreat or make a pilgrimage. Explore places, you will find vast troves of interesting things and places that will become part of your conversations. You are bound to be a very sought after person by those who want to listen to your conversations.
38. Admit when you are wrong: Learn to admit your mistakes, learn to say sorry, learn to say thank you. These three are the very oil of admiration people will have about you.
39. Smile you are always on camera: Take every opportunity to engage yourself happily, that way you will not be a bag of stress and depression. A smile attracts the right people to you.
40. Keep Being Yourself: Evgeniy Sen in a paper he published in 2015, titled “It's never too late to become independent” shows it is important for one to always keep being oneself while working hard on ideas, despite the stuff on may be busy with now including any troubles one could be facing or number of years in one’s passport.
42. Explore opportunities to have your assets: This may be a watch, a phone, silverware or even signing a lease for an house or apartment that’s completely yours – no parents, no siblings, no roommates, no boyfriend or girlfriend, just you. It doesn’t matter how small what is yours will be. The issue is you have the ability to own property.
43. Fav Radio Stations: Make a list of radio stations. This will enable you be abreast of current affairs and other facts of life.
44. Your Conscience is part of what you do: Your claim that your friends are not loyal to you. But, remember out of sight is not out of mind. Friendship should not be measured only by physical presence but remember they may be thinking about you too. How many times do you think about your friends?
45. Experience the leaves that make up the tree of life: Imagine a bowl of richly flavored soup where onions are mixed with tomatoes, carrots and other ingredients. That is how life should be viewed. One item at a time. Work is an experience which is part of life. So is education, sports, personal grooming and other life preserving practices.
44. Maturity: You want to be considered a mature person or at least put your self along the path to maturity. Begin by being organized, then follow up on all other commitments you have got your self into.
45. Adolescents and young people programmatic areas: Read about your age group, get to know the needs and resources that address those needs. The International AIDS Alliance urges young people to lead and participate in the global HIV response, ensuring it is shaped by the realities of their lives.
46. Community Leadership: A Be part of your community activities. It may turn to be your opportunity to vie for a political position and get to influence issues.
47. Drug use: According to Katherine M. Keyes an associate professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, stress and depression are drivers of drug-use among many people including younger people. Particular attention is given to psychiatric disorders, adult health, long-term outcomes of adverse environments, and effects oF substance use, mental health, and chronic disease.
48. HIV in the Sustainable Development Goals: You should acquaint yourself with the Sustainable Development Goals. Be part of groups, communities and networks calling for a strong HIV target in the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
49. Human rights: Your full membership, meaningful participation and meaningful inclusion in all matters of society at home, at work and in every community is important and influences your own growth and development. Simply put, you are actualizing your human rights.
50. Preventing HIV: Statistics show that in one day more than 5,600 people contract HIV. Preventing new infections is key to end AIDS. Are you part of efforts to prevent new infections? What do you do to avoid getting or re-infecting others with HIV?
51. Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Poor sexual reproductive health and HIV infection share many root causes in poverty, gender inequality, stigma and cultural norms. You should endeavour to be part of efforts to increase optimal access to sexual reproductive health and HIV care services.
52. TB: TB is the most common cause of death for people living with HIV, yet with the right intervention is a curable disease.
53. HIV Treatment: Scientific developments and the scale up of effective programs have meant that AIDS-related deaths and new HIV infection rates can be brought down. but, this requires your participation and disclosure.
54. Love: The things and people you love say so much about how committed you are to making life bearable, how you love and value life, things and people.
55. Treatment: Scientific developments and the scale up of effective programs have meant that AIDS-related deaths and new HIV infection rates are falling.
56. Manage Your Depression Causes: Studies by Alex S. Keuroghlian, MD, MPH, show there is a higher prevalence of depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and suicide attempts among LGBT people compared with the general population. In addition, LGBT people often have unique combined physical and behavioral health needs, including those of transgender people undergoing gender affirmation and special considerations for people living with HIV AIDS.
57. Explore Underlying Domestic Violence: According to Cara Presley, LICSW, LGBT people experience domestic violence at least as commonly as heterosexual women, contradicting common misperceptions that men cannot be victims of abuse, and women cannot perpetrate abuse.
58. The Word Steady: Your job should be steady; your home must be a place where you have steady sustenance. It must a space where you are sure of food, warmth and a roof over your head. Have and commit to steady things.
59. The 6 C’s : The founders of Black Links advise that adopting standards in one’s life is a good practice and leads to winning. Such practices one can maintain at a basic level included: keeping time; cleanliness; hygiene; a reading culture and a steady job. They go further to write that these practices can leverage being in control; encourage commitment; provide basis for establishment of a culture of falling into patterns; enable one to continuously improve on themselves; they make it is to adopt habits that instill cooperation; and promote consumer-care focus practices.
60. The Word Steady: Your job should be steady; your home must be a place where you have steady sustenance. It must a space where you are sure of food, warmth and a roof over your head. Have and commit to steady things.
61. Creativity: Evgeniy Sen, in his 2015 paper titled: “It’s never too late to become independent”, points out 31 ways to be creative because he insists we still remain creative until we die and that age should not stop one from learning a new skills.
62. Success should bring you closer to people: Success breeds independence but independence should not make one isolate themselves or be selfish. Always remember while you were achieving success it could not have been your singular work or effort. So, stay close to people irrespective of your success levels.
63. Understanding Infancy: I looked through Alan Tait, a practitioner in Milestone Approach and the Virginia’s Alignment Project and learnt some tricks. You may be wondering why I have provided Infancy as part of a cue. You are aware on one remembers things clearly before their first birthday. Now, you do contribute to your community’s efforts to look after children. It takes a village, therefore contribute to the well-being of babies.
64. Understanding Childhood: Contribute to efforts that help children from 12 months to 111 months later! Yes, 9 years and 3 months! After being an infant for 12 months we become a child for 9 years and 3 months. As a kid we are learning about ourselves, coming to terms with ourselves, simply growing and learning the basics of what we will need in our future life. At age 10 years and 3 months we pass the First Milestone.
65. Understanding Adolescence: It helps to understand that this is the time when a child is most actively learning. They are gaining knowledge they will need later. Likewise their body is sprouting from a child to an adult. Within a couple months to a few years, boys voices will drop. Girls will begin their period. At age 19 years and 6 months old, we pass The Second Milestone.
66. Young Adults: Alan Tait emphasizes the need for being accountable and he points out the Seven Milestones as guides to help one mark their phases. The milestones are a way of accounting for the number of months or years one has lived. He gives the ages at which one will pass each of the Seven Milestones of Life.
10 Years 3 Months = 1st Milestone of Life
19 Years 6 Months = 2nd Milestone of Life
28 Years 9 Months = 3rd Milestone of Life
38 Years 0 Months = 4th Milestone of Life
47 Years 3 Months = 5th Milestone of Life
56 Years 6 Months = 6th Milestone of Life
65 Years 9 Months = 7th Milestone of Life
19 Years 6 Months = 2nd Milestone of Life
28 Years 9 Months = 3rd Milestone of Life
38 Years 0 Months = 4th Milestone of Life
47 Years 3 Months = 5th Milestone of Life
56 Years 6 Months = 6th Milestone of Life
65 Years 9 Months = 7th Milestone of Life
67. Suicide and Suicide Risk: Studies by Ann P. Haas PhD et al, into suicide and suicide risk in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Populations show that there are different factors a counsellor needs to put into perspective if they are to help. A non-heterosexual normativity faces a hard time within the institutions of Heterosexual normativity. Socialization is affected: emotional; social; cultural; and intellectual growth and development are affected. The way people achieve different keys or milestones are affected. A counsellor needs to have all this in mind if they are to help a person contemplating suicide, especially if they are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons.
AGENDA 2030: http://msmgf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Agenda-2030-for-LGBTI-Health_July-2017.pdf
Alan Tait, is a practitioner in Milestone Approach to learning and as a behaviour change tool. He maintains that our lives go through stages. For more: http://alantait.com/2010/08/21/the-seven-milestones-of-life/.
Alex Keuroghlian, MD, MPH, Associate Director of Education and Training, The Fenway Institute. For more see: https://www.lgbthealtheducation.org/lgbt-education/online-courses/continuing-education/?y=171&i=6354.
Ann P. Haas PhD et al. Suicide and Suicide Risk in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Populations: Review and Recommendations. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/citedby/10.1080/00918369.2011.534038?scroll=top&needAccess=true&.
Black Links. Re-position Your Business To Win By Applying the 6C’s of TQM.
Cara Presley, LICSW, The Fenway Institute. For more see: https://www.lgbthealtheducation.org/lgbt-education/online-courses/continuing-education/?y=171&i=6354.
Evgeniy Sen. 2015. It’s never too late to become independent. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/its-never-too-late-become-independant-evgeniy-sen?trk=v.
Katherine M. Keyes. https://www.mailman.columbia.edu/people/our-faculty/kmk2104.
Kim Quindlen, is a motivation speaker who highlights and believes in atomizing thought processes and synthesizing appropriate action out of these thoughts. She calls her approach the Milestone Approach. For further consultation see http://thoughtcatalog.com/kim-quindlen/.
International AIDS Alliance. http://www.aidsalliance.org/our-priorities.
Richard Branson. https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/my-1972-do-list
Sustainable Development Goals Knowledge Platform: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/.
Virginia’s Alignment Project. https://www.dss.virginia.gov/files/division/cc/guidance_parents/child_dev/milestones.pdf.