For some, time is everything. Some live on structured schedules to complete certain goals. For others, they live an unstructured schedule with time having minimal influence. Of course, with everything in life, there are differences, especially in ways we see time influencing what we do. So why am I writing this? Well, for some time now, no pun intended, I’ve been wondering why some feel the need to prove something by a certain time. Why do some feel pressured to accomplish certain goals or milestones by a specific period in time? How are goals and milestones calculated? Do people simply follow social standards as to when we should graduate, have career jobs, be engaged, be married, start a family, etc?
I’m not saying it’s bad if people do follow some sort of social structure. Hey if it works, it works. Though, I don’t think the sense of urgency of completing goals and milestones by an expected time is beneficial to all. Yes, I agree there are people who thrive and do well following a structured schedule, I’m sure doing so gives them purpose and motivation. Though, maybe following a structured time frame to complete goals and milestones doesn’t work for you.
For example, I mentioned how some feel obligated to graduate by a given time. The expected graduation rate, referring to the university I attended, is four years. Is it doable? Of course it is, I met people who managed to finish in four years. I also met people who took longer to graduate for different reasons. Some were starting a family, while some had personal issues to work through, and at the end, they graduated. Yes, they took longer than others, but what matters is they managed to accomplish the same goal.
I took five years to graduate and I was surprised to do so considering some life events that transpired while I was in college. When I started, I felt pressured to finish in four years. Why? I think possibly because that was the expected time frame given. I felt I would be a failure if I couldn’t graduate in four years. When I was in my fourth year and found out I needed one more year I felt like I let my self down. Luckily, I had the pleasure to meet someone who I feel inspired me to think outside the box about completing goals/milestones by a certain time.
So, on the first day of class, in my fourth year at college, we all assumed our classmate was the professor because he looked old (I know, how bad of us to assume). He laughed about the whole scenario and started talking to us how he was finally graduating after many years. He told us he attended back when he was in his twenties but didn’t finish because he was drafted to the Vietnam war. He explained how he thought graduation wasn’t possible anymore, how he was “too old” to go back. However, he told us he always thought about reapplying and finally decided to give it a chance. He mentioned how happy he was because he was finally graduating, he didn’t care how long graduating took because he accomplished something he thought wasn’t possible. His advice to us that day was not to feel discouraged because some of us are taking longer than others, taking time is part of life. He told us how not everyone moves at the same time and some of us need the extra time to accomplish something.
What I took from him that day is, not everything is going to happen how we plan it. Sometimes we have to work around events in our lives, even if taking longer to complete a goal/milestone is the outcome. I believe what matters is that the goal and milestone you are trying to work gets accomplished. Some of us focus on how long we took or trying to figure out why we are taking longer than others that we lose track of what matters. The only person who will know the right time is you. I don’t think a universal time frame can determine a schedule for YOUR goals and milestones.
I hope not to discourage those who are following a structured time, it’s really up to you to make that judgment. If following a structured schedule helps you stay motivated, stay on track, then by all means follow and do what works for you. If structured time is overwhelming, and you are not completing certain goal and milestones like everyone else, it’s okay. Work around what’s in front of you, take the time you need in order to accomplish the goals and milestones you are aiming for. Do what works for you, whether that’s following a structured time or following a schedule at your time.