Why You're Not Living Your Life If You're Following A Timeline

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By Samantha Proctor

People ask me all the time what my life plan is. I also hear other people discussing their own with friends and family.

And while it seems like a great idea to map out your life and know exactly what you want and when you want it, it’s not exactly practical.

Life is unpredictable and to say you want three kids by the time you’re 35 is setting yourself up for a potential letdown. And to say you never want kids at all is also setting yourself up for heartbreak.

I’m all for setting realistic goals, such as getting a degree or buying a house. But when it comes to the things that are sometimes out of your control, it’s unreasonable to expect these things to happen.

I have dreams and goals just like most other people, but I refuse to sit down and plan out my life as if that’s going to make everything happen.

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If that were the case, I would just write down that I want to be rich by the time I'm 22.

I don’t think you should say you want to be married by a certain age. Because if it doesn’t happen you are either going to be disappointed that you didn’t reach your goal or you’ll settle for the first guy you come across.

Either way, you will be unhappy.

My advice is to just keep that out of the plan. It’s easier to add it in than to take it out.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t want to get married, but that’s the kind of thing fate should play a role in. It should happen when it happens. It shouldn’t be forced.

Another major thing you should not necessarily plan to the date is a job.

While, yes, it is good to plan to have a steady job, it’s probably not the best idea to say you want a permanent job by the time you’re 23. Because, again, that could cause you to settle.

If you already know what job you want, go for it. If you get it, great.

But if you don’t necessarily know what you want, you shouldn’t accept the first thing that comes along.

Take the job so you can support yourself, but don’t stop looking.

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Having a life plan seems great. It makes you feel stable and safe because you think you know exactly where life is taking you and exactly what you want.

But things change. You change, what you want changes, and who you are with changes.

So, I think it’s unrealistic to believe that having a life plan makes everything permanent. Sometimes you can’t control the things that happen to you. You should have goals, but you shouldn’t give those goals a timeline. It’s only adding stress.

Many things in life are only temporary — jobs, relationships, feelings. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is let life happen. It can lead you down some incredible paths.

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That’s not to say there won’t be bumps along the way because there absolutely will be. But in the end, you will see the value in being able to look back on where that leap of faith took you.

You can’t control everything and everyone. And sometimes you can’t control yourself.

Sometimes you can make all the right decisions, but other circumstances lead you down another road. And that’s something you have to learn to accept.

Enjoy not knowing who you are. Take pride in not knowing where you're going.

It makes the future exciting and full of wonder. It means if something does change or you struggle with knowing what you want, you have some wiggle room.

It allows you to get married or find the perfect job when it’s the right time. It opens so many windows of possibilities.

Life gives us so many options and we should explore them before settling. It’s okay to not have it figured out right now.

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Samantha Proctor is a writer and creator of Girl On The Go. She blogs about life, beauty, and inspiration for women.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.