The older I get the faster time passes. When I had kids, life started moving at the speed of their growth. A physical manifestation of my life passing. Now they are grown.
Will things slow down?
It’s enough to get you in a funk, or at least a mini-panic when a week flies by, a year closes, and then suddenly a decade comes to an end.
We are ending another decade as ’19 flows into ’20. Is it possible? What have I done with a full decade?
Do you wonder this?
A practice I adopted many years ago has helped me to find peace in the past and purpose in my future. Usually I do this quarterly and annually. This is my first decade end.
I have developed a practice that includes the following steps:
5. Pray again
In sharing this, I offer an invitation to you to participate and see if you find a bit of peace in your past and a bucket of purpose awaiting your future.
Review the Past
In this case, we are talking about a serious decade in review. The process I use to review is:
- Create a timeline or list of all of the major events, accomplishments, and/or failures that have occurred in the past 10 years. I went back and looked at my picture library to jog my memories for the earlier part of the decade. I literally put each year down the left side and beside each year started listing these events.
- Obvious things to include are graduations, weddings, births, deaths, new jobs and other life events. Include things like health and finances in there too. It is interesting to see the health of your physical and mental self over the years and how your financial situation may or may not have changed.
In my decade my 3 kids all graduated high school, started driving (the year of stress), graduated college, and all got married. I have a grandchild, I grew a business, I changed my health, I lost my father and father-in-law…to name a few…
Go ahead and try yours now.
Now look back on the decade. Those years that flew by; a lot happened. For most of us it is a mixture of good and bad. For some, the good and bad both had purpose.
What do you see in your timeline?
- Circle the accomplishments.
- Take some time to give yourself credit for them. I hope you didn’t skip over them in your list. Again, accomplishment doesn’t necessarily signify good or bad. It is an accomplishment to survive cancer with your physical life and mental health intact. It is a win to pay off debt even if you accumulated it to begin with.
- Check or highlight the ones you are most proud of.
- Look at the hurts and failures.
- Did you face them or compartmentalize? Did you give yourself time to grieve? What learning is there in past failures?
- Take some time and in a notebook, journal about these events and what you have learned and what you may or may not be able to do differently in the future. This may take several days to truly reflect and work through.
Contemplation is a critical part of this process. This is where the wisdom is developed. The wisdom that may impact your future.
Take your list and your reflection and turn to God. The Holy Spirit can show us what we need to learn from our past decade and He wants to lead us in the next one. This is also the opportunity to thank the Lord for the blessings and for helping us to survive the difficulties.
In my decade, I had the difficulty of my younger daughter getting pregnant her senior year of high school. I prayed and prayed that the Lord would help me to not make things worse. Obviously, I prayed and prayed for Him to help my daughter. She amazingly has graduated high school, college, gotten married to our grand daughter’s father and is in her 2nd year of vet school, all in the past 6 years. For the last 5 years I have prayed many, many thanks for my grand daughter and the immeasurable blessing she has been to all of our lives. God can turn all things into good for those who believe. We turned to Him and He has been ever faithful.
I pray through my list giving thanks, asking forgiveness, asking for guidance and wisdom, and trying to listen for God’s will and plan for the future.
And then I put pen to paper outlining goals and commitments for the coming year. This will be the first time I do a decade. At my age of 55, this next decade will probably be the last significantly meaningful career decade, although I don’t believe in traditional retirement for myself. It is a new decade of having all independent adult children. This will significantly change our finances in the next decade. After 3 weddings in one year, thank the Lord!
In planning a decade,
- Start with the end in mind per Stephen Covey. Create a vision of how life will be at the end of the next decade.
- Then work backwards. Think about the bigger milestones of what needs to occur to get to the vision.
- And finally, look at the coming year and focus on goals for 2020.
The difference in creating plans and goals for the coming year is the content. To create the best decade and a life that is purposeful for you, may include habits to change, skills to learn, relationships to build, as well as health and career goals.
What gives you passion and purpose? Is it reflected in your vision, milestones, and 2020 plan?
You can see that I take the “pray without ceasing” thing seriously. I have to give the plans to God to make sure I really was listening and not just putting my vision for my life down. I have learned that His vision for me is what my heart desires and also what is best for me. So, we still have 4 weeks left in the year. More than enough time to give our plans to Him and listen for His input.
I recognize that some people are not planners. But, go ahead and give it a try. If you aren’t a planner, yours can be shorter and more bullet points than narrative. I know that until I tried it, I didn’t know how much of a planner I was. I also never realized how much better my future is when I really take the time to look at the past.
No-one likes to repeat mistakes. No-one wants to think a big win was just fate or an anomaly. Unless we continue to learn, are purposeful in our time with God, and then follow the desires He puts on our hearts, we may look back on the next decade with disappointment.
Will you join me in A Decade In Review?