Make Your Life the Ultimate Gift
Using the Decade-Calendar View – Part 4
In the previous installments of “Using the Decade-Calendar” we’ve been picking apart the decades in a different way:
1 – Decades 1-2: The Out-of-My-Control Decades
2 – Decades 3-8: The Peak Performance Decades
3 – Decades 9-10: The Finish-line Decades
In this installment we will discuss decades 9-10 (age 80-99), the finish-line decades. I have to be very honest, I have very little experience discussing these decades; however, this part of the decade-calendar is so that we plan for an experience we’ve not seen others have. This is how we take our life experiences and the life we have to the next level.
For the last two decades, let’s call them the “finish-line” decades.
Decade-9 is the hope of a tomorrow. What I mean by this is, a person in decade-8 has learned that the younger generation is not much different than their own generation at the respective age of those who are younger. They notice that life continues and the meaning of life is relatively the same. I remember my grandmother saying this and it’s a Bible phrase, “there is nothing new under the sun.”  Why would she say this? Today, it would mean for me that life is all about perspective. It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you respond to it. My plan for decade-9 is to live my life in such a way that I have the right response no matter what.
At this stage of life nothing is as serious as it was when this person was younger. Tomorrow isn’t promised to everyone, but tomorrow is promised to those who have tomorrow. This is the hope for the future. So plan for decade-9 with this in mind. Life is repetitive and it’s up to us to help those who lack this perspective. How will we at this stage of life contribute to this philosophy as my grandmother did for me?
Decade 10 is one’s opportunity to share your ultimate gift. In decade-10, I want to pour as much into those around me that will allow me. Since decade-10 is the finish-line, by this time one should have been working on a plan to get everything one has worked to achieve in life and in the hands of those who will succeed them.
There’s a book called “The Ultimate Gift” in which a billionaire, Red Stevens, upon his death leaves his fortune to a chosen grandson, Jason Stevens. The only catch is that in order to receive this inheritance, the grandson must pass a series of twelve tasks successfully. Each task represents a life lesson that must be learned. Those life lessons are:
– The gift of work
– The gift of money
– The gift of friends or friendship
– The gift of learning
– The gift of problems
– The gift of family
– The gift of laughter
– The gift of dreams
– The gift of giving
– The gift of gratitude
– The gift of a day
– The gift of love
Why would Red require this of his grandson, Steven? That’s simple and it explains the purpose of decade-10. If Red doesn’t teach these lessons, then who will? You see, this is a principle that Pamela and I live by. “If not us, then who?” The average person assumes that someone else will do what everyone else could do. That means no one does it. You can not leave the responsibility of teaching others to someone else. Red Stevens saw that his own children didn’t learn these principles nor were they teaching these concepts. So the job was his to do. The ultimate gift in my opinion is the gift you find within yourself to share with others. This is what gives you the opportunity to be a blessing at your “finish-line.” Make your plans around being the biggest blessing you can be when you are near the “finish-line.”
I hope this work on the decade-calendar has served you well. Take its words and its concepts to heart as you live your life. Allow me to revisit a few key takeaways to take with you on your life’s journey to becoming “the ultimate gift” for your family.
- Develop a high-level view of your life.
The decade-calendar is a philosophy of viewing one’s life from the viewpoint of 10 decades. This viewpoint helps you plan what you want your life to look like in each of the ten decades (respectively) of one’s life.
- Know that each decade is unique.
In defining each decade, one realizes that no two decades are the same. You need to know this going in so that no decade nor the experiences in any are the same. Therefore no decade is any better or worse than the other.
- Be mindful of the stages of life.
Your life will happen in stages and knowing how these stages work is key to having a successful life. Yes, the decades are important to note, but the decades have groupings: learning stage, earning stage, and the returning stage. Observing the stages like the atmospheric seasons (winter, spring, summer, and fall) is extremely important.
- Plan for the financial impacts of each decade.
Regardless of what decade you’re in, you need to know how your finances will be impacted by the respective decades. A decade is a long period of time, but can easily be neglected because it’s a long time. You have plenty of time in one decade to plan for the next and subsequent decades. Since you can’t go back in time, don’t waste time looking backwards or having regrets, but rather make a plan that keeps you from regrets and being unsuccessful.
- Maximize your life.
With the right view of each decade, you can maximize the life you live. You’ve heard me say this a number of times. “How tall does a tree grow? As tall as it can.” How far can your life go? As far as you take it. The growth or progression of your life is in your hands, in your plans.
- Use the decade-calendar as a tool to transform your life.
Turn this philosophy into a tool, a calendar you can use to live by. I’ve heard it said a number of times, if it’s not calendared or scheduled it doesn’t get done. What in your life (your big picture life) isn’t getting done because you have no plans of getting it done? What’s interesting about the decade-calendar is each time a person turns to another page, a decade has passed. How many decades will you allow to pass and not accomplish what you dreamt of accomplishing? Use the decade-calendar as a tool to transform your life.
- Make course corrections along the way.
Just because your life is off course today doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Use the decade-calendar to make the necessary course adjustments to get back in sync with your plans. Getting in sync means you have a plan. A person without a plan never realizes they are off course and thus never reach their desired destination.
These takeaways with a focus on the decades of one’s life have but one goal. That goal is to help you take your life to the next level at each respective decade. This is your life and it is your business.
Question: how will you take your decades to the next level?