Life On Your Own Timeline
Living life on your own timeline requires courage. Society, friends, family, and even strangers all seem to have an opinion on when you should or shouldn’t be doing things. Everything from what age you should get married at, what age you should have children at, when you should buy a house, when you should start a new job, when you should move in together…the list goes on and on.
Societal Pressures on Women
Women in particular are faced with an insane set of unspoken societal standards aren’t they? When I turned 31 last year, I personally felt it more than ever before. It felt like an invisible rulebook or guide that was out there saying you should get married as soon as possible, have babies right away, and buy a house with a white picket fence, all while working full time and looking perfect!
Just a few of these “standards/rules” that I’ve been subjected to myself… When I was first starting my business, I remember someone who told me I wasn’t ready, that I should write a 10 page business plan, and that I needed years more of experience. Luckily, I completely ignored them and started anyway. 10 years later, I still do not have a “10 page business plan” and the person that gave me the advice is no longer in business.
Another time, I was telling a friend that Thomas and I were moving in together after dating for 3 months. The person said that it was too fast and I shouldn’t do it. I ignored that advice and listened to my instinct, which turned out to be right. Moving in together was one the best decisions I’ve ever made. Moral of the story, you’re in charge of your life. Only YOU know what’s right for YOUR life. No one else can be sure of what will or won’t work for you, so do YOU.
This timeline that we all feel or have felt at some point in our lives, isn’t talked about enough and I really wanted to open up the conversation around it. I know many of you are in a transition period. Whether it be moving out of a city, starting a new job, looking for a job, trying to find someone nice to date (or maybe you don’t even want to date at all but you feel pressure to!), trying to get pregnant, deciding you don’t want children, buying a home (or selling all of your belongings and road tripping!), eloping, planning a wedding, you name it. These are all such exciting things, but I do I know how they can often bring up a LOT of outside judgement, anxiousness, and a deep sense of urgency.
Breaking the Mold
Something I’ve always told myself is, “If you want to live an extraordinary life, then don’t live an ordinary life.” As cheesy as it sounds, I’ve always dared to dream big and pushed the boundaries on almost everything in my life. I believe in doing what you want, when you want, and asking for permission LATER. As organized and regimented as I can be at times, I’m also an incredibly free spirit. I believe in going to the beat of your own drum.
How To Respond To Others
Don’t conform to other people’s standards, instead make your own. Don’t feel pressured to do something just because everyone else is doing it! If you’re 35 and single, and have no desire to date, but your parents keep pressuring you to settle down, simply tell them, “I really appreciate you thinking of me. I’m doing what’s best for me right now. Thank you so much for respecting that!” If you’re newly married and your in-laws keep asking when you’re having a baby say the same thing, “I really appreciate your interest. Right now, I’m focusing on doing what’s best for me.”
If you’re feeling like everyone around you is settling down or somehow “ahead” of you in certain areas of their lives, remind yourself, “I’m in charge of my own life. I’m lucky to be able to live life on my own timeline. I love having this freedom and I trust the process.” If you’re feeling judged from strangers on your decision to not have children say, “I really appreciate you thinking of me. This is what’s best for my life. I really hope you’re doing what’s best for yours!” If you’re feeling pressure to start a new job or project say, “I appreciate your sentiment. I’m glad you have faith in my decision making and know that I’m going to do what’s best for me.”
It’s all how you look at, react and approach a situation. You can see the glass half full or half empty, you know? We cannot compare our lives and trajectories to others. The person we see in our community or on Instagram, who has “checked” all of society’s boxes and seems to be living the “perfect life” (PS there is no such thing!) may very well be privately struggling with something. We honestly just never know what goes on in people’s lives! This is why it’s SO important to never compare ourselves to others when we haven’t walked a mile in their shoes.
I hope that you always live life on your own timeline – regardless of whether or not it’s popular or understood. I hope that you give yourself credit for how much strength and courage it takes to carve your own path and do your own thing – I know it’s not easy! At the end of the day, we only get one life and you’ve got to make sure you’re living it for YOU! Never, ever stop going to the beat of your own drum, I know I won’t! xx