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Do you see life as a series of boxes to be ticked by a certain age? Why or why not? If you do see life this way, do you judge people who don’t see life this way, or who haven’t ticked certain boxes by a certain age? Why or why not?

Hello r/AskMen,

I also posted this question on r/AskWomen, so I thought I’d try to get the opinions of my fellow gentlemen on this question.

For clarification, by boxes to be ticked by a certain age, I mean things like, “You must have had your first kiss by age X,” “You must have bought your first house by age Y,” “You must have gotten married by age Z,” etc.

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  1. a few years ago, I did see life as a series of boxes to be ticked. I thought ticking those boxes meant attaining happiness.

    nowadays, I realize that happiness doesn’t come later. happiness can be found in the now. you just have to go out and look for it!

  2. Me personally… No… (FYI, I’m in my 40’s)

    Some people, yes… But I don’t judge them, that’s their life choices.

    But for most of us, we don’t know what the fuck we are doing and just trying to survive through the day. Sure, there’s a lot of people better off than me, but there’s also a lot of people that have it worse.

    We each walk our own path.

  3. I used to. Then I realized that everyone has different life goals. It’s not fair for me to judge others using my goals. Other people have different goals and thus aren’t checking the boxes I think are important.

    It genuinely used to bother me. As I’ve gotten older, I care less.

    Box examples that used to bother me when people weren’t checking: college, starting a career, moving out of parents, buying a house.

    I realized that others’ lists usually involved relationships and kids. I don’t want kids, and so I’ll never check other people’s box there. That made me realize the system isn’t fair.

  4. No, because it is really artificial and unfair. To the extend, I think it is a good idea to achieve certain things around certain age, since “we live in a society”. However, if I talked to someone who is like 35 years old and they told me they dont have their life figured out and feel shitty about kt, I would feel compassion, not judge them.

  5. Much younger me saw things that way, but not anymore. I think life is best lived with as much present-ness and focus on how you’re feeling now and what works or doesn’t. Too much focus on other people’s framework (be it larger social/culture ones, or individuals) feels like a recipe for expectations and feeling shitty when you don’t meet those expectations.

  6. I used to live with the checkboxes approach. I think the pressure to get married and start a family is why I got divorced. I now don’t judge others’ lack of checkbox approach, but sincerely hope they have goals they are working towards and they are happy. Everyone should have goals, but not all goals need deadlines.

  7. My wife and I speak about this topic all the time. We lost 3 family members within a span of 4 months in 2019 and our perspective on life changed forever. There are no checklists, there is no box. We’re here today, gone tomorrow.

    Do what brings you joy, and prioritize your peace of mind always. Nobody else is living your life and you aren’t living anyone else’s. You define your own purpose and you’re the architect of your own story. Nobody will give a shit how you lived your life after you’re dead.

    This kind of thinking can induce feelings of angst but it can also be very liberating.

  8. I used to think that way but not really anymore. Kind of came to terms with it when it took me 6 years in college rather than 4 and realized that we all end up in the same place each person just has a different path to follow.

    This could be some hustle culture shit but I see the only thing someone should be doing in life is trying to get better all the time or trying to learn something new everyday. As long as you’re pushing towards your goals you’re solid in life.

  9. Yes to a certain extent.

    I think it’s good to have basic goals like get a job in your 20’s, buy a house in your 30’s etc. The sort of goals that have no downsides. With structure you achieve things and you build a life. This gives you a sense of contentment and peace of mind, whereas living in the moment you can lose that peace of mind in the next minute i.e. if you realize you’ve spent your last $1,000 on a one way ticket to Thailand to see elephants.

    The caveat I would make is I would never advise someone to put pressure on themselves to get married by a certain age. If you marry the wrong person you can mess up your life.

    I think my structured approach to life has worked out well for me. I wouldn’t go out of my way to judge people- most people are capable of recognizing their own failings.

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