I often find daily planning to be annoyingly exhausting: when to eat dinner, return a phone call, hang the clothes, grocery shop. My timed decisions and scheduled obligations fall in series; each moment knocking against the unforeseen progression in domino succession. These frustrations only magnify with the mention of larger questions regarding my current relationships or future career. I find myself constantly asking:
When is the right time?
I learned to ride my bike around eight or nine years old, much later than the other kids in the neighborhood. I had no desire and didn’t feel quite ready. One summer, my best friend passed down her little pink bike with uneven training wheels and I wobbled countless times along my driveway until the road was mine.
When is the right time?
As children, the questions comes pre-answered and the forethought is almost nonexistent. When will we get there? When is dinner? Life was simple. Then school begins, responsibilities grow and puberty directs our thoughts against those of our peers. When is the right time for a first kiss? A boyfriend? A sexual experience? This confusion follows into high school and college, tumbling like gravel along a steel slope gathering force and speed. When to find the right major? The best job? Our parents and loved ones die. We get promoted, move to new cities and buy more furniture. We get married. When is the right time to grieve? To start a family? To hold on? To let go?
And so we compare our choices to those around us. We measure our landmark events against the decisions of others whose lives appear successful and correct. We kiss people because we think it’s time. We wear the same clothing at the same time and cry when deemed appropriate. We get married before our younger siblings do and try to earn as much as our college peers. Timing is everything.
Maybe it’s time to stop asking ourselves what we should be doing. What our friends are doing. What our parents have done. Perhaps there is no right time for any one landmark decision but a series of events that occur or do not occur based on our individual wants and needs. In my last moments, I doubt anyone will compare my timeline against my peers and wonder if I did things too soon or not fast enough.
Perhaps the question we should be asking is: When is my time?