Have you ever made a time line of your life?

Time lines are an interesting way of looking at life or the history of anything. I frequently use the idea to have my students introduce themselves in class. They create a time line of their life and then present it to other students. You simply put a zero at one end of a line, the present date at the other and fill it in with the most memorable points of your life. It certainly takes more time to do when you are 80 than when you are 18, but the degree of complexity depends on how many memorable events fit in between the beginning of your life and the present date. Different people will think different events are memorable.

It is often interesting to see what people think are the most memorable events. Among the younger students, one event is often “getting their first car.” As students age, it is getting married or having their first child. As we get older, the status things seem to take over, like jobs and promotions and finally it seems to become things like travel and places visited. I sometimes do mine when my students are doing theirs and over the past few years, I have noticed that my most “memorable events” are changing. Getting my Ph.D. which once seemed very memorable no longer seems so. Publishing my first book, does not rank up their anymore either. Doing a timeline reminds me of a charm bracelet. At first, you have few things to put on the bracelet, but after collecting more and more charms, you eventually run out of space.

Time lines are an economical way to look at your life. In a way, they are like a fast scrapbook of your life. Have you ever done a time line of your life? What would your time line look like? Take a piece of paper today and do your own time line. What are the most memorable events of your life? What time line would you like presented at a special ceremony if you were the guest of honor?

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