Age Is a Terrible Timeline

Photo: createherstock

Photo: createherstock

I had an epiphany the other day. I was driving home after covering the last keynote session at this year’s Online News Association conference, and as usual, a thought just wouldn’t leave my brain.

Maybe you can relate. You’re driving, or washing dishes, or in the shower, or cleaning your house and something just hits you upside the head and you can’t let it go. That’s what happened to me. I was minding my business, stuck in traffic on the 405 when something inside me came through loud and clear and hella rude.

F-ck your timeline, B.

Timelines are a huge deal, right? Often times we plan our lives by what age we think we will be (or should) when we accomplish XYZ thing we really want. For some folks timelines are just ever-present deadlines that help them keep their eye on the prize. But for many of us, myself included, timelines can be suffocating as hell.

At 35, I thought I’d have it all figured out. When I was 18, 35 sounded mad old and I just knew I’d be firmly into adulthood, working some kind of fabulous job, then coming home to my husband and kids. At 35, I thought everything would be clear and figured out, because that’s what I thought being an adult meant–knowing what the hell is going on at all times.

These days, however, I don’t have a clue.

I’m kinda living my dream, but honestly, that dream isn’t as dope as I once thought it would be.

Seriously, don’t let the celeb interviews and work trips out of town fool you. My life ain’t no crystal stair.

I’m a professional writer and I love it, but the constant grind that comes with this profession can wear you down, quickly. And though I thought I’d be a mom by this age, I never imagined I’d be raising my BrownBoyGenius without his father.

In short, I’m nowhere near where I thought I’d be by now…and I’m starting to be ok with it.

While I sat in traffic, I thought about all of the things I have yet to do. At 35, I’ve done a few awesome things: I’ve traveled to London, Paris, and South Africa; I learned to ride a motorcycle; and I swam with dolphins. But I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface yet.

Thing is, I used to (ok…sometimes still do), say I’m too old to try XYZ thing, as if something as superficial as biological age should be the deciding factor in learning something new, enjoying an experience, and just straight up living. Until my in-traffic epiphany I figured I needed to get serious and act sensible because I’m 35, but…why?

Why do we place limitations on ourselves because we reach a certain age?

After all, as Dr. Christiane Northrup said on Super Soul Sunday, “Getting older is inevitable, but aging is optional.”

I certainly don’t feel 35–whatever that means–and (hopefully) don’t look it either. So why should I limit my goals, dreams, and aspirations simply because I’ve been on this Earth longer than some?

So, I’m ditching artificial timelines. I will no longer say things like, “By 35 I want to own a house,” or “By 38 I want to be married.”

If those things happen, great, but I’m not going to stress myself out or make terrible, rushed decisions just to meet a deadline that’s doesn’t actually matter in the grand scheme of things.

Instead, I’m going to wake up every morning and ask myself, “What do you really want, B?” And God willing, I’ll answer honestly and figure out how to make it happen.

What about you?

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  • Dorothy

    Loooove this. And it is so true.

  • Lisa White

    Great article. I’m still a little older and just really started to live. I raised a great daughter, now It’s time for me. thanks for this blog.

  • ~CDA

    This so resonates. I’ve experienced the same, and it is why years ago, I decided to chuck age aside and just be. Whenever I’m asked how old I am, I suggest that folks choose whatever age they perceive me to be to satisfy their own need to know, while I just continue living. It’s very freeing.