The Unedited Truth About Why You Shouldn’t Live Your Life According To A Timeline


At some point in most women’s journey through life, we create this timeline for our lives. Most of us do it. We create a detailed list of the things we want to accomplish and when we want to accomplish them by. It’s a different list for everyone, but for me, this was my list:

1. Graduate College
2. Find my dream job
3. Get married
4. Buy a house
5. Have children
6. Be financially stable

I truly believed I could, and wanted to, accomplish all of these things by the age of 25.

Well. I’m 26 and have accomplished two out of the six goals on my list.

I graduated college and found a job doing something I love. This may be a good time to mention that I am an event planner, so planning is something instilled deep within me. I tend to get frustrated when something doesn’t go according to my plan. So imagine being a young girl and having this list set out for your life to accomplish by the age of 25, then surpassing the age of 25 and realizing you are nowhere near accomplishing the goals you had for planned for yourself. Sounds frustrating, right? Wrong.

I’ve had numerous talks with my mom, my girlfriends, those I consider mentors, etc. and every single one of them had the same answer: Ditch. That. List.

I was frustrated for a while, why didn’t they understand? Why did they not care about me not meeting my goals? Why did they not care that this was something I considered important in my life? It wasn’t until I took a look at my list and the place I’m at in my life that I realized how impractical it was to obtain these goals. Yes, I had accomplished two out of six, but when I took a look at the four remaining “goals” that I had for my timeline, I realized how ridiculous it was to be upset about not meeting those goals by a certain time frame. 

Let’s address why this was impossible for me by going through those remaining, unchecked goals on my list.

3. Get married

HA. I’ll admit, I was a little late to the dating game. Yes, I had “boyfriends” in high school, but I had never been in a serious relationship until my junior year of college at the age of 19. Is it realistic to think that I could learn how to be in a mature, trusting relationship within a six year time frame? Absolutely not. I’m on my third “serious” committed relationship at the age of 26 and I’m just now to the point where I feel like I understand the importance of truly choosing my battles, approaching things in a logical and mature manner, truly respecting the person I am dating and being happy for them when they are doing something that makes them happy.

Like I said, I was late to the dating game- I didn’t realize that trust was something you needed to give from the beginning and not try and build as the relationship progressed. Raise your hand if you have issues trusting others? **raises hands as high as they can go** I can guarantee you, if had been engaged and or married by the age of 25, I would most likely be getting a divorce by now, or be in a loveless marriage.

4. Buy a house

I’ve always been adamant about the fact that I don’t want to plant roots before I have someone to plant them with. This ties into the whole marriage factor. Yes, buying a house is a great investment and gains you equity… but I feel as if the experience would be exponentially more meaningful if you were doing this with someone you love and are building a life with. Buying a house is a huge financial decision; obviously, it is something you’ll never forget. It’s something you pop a bottle of champagne, celebrate and save the cork. For me, I’d much rather share that bottle of champagne with someone I’m building my life with and be able to cherish that moment for the rest of our lives together.

5. Have children

In today’s society, it is not uncommon to have a child out of wedlock. I do not frown upon, judge or look down upon those who do things in their own way. However, I am a bit of a traditionalist. I was raised by amazing parents, who did things in the order of my list, to an extent (maybe that is where I created my list from to begin with). Their list was in a different order- get married, have children, buy a house and then the rest to follow.

One day, when I have children, I want to be able to provide them with the best life possible- like the life my parents provided my brother and I with. I want to have values instilled in them, I want them to grow up in a faith based home, I want them to know they have parents that love one another with all their hearts and to also know they would have parents who will show them an example of what love looks like. My brother and I were lucky enough to witness true love in our parents.

I know every relationship is not perfect and I know there are arguments they had that I never knew about, but in 26 years of life- I have never witnessed my parents arguing. The example of love they showed us was extraordinary and indescribable. People tend to not believe me when I say that you can truly feel the love between my parents when you are in the same room with them, until they are in the same room with them. They set examples and values to follow and I want my (future) children to be able to grow up and say the same thing about my future husband and myself.

6. Be financially stable

I am unmarried, I am in a “coordinator” position still, I’ve only been in the real “working world” for three years now. I have student loans and other debts that I am paying off, I have rent, I have bills – sometimes it seems like I’ll get a paycheck and it’s gone within the day I receive it. I call this the “bill paycheck”, and it can be frustrating at times. This is one of those things that is a learning process and I’m still learning, I feel like it’s going to be an ongoing learning process for the rest of my life.

Like I said, I’m a planner- lists are important to me. But not this list. THIS list needs to be crumpled up, shredded and burned all in one setting.

As long as you are happy in life and are working towards your goals, there shouldn’t ever be a specific timeline to finish them by. I encourage you to look at your list and think hard about why you haven’t accomplished some things yet, and it may just be that they are completely out of your control, or it’s actually a great thing you haven’t done them yet!

Having a plan for your life and creating goals is very important. But what I’m here to say is… keep the list, but ditch the timeline!