Life Isn't Linear
Updated: May 8, 2021
“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ― Steve Jobs
Normalize finding love in your 40's. Normalize discovering and chasing dreams in your 30's. Normalize finding yourself and your purpose in your 50's.
Life doesn't end at 25. Let's stop acting like it does. @compassionatereminders
I have many conversations with clients in their 20's who talk as if they are in their 80's and they are at the end already. They talk about how they do not have the big/fancy job their friends have, they don't measure up, they haven't saved for the future, they don't have a big home (or if they do - they can't afford it). There is constant comparison to others their age as if things happen for everyone in a linear fashion all the time. It feels like a dangerous message internalized by a lot of us that you have to be married by 25, have a career by 30, etc. I've always been in disagreement with putting pressure on anyone to get to "the next part of life" without knowing what they are individually going through.
I also think there is value in spending time being single and figuring out how to be kind to oneself first before finding a partner. In our 20's, many of us care so deeply what others think that we live out of a mantra of fear that we're missing out if we don't say yes to every offer. We ignore our own needs and desires to "look cool or fit in." A paradigm shift is needed to put ourselves more on the radar and to get to say, "Actually, I'm good and I'm going to go do something different now."
I remember being 27-years-old and I spent a year in Australia, having the best year of my life. One day, I complained to friends that I didn't have a wife and kids (The US mindset entrenched so well that I didn't fully appreciate the freedom and adventure I was experiencing). My friends from Europe pushed back and encouraged me to enjoy the present, telling me that in Europe there isn't the same pressure as in the US to do things so linearly. Starting that part of life can happen at many different times in a person's life. One friend even asked if I really wanted that right now. Truthfully, I didn't want that at the time. I was content where I was, but there were internalized messages about my worth being tied to being on the same timeline as others.
In therapy school, there were three students in their 60's who went back to school after having other careers. I remember thinking, "Well if they can do it in their 60's, that's something to emulate." Yalom talks about the fear of death being mitigated with having as few regrets as possible in life. There's something to be said about having adventures, meeting new people, laughing, staying in on a rainy day, or just enjoying the present moment. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed, and living linearly seems to miss each person's individual journey that comes with its up's & down's. Let's normalize giving ourselves credit for the attempt to live fully and to be more ok in our present. It's all we have.