“When you run with the Doctor, it feels like it’ll never end. But however hard you try you can’t run forever. Everybody knows that everybody dies and nobody knows it like the Doctor. But I do think that all the skies of all the worlds might just turn dark if he ever for one moment, accepts it.”
- River Song in Series 4: The Forest of the Dead
most people think river and the doctor’s timeline is a strict progression of backwards to forwards, but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey…feelings.
this is how i view(ed) river and the doctor’s timeline - as a giant circle! meeting at the top, having adventures, meeting at the bottom. of course, that’s not how it turned out because of reasons. actually, it really didn’t turn out that way because the first time river met the doctor was when she was a baby but was in the middle of their story, and then she met him again as a psychopath, but again with the timey-wimey.
here’s how it works: the doctor’s arrow is his time spent with river. so, the bottom would be the last time the doctor sees river. river’s arrow, however, is her entire life, since she’s known the doctor since the day she was born (well, maybe not the day, but the month at least). words. now, assuming that river was 9 or 10 (and not 30) as a child in the impossible astronaut/day of the moon, then chronologically growing up with amy and rory would have put her at 51 in 2011. the math from there is easy! 51 + 4 years of undergrad work + 4 years graduate work + 3 years phd work (all assuming school on the moon is like school on earth) = 11 years = river being 62 when she kills the doctor. damn, lady, work it.
if i messed up something, then uh well time travel is hard. but hey, i tried.