It is interesting to think that an individual’s life can be represented with a timeline, containing either two or three defining points, which vary according to the individual. The first timeline that can represent someone’s life contains two important points: birth and death. A relatively stagnant line, which spans between the points of birth and death, factor the normal years life. The other timeline that can be used to exhibit one’s life contains three points: birth, discovered meaning in life, and death. The line that imitates the years between these three major points is generally anything but stagnant. It is a line that varies in height and depth between birth, discovered meaning in life, as well as death. Is it possible that either one of these timelines can represent the life of a specific individuals of the past, present, and future?
Timeline #1 Timeline #2
Birth Years Death Discovered Meaning in Life
Birth Years Death
The first individual that will be assessed with one of the two timeline styles shown above, will be Ivan Ilych. The short story “The Death of Ivan Ilych” by Leo Tolstoy depicts the simple, and most ordinary life of Ivan Ilych, which spans the years of 1837 (Ivan’s birth) to 1882 (Ivan’s death). Just from knowing that Ivan’s life was most ordinary and simple, it can be assumed that the line on the timeline, representing the years of Ivan’s life, is pretty stagnant. Especially if nothing interesting happened. What made Ivan’s life so ordinary? His life was so ordinary due to the fact that Ivan failed to find meaning in his life, until he was staring death right in the face. While on his deathbed, Ivan reflected on his life. He had done everything properly. He had become a Court Justice. He married a pretty woman. Ivan was so focused on doing what was proper in life, for him, that he was unable to find meaning within his own life. He had actually lived forty-five years, and not done the right thing. Work was priority in his life, and as a result, his family suffered. Ivan was selfish, caring only about his pleasures, and failed to give attention to his family. “He was sorry for them, he must act so as not to them: release them and free himself from these sufferings.” (152) While on his deathbed, Ivan came to the realization that his real purpose in life was to take care of his family on a personal level, rather than just financially. The climax of Ivan’s life was when he found his true purpose in life, and apologized to his son and wife for not following through with it. Shortly after this, Ivan died satisfied.
Synopsis of Ivan’s life via a timeline: Timeline style #2
Discovered Meaning in Life
Birth Years Death
In a modern, yet poplar...