*cue curtain roll and planet earth jungle tunes*
0-4 years old: we’re pretty much free to do as we please, spending our days sleeping, eating, giggling (in my case, screaming) and just being a cute little dribbly thing. No responsibilities or commitments. We’re new to the world. We’re learning every day and we’re exhausted. Give us a break.
Age 4-17/18: the education years. Probably the most influential years of our lives where we sit in classrooms and “learn”. Often our success is based off how well you can teach yourself what was supposed to be learned during class time – by teachers who couldn’t care less if you listen or not. We learn to pass exams, not to settle our taxes or apply for mortgages or any of that useless stuff…nah just trigonometry and how to pick apart poems about blind horses. At this stage we’re preparing for the world of FURTHER education.
*Cue next slide of the life timeline*
Age 17-21: studying a little more but still not enough for a degree you’re 80% positive you’re going to use in the future. The other 20% of you wants to sack it all off and run away into the wilderness to build your own treehouse. But no, you stay and plug your way through your 17th year of education to finally end up with your classification and your fancy gown – fantasising in your head about the day you’ll collect your empty paper tube and how wonderful it’ll all be when “it’s all over”.
In reality (and if your graduation day was anything like mine) it will most likely be spent stressing over your hair, outfit, and whether you’re going to be the first person to stack it walking up to the platform to receive what you’ve been working for since you were old enough to write. Or also in my case, wearing heels I couldn’t walk in and ordering a gown 2 sizes too big because you forget to convert to inches when writing down your measurements mid-dissertation-head-fog.
Post Graduation: aaaand then we get to the stage of life where no one really knows what the hell to do next…
Anyone who’s says they walked straight out of uni into the job of their dreams is lying. Yes, I said it. And if you’re one of those people that’s thinking “well I did, I did that!” Then I applaud you. Because the rest of us are just sitting here putting all our troubles into little compartments and stuffing them to the very back of our subconscious. Threatening to combust and cause full scale meltdowns at any given point, especially when triggered with phrases like “grad schemes”, “future plans” and the dreaded “so what’s next then?” from people who’ve not seen you in a while – unknowingly sending you into a downward spiral of “WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE” at 4am as you polish off that tub of ben and jerries while Netflix asks you “are you still there ?”.
And sometimes I have to ask myself – what actually comes next in this timeline that was constructed for us all, before we were even on the path to being born? Why is it the “norm” to just follow along with what everyone else is doing without questioning if it’s the right time for us, on our own personal life timetables? Why do people who take gap years before university feel like their “behind” when they see their high school classmates graduating the year before them, disregarding their own personal development that happened to them on their “year out”. I’m sorry, a year out of what exactly ? Oh yes, that’s right, the timeline !
Shame on them for taking a whole YEAR to make a decision about whether further education is the right path for them or whether the world of work, pay slips and income tax is calling their name. Shame on them for thinking outside the timeline, taking time out of their own lives, how dare they stall ! A whole year “wasted” just to enable them to make the right decision about what is right for them to do at that particular point in their life ? Bloody shocking if you ask me! GO GO GO. Get a move on, get back in the rat race and make something of yourself!! The timeline is ticking for Christ sake !
And it begs the question, seriously. Sarcasm aside. What’s the bloody rush? Why are we so obsessed with “what’s next”. I get that it’s nice to have something to look forward to and there’s nothing more exciting than having cool plans to mark in your calendar to get us through the crappy 12 hour shifts and douchey customers we have to deal with… just to make a wage to take us away from this life plan we were all in such a rush to begin!
Why don’t we all take a leaf out of our 0-4 year old life stage and learn to enjoy the life we’re living rather than continually crossing off dates on the calendar on our kitchen walls looking forward to the day we can escape it all for 2 weeks of peace n quiet…
Now this isn’t a rant to encourage a lot of impromptu sickies at work next week or for you all to book a one way flight to Thailand and live with the monkeys. It’s merely a reaction to people asking me, while I’m only half way through on the trip of a lifetime, “so what’s next then?”. WHO GIVES A CRAP. Life is constructed in such a way to give us an outline, a routine, or a set of blueprints we can ALTER and ADJUST to our own personal needs and paths. These timelines we have drummed into our brains telling ourself we “need” to get a move on, or we “need” to sort ourselves out just NEEDS to shut up for once.
We’ve done it. We’ve paid our dues. We’ve spent the better part of two decades following along this life plan so what’s stopping us taking a fraction of our lives to have just for ourselves. To enjoy LIFE before we jump right back on that bandwagon and work our way up into the big bad world of bills, mortgages and car insurance until we’re finally old enough to retire…
*cue grey hair and strewn whethers originals wrappers*
Age 70 (probably 120+ by the time I’m retiring, when the world is ruled by monkeys with clashing symbols and a pint of milk costs 3 bananas..) aka the part of our lives we actually get to enjoy. Where we get to sit all content and happy that we spent our lives working hard for all this money we now don’t really know what to do with, cos all our pals are deed and we’ve got no one to go sky diving with.
I say screw the timeline.
I say YOU DO YOU. whether you’re 2 years old, 22 or 62 – the timeline wasn’t fashioned to be stuck to religiously. Start uni at 35. Quit your job at 48 and start your dream career at 50. Have kids whenever the hell you want. 13, or 33 it doesn’t really matter. If it’s your time and you’re ready for the next stage of your life that suits YOU then that’s what to do.
Scrunch up that stupid timeline and light it on fire. This is your life. Your one and only shot at being a HAPPY human in a world that won’t even be here one day. When it’s all said and done, are you going to regret taking the chances that didn’t work out the way you wanted them to, or are you going to regret not taking them at all?
It’s megs’ motivation Monday and life is too short to be stuck on a path that’s not our own. If you can make a change and want to make one, I dare you to start today.
And if it doesn’t work out? Awk well.
There’s always the timeline to fall back on, but it’s never there to be prioritised if we can help it.
Have a great one !