Monday, November 22, 2010

Screw the Timeline for Life

So I was reading this blog post about how we 20-something women have a tendency to set a life deadline of 30. By 30 we should be getting married and ready to have babies (or already have a litter brewing). Our career should be on the right track and then the rest of our lives will just magically fall into place during the fourth decade of our being.

I'm sad to admit that sometimes a little voice deep inside my brain nags me with similar thoughts. Though I'm happy to say that I know it's all crap. Deadlines for things like that are impossible not to mention absolutely absurd — and that's coming from the girl who thrives on deadlines. 

I can't help but report that sometimes I get kind of freaked out about the looming possibility of becoming the next Bridget Jones. (Ahem, favorite chick flick of all time despite the crazy spinster fears it has planted in the back of my mind.) 

And not that anyone is saying it or trying to rush me but compared to my family, I'm seriously late in the game. 

The majority of my cousins (and my brother and sister for that matter) were married and/or had (at least one) baby by the time they were 22. Here I am 24, no prospects and vehemently warding off the mere idea of pregnancy.

But Saturday, the kid who lived next door to me in high school, who is two years younger than me and I kind of thought of as a little brother, got married. He's what seems like the 3 millionth person I know to get married this year. 

Then, mere moments ago, my best friend from middle school had her first baby (6 lb. 14 oz. of precious might I add). She's also the third person I know to have a baby this year and there are several others who have recently peed on a stick only to find out it's positive. 

(Seriously, there must be something in the water!)

I am absolutely happy for them, don't get me wrong. It's just strange watching everyone else have their lives "on track" while I seem like I've strayed so far from the prescribed path. But at the same time, I absolutely wouldn't change it for the world. 

I've been able to see things that I would have had no chance of seeing if I had jumped out of college, gotten married and started having babies. I'm inching into a career path that I believe is unique and while I don't have it totally figured out yet I know that if I hadn't have done things the way I did I wouldn't have come anywhere near it. 

And even beyond all that, I'm simply just not ready for all of that. The last thing anyone should do is get married or have children just for the sake of doing it, especially to adhere to some ill-conceived notion of a time table for life. Maybe I will be ready before I'm 30, maybe not. But I don't see why I should have to have that all figured out right now.

The veritable path of life is great for some people (hell, maybe most?) but it's just not for me and I'm glad I had the chance to figure it out.

So screw all those articles and studies and whoever else that say that by not "growing up" and jumping on the wife-and-mommy train, I and people like me are running away from adulthood and responsibilities and all that jazz. 

I'm an adult. I take care of my stuff. Besides, I very distinctly remember being told by my mom and all my teachers as a child that I'm special and I can be anything I want to be in the world. Well, why is that true as a child and not as a grown up? Maybe I'm just that damn special.

Right now I want to be a traveler and a teacher and writer. Later I'll probably want to add wife and mother to the list, but how about I take the time to figure out me without all the attachments first?


  1. I saw your profle at 20 Something BLoggers and hopped over here to check out your blog. I love it! Just added it to my reader, looking forward to reading interesting stories from a fellow English teacher!

  2. OMG! You are so right- there is totally this weird pressure on what you need to have done before you turn 30! LOL

    I have this whole list of things I want to have done before I am 30, but I think I am going to lighten up a bit about it, because you are completely right that it is totally ridiculous!

    Love your blog and am following!!!

  3. I liked this post. I was freaking out a few weeks ago that it is going to take me an extra year to graduate which will put me at 23 before I can start a Master's program. Plus, I got married at 20, and we are always getting the "so when ya having babies" question. Then I need to realize that I'm only 21, people need to back off, and I need to chill. This helped me feel better, so thanks =)


  4. Glad to know I'm not the only one. Sometimes I feel like I go on a tiny rant in my blog and it might not resonate with others. Good to know I'm not crazy.

  5. I came across this blog while reading some Taiwan blogs. You guys are funny! As a single woman who just turned 30 *gasp* and who is teaching ESL in Taiwan *double gasp* I have some advice for you.

    I felt kinda freaked about turning 30. It didn't have to do with being single (I was in a relationship for many years and the dissolution of that happily led to me pursuing my dreams of traveling) but more because I felt like I just have some kind of stable career. Sometimes I think wow, look at all these kids teaching ESL...but then again, I've met lots of people mid-thirties and older who are still teaching ESL and they're happy.

    One thing I'm learning is that there is no set path we have to follow. In western society especially, people seem to think that you HAVE to follow this certain schedule or you're a loser/deviant. Who makes these rules?

    Every life and story is unique.

    Turning 30 isn't so bad...I honestly don't feel much different from when I was 21 though I spent my birthday crying.:) So don't worry. And enjoy your adventures.

    You can catch up with me at if you want to read more about being 30, single, and traveling.;)

  6. I'm 27 and my timeline is way off. I should have already had my masters, but life happened. It's sad to see students who were 4 or more grades below me already married with multiple kids. I admire you for going as far as you have. When (or as) I get my degree I hope to roam the world too.


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