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Beyond Society’s Clock: Embracing Your Personal Life Timeline for Success & Happiness

Updated: Nov 26, 2023

No matter who you are and the walk of life you come from, I’m pretty sure you have thought about your own personal life timeline. For example, some may think of getting married at 25, having a house by the age of 30 and having kids at 32. Whereas others don’t want to get married at all. Some people may want to own their own business by 35 and others don’t want to run their own business.

So what is a life timeline? Well according to an article on The Knot, “A life timeline, or the timeline of your life, is exactly what it sounds like. It's the idealized schedule of milestones you'd like to accomplish by certain ages. Most people have life timelines, even if they are subconscious.”

Society has a way of putting extensive pressure on individuals to follow a particular timeline which is considered normal and expected. It’s quite linear in nature and is expected to be followed in a certain order. Each person’s timeline is different and personal to who they are as a person. Life is not linear, but more of a jungle gym. Society may sometimes like us to believe that life is linear, but it isn’t. We may have a destination we want to reach in life and have an expectation that by following a particular set of rules and a set path (dictated by society), we are almost guaranteed ro reach it. However for most people it’s not so straightforward. From my experiences with people and learning about their life journey and how they got to where they are, I learnt that they had to jump through many hoops, get off the highway and embark on a completely different path/s in order to reach their ideal destination.

We may tend to follow society’s timeline and apply it directly to our life only to find out later down the road that we are not happy with that timeline. If we are not reaching the milestones that society has set, we may feel very low and unaccomplished. This is where comparison comes into play. Social media has played a huge role with regards to comparing ourselves to others. We may be accomplishing our own wonderful things, but then we go ahead and open our Instagram only to see someone else accomplishing things that we feel are more superior than our accomplishments. In turn, we may feel like a failure and that we have not accomplished enough.

According to Dr. Anisha Patel-Dunn, DO, a psychiatrist and the Chief Medical Officer at LifeStance Health, "By nature, social media is an attempt at marketing one's own brand, so we tend to put the best versions of ourselves out there for it. We can see our friend's highlight reels, and we can find ourselves comparing them to our personal behind the scenes, and we may feel like we're doing something wrong. We may struggle to see the context behind the moment, and not see the greater picture."

Here are a few examples of famous people who started later in life:

  • Amancio Ortega launched Zara when he was 39.

  • Colonel Sanders, was 62 when he franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1952.

  • Jack Ma started Alibaba when he was 35.

  • Virgin was started by Richard Branson when he was 34.

  • Arianna Huffington founded her namesake news publication, The Huffington Post, at age 55.

  • Eric Yuan founded Zoom at the age of 41.

A lot of people who look at the people above from the outside may tend to believe that they made it overnight which was not the case. It took them a long time to build their companies to what it is today and they all had their own personal life timeline.

"It's essential to remember that, while your friend might be achieving things in their life in their way based on their priorities and goals, yours might be different, " explains Laurel House a published author and celebrity relationship and dating coach.

“You are exactly where you are supposed to be”

I watched a video by Marie Forleo giving advice on when you are feeling behind in life. She shared some insightful information. She spoke about 2 particular things that stood out to me that I will elaborate on below. 1 being ”Adore your Detours'' and 2 being “Stop drinking compare tequila.”

#1 Adore your detours: Have you ever been on a road trip and sometimes you decide to take the scenic longer route and you end up discovering something beautiful along that scenic route, which you wouldn’t have discovered had you been on the highway? You may meet someone that you dearly look up to who gives you advice that literally changes your life forever.

Sometimes life will not go the way you planned it, but it’s these detours that can shape you, help you develop a strong mindset and equip you with the tools that will be needed at a later point in your life.

Whatever path you take in life- you will learn valuable lessons that you need right now at this very point in your life.

Trust is everything! You have got to trust the timing of your life.

#2 Stop drinking “compare tequila”: When you compare your path with someone else’s path- you are drinking “compare tequila”. This tequila is notorious for a really bad comparison hangover. Comparison is truly a killer of joy. Remember that joy is truly something that keeps us going in life.

You Are Right Where You Are Supposed To Be

Reach into your soul's pocket and embrace that wisdom that is now yours: This life is about more than this moment, but this moment can change your life and the lives of others.

In conclusion- I always like to say trust the process and know that things will happen when the time is right for you. But remember to still take consistent action on the dreams that you have right now for your life and surround yourself with people that will encourage you to keep going, uplift you, and share this mindset of everyone having their own personal timeline.

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