the timeline myth

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! 

Author: Kaylah

Just a green haired gal from Cleveland, Ohio.

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  • I love this post! It’s so important that I keep reminding myself to not compare what’s happening (or not happening) in my life with others around me.

  • This is so true! people have their own timelines for their lives. I used to look up that kind of stuff too, but in the end we just do what is right for us. I am living with my boyfriend now after a few years of dating, we moved in together. That might not be right for some people, but it was right for us. Great post!

  • If I had lived my life according to what a very young 20 something me thought of as “successful” I would be missing out on the things I do have. My life is drastically different than what I planned. And I couldn’t be happier. I’m so glad you found your happiness! You do you, sister.

  • Yes yes yes! I wish people were told this when they were younger! I have never wanted marriage and kids. I’m lucky that I just knew and didn’t care what people thought but it baffles everyone I meet and I can’t help but wish they were more open minded about life, y’know? Also I only moved in with my boyfriend after 7 years so…. 😬

  • Omg I’m so glad you posted this- sometimes it takes reading something for it to really sink in! We impose the worst “rules” on ourselves but they can create such a mind prison.

  • I love this post. Such wise thinking! It took one failed marriage to find the love of my life and I remarried at 32, after living together for a couple of years. My current husband and I were good friends for a long time before that, so we officially moved in together about a year after we took our relationship up a notch. The first marriage ended partly because I didn’t want kids. He changed his mind a few years in and decided he wanted them. Plus he hung a bunch of religious bulls*** over my head trying to coerce me into pregnancy. Trust me, being married to the wrong person and going through the motions because you’re supposed to is truly miserable. One of my good friends and her partner have never married despite being together nearly 15 years, but they just recently had a baby that was planned. They’re still eternally committed even if there is no ring! There’s no rule book for relationships, and screw the people who think there is.

    Home ownership isn’t for everyone either. Been there done that twice, and now we rent. 🙂 Fixing a broken sump pump at 10PM in a muddy crawlspace after a downpour because the standing water is inches from your furnace is no piece of cake…that’s one of the downsides I experienced with owning.

    We hope to buy a camper van someday, and be a couple of childfree nomads with our cats!

    • Eeep! Glad to hear it all worked out for you.

      We too are definitely considering camper life at some point. Not any time soon but it’s more of a possibility than children! 😛

  • This is such an important post. I don’t want to have kids and I have known that since I was a teenager, but it’s affected how I’ve been treated by certain members of my family. My two cousins both have multiple kids and when I’ve tried to reach out to them to deepen our relationship, they say that they’re busy and I wouldn’t understand. Whenever something comes up that needs to be done, I’m always volunteered to do it because “Gabbi doesn’t have anything going on in her life.” They don’t accept the fact that I choose to have dogs as my kids, make fun of me for buying my dogs presents for their birthdays and Christmas, that I threw them a party for their birthdays, roll their eyes when I’m so concerned about them. I don’t want to get married either and I’ve been dating my boyfriend for five years and it’s the same thing. I struggle really hard with feeling like it’s okay because of the adversity I constantly face from my family and friends. On the one hand, I know that it’s okay and my choice, but on the other hand, I constantly hear the negative and question it. It’s hard.

    And PS – who wants to own a home and have the responsibility of fixing it and all that crap?! Not me!

    • I feel ya! That’s such a bummer though.

      And yeah, one of my favorite things about being a renter is being able to just say “hey, this is broke” and someone will come fix it with no cost to me!

  • This is so important. I’m turning 28 this year and finally, just a little bit aways from completing my bachelor’s degree. I finally moved in with my boyfriend after dating for 3 years. Many of my other friends are already married with children, others are already established in a career. But doing things on my time line feels right for me.

  • I agree with this so much! I have been married for 4 years, we have been together 7 in total, and people keep asking why we haven’t had kids yet. Like do they expect me to say “Hmm. good point, we’ll get started on that right away!” ?? I’ll probably have them at some point but right now I just don’t feel like it. Which is another thing a lot of people don’t understand. Also on a similarly related topic, I think it’s crazy how you’re “supposed” to figure out what you want to do as a career when you’re a teenager and then start college for that thing right after high school. That’s what I did, and it ended up ok, but I kinda wish I would have just taken some time, tried different things and figured out more about myself first than diving straight into a random career.

    • Hahah! Right!? “Oh thanks for reminding me! I’ve been meaning to have a few kids! Totally forgot!”

      And yeah, totally agree with you there!! It is really nutty that you’re not even old enough to drink or live on your own but you should definitely know what you want to be FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFEEEEE!