the timeline myth

by Kaylah Stroup

When I was a young teenager I thought I’d be married in my early twenties. I’d definitely be a homeowner and my life would be sorted. That by twenty five or so I’d have popped out a baby or two. Obviously things didn’t go as “planned”

Even more obvious than that is that that’s a good thing. I’m certainly glad I dodged any martial bullets, and I’m elated that I was able to reach a point in my life where I actually considered whether or not kids were for me – they aren’t – before just having some because I thought it was what I should do. I also found that homeownership really didn’t fit my life, at least not at this point.

It feels like so often we do things only because it’s what we think we’re supposed to do. I thought I had to be married and having kids in my twenties or else I was a failure of some sort. That there was this timeline that my life had to follow.

In your twenties and not married? How often do you get asked when you’ll be tieing the knot? Even if you’re not dating anyone seriously. It’s like it’s more important for you to cross off that milestone than do anything else. There were times when shortly after Jeff and I started dating people would ask when we were having kids. Like it was a given that that is what I wanted to do with my life. It’s such bull crap. It doesn’t make anyone feel good to be asked those invasive questions, especially since they’re normally asked by those who have no right to be asking in the first place.

The idea for this post stemmed from a private message I received on instagram about how long it took Jeff and I to move in together, and how reading that it took us three years gave her hope. I wanted to write something that I, myself, may have needed to read. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve googled things like “how long do you wait to move in together?” and “how long do you date until you get married?” All the top results felt so phony, the answers so cheesy and sometimes even manipulative. All I’ve ever wanted to hear is that everyone has their own timeline. There is no wrong amount of time for people to wait to do things.

My parents were married within four months of their first date. Forty one years later, they’re still married (and cute as heck together, I might add!) Clearly that worked out for them. That doesn’t mean that everyone should do that. It doesn’t make mine and Jeff’s relationship any less real, important or stable because we decided to wait longer. It doesn’t mean we love each other any less. It just means some people need more time to make big leaps.

So meet someone new, move in together within a few months.
Meet someone, fall in love, wait three years to share a home together.
Get married.
Don’t get married.
Have kids.
Don’t have kids.
IT DOESN’T MATTER, as long as it’s what right for you. No one has any right to make you feel any less for your decisions or the amount of time it takes you to do something.

I feel like I could keep writing this post forever. But let’s keep it relatively short and to the point…

There is no one timeline that works for everyone.

This applies to everything – driving, college, relationships, moving out of your parents house, marriage, kids, jobs. As long as you’re happy and doing your best that’s all that matters. You do you! 

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