Life & Stuff · Mental Health

The Problem with Self-Made Timelines

I feel like many of us, especially the strict, anal, or anxious ones among us, like to give ourselves timelines.

“I’ll be a graduate by X age.

I’ll be working a great job, making X money by X age.

I’ll be a published author in X years…”

It’s this idea that there’s a certain amount of years or a certain age by which we have to have done things. And typically, it comes down to this false idea of what’s socially acceptable and what’s impressive or defines success for us.

Here are some of my thoughts on self-made timelines…

 

Pressure

Of course, to set timelines for these things means putting pressure on ourselves. Usually, no one else is telling us what we should do, how, and when. I know for myself that I have set manuscript deadlines when all it did was stifle my creativity and stress me out.

Instead, we should just breathe. There are enough times in life when there are real deadlines and timelines set by others or circumstance, without adding to the pressure and overwhelm with often ridiculous or unnecessary self-made timelines.

Therefore, we should just do what we’re doing because we want to do it, not because of some timeline or trying to rush it to fit a timeline.

 

Age

Age is a big one. We think that there are certain stages in our lives where we must have achieved certain things. (I did a video about Age and Status on confidence.)

Typical examples are:

  • Move out of your parents’ home before 25
  • Get a university degree by 22
  • Married before 30
  • Kids around 30
  • Own your own home in your 30s

But it should come as no surprise that times have changed. These societal rules no longer apply. My mom got her degree at the age of 52. My cousin had her first child at 36 (she’s also not married and doesn’t intend to).

There is no rush!

Stop putting timelines on yourself to reach a certain level or do a certain thing by a certain age. It’s stressful and takes the fun out of life. If you’re meant to have kids, then you’ll have them. Trust that you’ll know the right time, instead of forcing it to fit some idea that you have about what would be “perfect” or “appropriate” or “expected” of you.

 

Universal Timelines

As I said, trust plays a key role in life. I believe in universal timelines, as in, if something is meant to be, it will be. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we thought because the timing was off. Maybe there’s something that we’ve yet to learn or experience first. Maybe it would just be better for us in two years instead or right now.

And that’s okay.

When you are self-aware and intuitive, you should get an idea of when is the best time for you. What works for someone else, may not be for you.

And I get it, it’s hard when you thought you’d have something or be something by a certain age, but remember, these were always self-made timelines, not real ones. Sometimes, the universe knows better than we do and so we must trust that something better for us may be around the corner.

 

Last Thoughts

Self-made timelines are just unnecessary stress. There is no perfect way to plan out your life to tick all the right boxes and live happily and reach success. It doesn’t work that way. Instead, we must trust that things will happen or work out in the right time for us and our own personal narrative.

Don’t compare your timeline to someone else’s. Our stories aren’t the same.

Take a breath and live your life, what will be, will be, in time.

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