Finish high school by 18 and university at 23. Get a well-paying job by 24. Get married by 25. Start having babies by 26. Stop having children by 30. Live happily ever after until 100.
This was the ideal plan of almost every young person when we were growing up. It still is for many young people, I guess. We worked hard to meet such timelines. Fortunately, we could meet some timelines but for others, we couldn’t. The more we tried to, the more helpless we looked. We were racing with our self-imposed timelines and the more we did, the more stressful life became for us.
As we grew up, we got to realize the wisdom in deadlines― they are great but may not always be met. Timelines keep us on our toes but shouldn’t be the reason our lives will be stressed out. When we can’t meet our deadlines because of reasons beyond our control, we should live life to its maximum still.
Many factors have an influence on what we perceive as our deadlines and try much as we can, we have no power over some of these factors. Human as we are, we are limited in how soon our dreams become a reality. It may not be because we didn’t work hard. It may just be fate― a reminder that God’s clock is not man’s clock!
What we consider ideal may not always be the reality. Everyone wished they had a decent job, for instance, at 25. They wished life was all comfortable before age 30. However, things don’t sometimes happen just because we want them to. Life sometimes has a way of distorting our timelines and when such happen, we must not fret. Our dreams may sometimes tarry but we have to be hopeful anyway.
We all have somewhat given timelines to when some milestones should happen in our lives. It’s great to give deadlines to all of such and work hard towards meeting them. However, the million-dollar question everyone should ask themselves intermittently is, “What if these deadlines are unmet at the said period despite all our efforts?”
When we set out to give deadlines to our dreams, we always forget to allow space for circumstances that may not necessarily be within our control. We may be forceful but such circumstances beyond our control may be stressful and render some of these dreams unfulfilled.
While we work hard to make our dreams a reality, we ought to remember that though we may have our timelines, God has the clock and He alone determines when what should happen. It doesn’t mean we should work any less. It simply means that while we do everything possible within our abilities, we need more patience when those dreams are not taking shape as quickly as we want them to.
Truthfully, the more our desires tarry, the older we get. People may remind us that we are not getting any younger. They may be right but not entirely because our deadlines are not God’s. It may be a woman’s deadline to have children by 30 but others have equally had children after 30. It may have been someone’s deadline to have had a degree by 25 but others have had same after 25 and have gone on to achieve even greater feats.
Our age may force us to slam deadlines on ourselves. We work ourselves out to beat such deadlines. At the end of the day, we only realize that these needless and self-imposed targets make our live worse, instead of making it better. It forces us into a world of endless worry and comparison with others who supposedly have beaten our timeline.
We may allow society to force us to take certain decisions because our deadlines are drawing nigh. What we must always remember, however, is that it is OUR deadline, not God’s deadline. If God created all things and has the final say in what our life becomes, then His deadline is what matters most in this life. As long as He has not blown life’s whistle, our lives can still be a hopeful one. We can still hope that our dreams may come true soon.
The challenge is not with your age. It is allowing that age to limit you. If it is marriage, still be hopeful. If it is about children, don’t give up yet. Should it be about your education or whatever, your age is the last thing that should limit you. Don’t let people’s deadlines influence your timelines. Everything may have happened for them at age 30. The fact that it may happen for you later doesn’t mean you are late to the party. Your timeline was just different!
When people remind you of your biological clock, remind them that man’s deadline is not God’s deadline. Remind them that man’s biological clock is not God’s clock. It may be dawn according to man’s clock. To God, it may only be dusk. Our deadline is not God’s deadline!
Times without number, we allow society to give us deadlines as to when we should have achieved one thing or another. When some of these deadlines don’t materialize, we should not fret and race against time lest we take decisions only to regret later.
Getting married before 30, for instance, is great but if it doesn’t happen for you, don’t kill yourself to wear a ring at all cost. Having a baby before a certain age is awesome but if at the said age, you are still childless, fret not. Don’t fall for any schemes just in a bid to beat your so-called deadline.
The fact that it is your deadline doesn’t mean it’s God’s as well. We all have times and seasons when some things would happen for us. All we need to do is to keep working hard and keep reminding ourselves that all our seeds will yield a harvest in God’s own time!
Kobina Ansah is a Ghanaian playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications ( www.scribecommltd.com ), an Accra-based writing firm.