The Mythical Timeline
There has always been a theme throughout my journey and that theme has been patience. I have the tendency to always want to rush the process and never trust the process. My rushing of the process has much to do with the illogical belief that I am behind. As a soon to be 35 year old female with no children, no husband and what appears to be no significant marker of time, it is easy to fall into the thought pattern of feeling like I am behind or something is wrong with me. Those type of thoughts are often triggered by social comparison. The comparison of one’s life to someone else’s life to determine if we are successful or not. You know the feeling. You see Joe’s family on social media who just took an extravagant family vacation to Aruba or maybe you scroll on your timeline and notice that Sally was just proposed to during the holidays and has a blinding rock on her hand. Those moments of social comparison can also lead to a significant pressure to rush the process and not trust the process. It can lead to a feeling of unfulfillment, failure or dissatisfaction in life. It can also cause us to refer back to the mythical timeline that influences how we measure our success, our worth and our place in life. So, what is the mythical timeline, you ask? The mythical timeline is the belief that one should have acquired, achieved, or obtained a series of experiences by a certain time. For example, on my entrepreneurial journey I have often compared myself to other entrepreneurs. I wondered why my business was not growing as swiftly as theirs. I had been working diligently in my business since 2019 and the progress seemed to be moving at snail speed while others seem to be dashing by me in the race. When thinking about the hard work, monetary investment and time that I poured into my business, I became frustrated and overwhelmed that the process was moving so slowly. I began to have thoughts about dissolving my business, feelings of regret and specifically feelings of overwhelm. After stressing and crying about the what appeared to be a stagnant process, God provided me with comfort by placing the thought in my head “you are not stressed with the task but you are stressed by the timeline”.
This means that it is not the task of finding a mate, it is not the task of finding our dream job, it is not the task of finding our dream home that overwhelms us but it is the time constraint that we have placed on our lives to achieve a certain task by a certain time. Think about it. Would you feel pressured about certain things if you did not think that you had to achieve them by a certain time? A lot of us will say, “I’m in my 30s and I’m still scrambling to find my purpose or discover what I’m supposed to be doing in life”. We begin to question our worth because we feel as if we should have life figured out by a certain age. We feel like we should own the home, have the children, have the spouse, have the things that others have at the same time that others have received them. We compare ourselves to others based on what they have accomplished on their journey and on their path but we must realize that each of us has a different path and there is no set timeline in which we will achieve certain things. The timeline is mythical and something that we have created in our own minds. The timeline cripples us and deters us from steadily believing in the things we desire.
I once joked to my friend about being 35 and not in a relationship. I jokingly said to her “wouldn’t it be nice if all of my waiting for the perfect guy was not in vain and I ended up with my dream guy Leo Dicaprio. My friend chuckled and said “What if you’re 50 when you meet him?” I responded “It’s Leo. Time does not matter with Leo, he’s timeless”. Although I know that I will not end up with Leonardo Dicaprio, (I’m a dreamer but not delusional), my conversation with my friend prompted a more profound thought. What if we pursued all of our desires, dreams and goals with that attitude? What if we treated all of the things we wanted as if they were timeless or not bound by time? If we treated our goals, aspirations, dreams and desires with that same attitude, we would not be so quick to give up or feel defeated when we had not obtained or accomplished those things by a set timeline. We would continue to pursue them with zeal because just like Leo, our dreams are timeless which means that they are not impacted by time. Do not deter from you dreams or become defeated because of the mythical timeline. You create your own path and the things that you desire, you will have. Remove the timeline, keep moving forward. To quote Andy Andrews, Start living your life as if you have already won. If you’ve already won, the timeline doesn’t even matter.
Check out my podcast on this topic: https://anchor.fm/richelle-l-smallwood/episodes/The-Mythical-Timeline-e1ciqpn