TK-Things-We-Thought-Wed-Accomplish-By-A-Certain-Age-And-Didnt--400x300In the movie “Singles,” -—and this sticks with Ami because she first saw it at the age of 14, so it made a big impression — Janet Livermore (played by Bridget Fonda) gives a monologue about where she thought she’d be by the age of 23. She laments:

“I’m 23. Remember how old 23 seemed when you were little? I mean, I thought people would be traveling in airlocks and I would have 5 kids. Here I am – 23 – things are, um, basically the same. I think time is running out to do something bizarre. Somewhere around 25 bizarre becomes immature.”

And where was Janet at the tender age of 23? Working in a coffee shop, having an unrequited crush on her musician neighbor without any clue as to what she wanted to do with her life. Exactly what a 23-year-oldshould be doing, in our opinion. Pretty much exactly what both of us were doing! Ami made note of this monologue, telling herself, Learn from Janet Livermore and don’t expect to be married with kids by the age of 23, expect to start reproducing around the age of 28 because that’s when your mom had you. Also, you’ll be a famous actress by 25,  so you’ll have plenty of money to raise your kids either alone or with your husband who can be a stay-at-home-dad.

Oh, the naiveté of Ami’s life plan. She is almost 35. No husband. No kids. Not famous. At least she has a career she loves, but that didn’t happen until she turned 30. She now understands that she missed the point of this monologue entirely. Well, she was only 14, after all. The worlds seems so much simpler at that age. But the point Janet Livermore (via Cameron Crowe) was trying to make was that there is no definitive timeline when it comes to our lives. There is never an age that we should accomplish something by, only the age we think we should accomplish stuff by. Yet, that doesn’t stop us from having these ridiculous timelines in our minds. We polled the rest of The Frisky staffers about the ages we thought we should be for everything from when we’d get married to when we’d stop taking shots at bars (spoiler alert: we were wrong about all of them).

Check out our list of self-imposed age limits below, and please share your own in the comments!

By 18:

I’ll publish the first of many books to come.

I will lock down a college major and figure out what I want to do with my life.

By 20:

I’ll stop having body image issues.

By 22:

I’ll stop drinking well alcohol.

I’ll backpack across Europe.

I’ll have my first real job in the field of my choosing.

By 24:

I will stop taking shots at bars.

I will have my own apartment — no more roommates, please!

By 25:

I will stop giving a shit about what other people think of me.

I’ll quit smoking.

I’ll be famous.

I will lose my baby fat.

I will finally stop fighting with my mom.

By 27:

I’ll speak at least two foreign languages fluently.

I will stop blaming my parents for how I turned out.

I will start investing in expensive, classic clothing like a leather jacket and trench coat.

I will finally stop having messy dating situations.

By 28:

I will stop being excited about getting checks for my birthday/accepting money from my parents.

I won’t have debilitating hangovers anymore.

I will learn how to be on time.

I will just generally have my shit together and feel like an adult.

By 30:

I will be over all my 20-something exes and looking for a real prospect.

I’ll know how to cook a full Thanksgiving dinner and will host family for the holidays.

I’ll get in the best shape of my life.

I’ll remember to eat dinner before drinking.

I’ll stop shopping in the juniors’ section.

By 32:

I’ll be married, or at least be in a relationship that toys with the idea of marriage.

I’ll pop out my first kid.

I will stop feeling awkward at parties.

By 35:

I will know if I want to have a baby.

I will own a home.

I will pay off all my credit card debt.

I will have traveled the world.

I will have a robust savings account.

By 38:

I will be able to afford to take lavish, European vacations regularly.

By 40:

I will have a fat retirement fund.

I will make a few more babies before it’s too late.

By 45:

I will finally learn how to say “no” to things I don’t want to do.

I will be my own boss.

By 50:

I will pay off my student loans.

I will have all my various emotional issues figured out.

By 60:

I will have grandkids that I can spoil the crap out of.

By 65:

I will retire to the south of France with my handsome husband.

I will learn how to meditate.

By 70:

I will stop creating lists like this and accept myself — and my life — exactly as I am.
This post originally appeared on The Frisky. Republished with permission.

  • Rochelle

    I don’t know about this list. Im 31 now and I kinda am where I want to be accept in the relationship arena. I also thought I would be married and have at least one child but it has not turned out that way. I have owned houses though. I graduated from grad school (though that was never on my list of things to do). I think you should definitely plan but don’t be disappointed if things don’t happen as planned. It is just life.

  • dirtychai

    I’m just happy to be alive with rent money and a 401K.

  • Ann

    I thought I’d have two children (a boy and a girl) by now. But oh well, I’ll just spoil my steps and my grands –hopefully which will be many, many, and many more years from now. :)

  • Chacha

    I thought that by my late 20′s, I’d be established in my field and have some great career. It hasn’t gone that way, yet, but everything else has. I have almost everything I wanted and reached every goal I set out to reach as far as my personal life goes. Hopefully I’ll make bigger strides (professionally) between now and 32 because right now, I feel like I am where I should’ve been as a 24 year old.

  • apple

    By 18 start school
    21- finish (i finished at 22)
    21 move to college to pursue my major and find a job
    by 24 (which is now) – having a job that paid a livable wage because i went to college and thats what society told me to do to be at least middle class instead of unemployed living at home with my mother
    27-29 finding the one
    30-33 -marrying him and having kids

    now with my life not working out i have put off marriage and considering never having kids (for good i may not be able to support them if the economy never picks up for me)..

  • mEE

    I honestly thought until I was maybe 21 that the plan was going to be:

    21: graduate college and begin my career (that actually happened)
    22: get my own apartment (with what money? I guess from my “career”. this happened at 23)
    23: get masters (actually happened)
    23: get married (to who? who cares didn’t plan that far ahead)
    24: buy a condo with my husband
    25, 27, 29: have babies. one boy two girls
    50: retire (from what career? yo no se. but the logic was by the time I was 50 my kids would be grown so I wouldn’t need to work anymore. yea…)
    50 – death: travel the world with my husband living off pension/social security


  • FuckIt

    I did everything I set out to do before I was 30 – had my children, had owned several houses, was married, had a real career and was in progress on my master’s. At 35, I’ve learned it’s not enough for me. I need a break and want to spend the next five years focused on my passions and my children, with a good bit of traveling thrown in.

  • thinkpink

    Aim higher

  • lauryn

    When I was 25, I wrote down a list of things I wanted to accomplish by 30: get my JD or M.A., travel to Spain, go natural. Well, here I am, about to be 31 years young, and I’ve accomplished 2 of 3: I have my M.A. and I’ve gone natural. Of course there were other things I thought I would have by this time, but 2 out of 3 is not bad at all.

  • Guest1234

    Way to go. 2 out of 3 is pretty darn good. It’s kind of fun to accomplish things we said we’d do. I remember returning from a trip abroad only to notice that one of the places I’d been was something I’d pinned on my aspirational travel board on Pinterest. I totally forgot I pinned it! It was kind of funny and exciting to see how I was actually doing the things I’d always wanted to do. Now, I command you! Get Thee to Spain! :)

  • dirtychai

    What I meant by that comment is that I’m grateful for what I have and for me, success is arbitrary.
    I set goals and pursue them relentlessly. However, I’m not getting bent out of shape if I don’t have something accomplished by the time I turn 30.

  • Candi83

    I’m struggling with this whole timeline thing. I finished college last year and I’m still working a meanial job. I guess I have to learn everything in it’s own time. My “timeline” is not going to look the same as some one else’s.

  • justanotheropinion

    It is great to have goals, but keep in mind that your ‘goals/aspirations’ change as you get older and experience life. I’m not saying to give up on your dreams, but be realistic and open to change. Life happens. Shit happens. Your priorities change. Your likes and dislikes change. What was important at 25 can mean nothing at 35 or beyond.

    Life is truly what you make of it. If you aren’t fluid in your thinking, you will be sorry. You will miss much. Where I am today was not even a blip on the radar when I was 20. I have some dreams ful-filled and others to work on – some of those I didn’t even know were important at 25 but are mandatory now.

    Your life shouldn’t look like anyone else’s nor should it. That’s the beauty of life! Roll with the punches, take what life offers you and relish in the fact that it is your life to mold. It won’t always be easy.

    This is YOUR life to live. There aren’t any do-overs.

  • Miss A

    There isn’t anything wrong with setting goals, but don’t get depressed or bent out of shape if your life isn’t going according to your planned timeline! Trust me, you will need to do your timelines in pencil because you WILL need to make readjustments, changes, additions, etc., and that’s fine….that is also LIFE! When I was in my 20′s, I didn’t even think about a timeline…I was just enjoying life, traveling, enjoying my family and friends. I just lived life and was grateful for every day I was alive to live it! I’m in my 40′s and my biggest accomplishment happened a few years ago – got my Bachelors! I will be starting my Masters soon and thankfully I have always had great jobs. I was in the military and traveled all over and currently in a supervisory position in the government (never jobless thank God). I’ve met a wonderful man who I will be marrying this year. I didn’t have kids, but he has and I adore them…so I have the big family.

    Have an open mind and realize that just because you haven’t accomplished your dreams in a certain amount of time and in the way you planned doesn’t mean it’s not obtainable. It may take longer and it may take a different course but it’s still obtainable.

  • Chacha

    Good points, thanks for that comment! It is so hard in these times to not feel like I’m so unaccomplished when so many people my age and much younger are more “successful” than I am, not to mention we live in a “get that money/status” type of society, but then again, what defines success depends on who you talk to. I sometimes forget that it is ok to take longer to reach goals, and that as long as I’m not standing still, I’m still on track.

  • PrincessDi

    No need to respond to ignorance dirtychai. It sounds like you are grateful for the little things and there is nothing wrong with that!

  • Miss A

    You are absolutely right! Success doesn’t automatically mean money, good job, nice ride, happiness, etc. A lot of people with all of those things and more aren’t successful or happy.

  • E!

    Well said!

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