I used to be this person who felt that life was measured by what you got done by the age you got it done by. I was like this with everything. From college, to jobs, to relationships, to that extra degree, I used to think everything had a time.
Two years ago when I started this blog I was crying that I was 22 with no direction just because I didn’t like my job, and I thought everything in my career path had gone to waste. I realize now, this was so so silly. I was also sad because I was single and wouldn’t meet my engaged by 26 idea (ha), I was upset that I wasn’t at my “moved out at 23” mark, and I hadn’t seen as much as the world as I liked. (PS – I visited 5 countries in one year.) There was something severely wrong with me.
But that’s what depression will do. It will tell you none of you is enough.
I really thought that my life was a bunch of shit just because I was a normal fucking 22 year old who was absolutely clueless. The thing I didn’t realize was that I was doing it to myself. I was the only person who sat on this timeline and checklist, measuring my entire self-worth with it. And when you live your life this way, it is undoubtably so that you will become depressed and unsatisfied with everything around you.
I know a lot of people do this. I hear people all the time say, “by 25 I want this” and now I find myself stopping them and saying, “well, what happens if it’s 26 instead?”
Usually it’s just a series of “oh… I don’t know, I just want to have that done by 25.”
And my question is this – if something is not meant for you, do you still want it because it helps you reach your timeline goals? Or would you rather wait for the right person, place, thing, degree, job, love, that is?
If you asked me a few years ago I would have said that the timeline WOULD be the thing to make me happy. If you ask me today, I would tell you I rather wait a million years for what’s right for me, rather than what is right for my ego, according to the timeline.
That’s the thing, we get so caught up in making up these stories of what our lives should be, that we create this internal conflict that doesn’t even exist outside of ourselves. When what we really should be asking is this – why are we measuring ourselves by days and times that do not otherwise exist outside of our judgements and expectations?
Is it because we don’t believe the right job will be available at 25 over 22?
Is it because we’re scared of ending up alone?
Is it because we want to feel secure externally so that we can finally feel it within?
Or is it that we are perfectionists to the core and are lacking a better measure of our self-worth?
That’s the thing about this age of “emerging adulthood,” it’s all relative to you and your personal growth. Emerging adulthood, otherwise known in the world of sociology as the end of adolescence, lasting until our early 30s, is a time where everyone is setting themselves up for their lives, but doing it all differently than the next person, that it feels like we’re alone. Some people start families, others are starting companies. Some people are moving home, others are moving out. It’s a million different possibilities and so many times, we end up on roads we didn’t realize we’d come onto. That’s the insecurity, and that’s where I believe timelines are used to have an idea of control.
But the truth is this – there is no clock or timeline to who you’re meant to be. We are ever changing and the world can throw you a curveball by the time you finish reading this. So that’s the truth about timelines. They don’t exist.
And I encourage everyone to throw theirs away and measure life by what feels right today, and what you might wish for tomorrow. That is a true measure of life and happiness – how much we accept what’s ultimately meant for us.