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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  • This is the article that should be pinned to every girls wall. I mean that. My daughter is always comparing her life at 22 to what mine was at 22 (and glamorizing it). She would be so much happier if she would worry less about what she thinks she should be doing right now. Young women need more voices like this in their corners.

  • You and I were on the EXACT SAME timeline, I swear. Now I’m almost 27, single, no sight of a man or children anywhere on the horizon, and working on my masters in biology and working with alligators. When I was 17, my plan was 2 year art school, married, kids, and life together by 25. I can’t even imagine what my life would be like if I were married or had kids, but it sure as heck wouldn’t be what it is now. And I couldn’t be happier about it! There’s something really liberating about jumping the rails of your timeline train and running off the tracks. Thanks for making this post. It’s so nice knowing I’m not the only one with a timeline that I broke away from.

  • Oh yeah! I totally feel this post! My dad always used to ask me when I was getting married, as if the fact that I was single and hadn’t met anyone who wanted to marry me (let alone who I wanted to marry) was irrelevant. I always found that so weird, like it didn’t matter who I married, as long as I was married.

    These days I’m happy in a relationship, and we’re pretty open about not planning to get married or have kids. I kind of feel like “you’ll regret it when you’re older” is a really bad reason for bringing a child into the world, and I’m horrified by the thought of spending a years wages on one fancy party and a dress. I kind of feel like the people who ask these questions usually do so because they lack the imagination to consider that someone might be happy with a different life from them. But it’s still a bit weird and intrusive to ask!

    Anyway, thank you for writing this post. I always feel it’s great when people talk about stuff like this, because I suspect there’s loads of us out there who feel the same way, but don’t realise it because no-one ever talks about it!

    • Oh my goodness, yes, that is literally one of the worst reasons I’ve heard. It never fails to make me go “wuuuut?!”

      And yes, that’s exactly why I wanted to write this! <3

  • I love this! Thanks for this post. I recently sold a home that I’d bought at a time when I’d thought I was “supposed to” (age 26). I’m now living across the country in an apartment living a totally different life. There’s no doubt it was the right call for me, other peoples’ timelines be damned. I’m happy you’ve crafted the timeline that works for you and your life, It’s an awesome feeling!

  • i’m glad you posted this, I’m actually working on a similar blog post about having kids, etc. something that i’ve noticed is that people will say.. “when are you going to have kids” vs “do you want to have kids”…. almost like its a necessity to life or something…. also I’ve noticed that people will say something like…. “well you’re selfish for not wanting kids”… and it’s usually the parents or grandparents that say those things… gah. this hasn’t happened to me but just an observation. i think more and more people especially in our generation.. the millennials.. are starting to understand that they DO NOT need to follow “society’s plan”… i just hope more people catch on .. especially my younger sisters generation etc…

  • AMEN!!!!
    i turned 46 in early july. somehow i managed to turn down marriage five times (yes, five). i only own a house because i got flooded out of my fantastic apartment and refused to give my two dogs up so i had to buy a house. i’ve never given birth or adopted children. my life is wonderful and lovely, full of joy. some people just don’t get that a woman (or man!) can be extremely living life as it comes to them…happy doing what they want, when they want.
    sort of ironically, i have finally met “my person” and believe that marrying him is the perfect thing to do. not because i “should” be married (my mother taught me to never let anyone should on me), but because i want to spend the rest of my life with him.
    hope others stay true to what is best for them, on their own terms. everyone has their own timeline that is perfect for them.