How to Live Life In Reverse?
Measuring Your Length of Time – Part 3
When you hear the word decade what does it mean to you?
If you truly want to have a life of significance and one that makes a difference, you’ll need to perform this uncommon practice of seeing your life in one big picture. What do I mean by that, you will need to look at life with the end-in-mind. To help me with this, I’ve come up with a way to put this into perspective. Let me give you way #1 of 3 in which you must view your time to get out of life what you desire. Remember your life is a business and for this business, called “your life”, to be successful you’ll have to do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.
The Thought or Concept:
We should live life in reverse.
There’s a movie called “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button”. In this film, Benjamin is a guy who ages backwards. Can you imagine starting your life old and aging in reverse? He was born an old man and he died a baby. He started his life knowing how much time he had to live and as the years went by he’d get younger and younger. After realizing what was happening, experiencing life for all it was worth, and as the end drew nearer, he began to understand he had to make some serious choices. He needed a plan for what happens when he is no longer able to care for himself. What plans are you making that will prepare for the time you have ahead of you? I’m not just speaking of planning for retirement or senior care, but for the next stage of your life. Do you even know what the next stage is? Let me draw out a picture for you. I like the idea this movie offers, we should live our life in reverse. Plan for how you’d like to see the end of your life and begin to live it with the end in mind. To do this will require some planning.
The decades and their purpose
Let’s pretend that life guarantees you 100 years. If you break this down into decades, that will give you 10 decades. That’s only 10 distinct categories of time that must be accounted for. In order to be significant and intentional you have to be aware of the decade you’re in and what comes next. Let’s quickly discuss them, but keep in mind that these are generalizations. The point is to think about where you are in the timeline and put a plan together for that stage of life. Your life can and will be different after reading this content.
Decade 1 (Age 0-9): This is what I call “true childhood” you have very little control of what happens in your life. In fact, someone else and other outside influences are directing your path. If you’re a person who has influence over someone in this decade make sure you’re giving some thought to what that influence is doing to this soon to become an adult human-being.
Decade 2 (Age 10-19): We will call this “your teenage years”. While most people take very little advantage of this time for planning and setting a life plan, it’s generally wasted on what doesn’t matter most. This decade is the best time to begin figuring out what you’re good at. While society wants to make people in this decade children or child-like, God gives you everything you need to be adult-like. You have abilities that are at their sharpest and should be taken advantage of. It’s the time period where “the child” is being put away and the unique (unlike anyone else) person begins to emerge.
Most of my readers are past this time period which means 2 of the 10 decades are already behind most of those reading this content. That leaves us with eight.
Decade 3 (Age 20-29): Let’s call this “the time for hard work.” I know most people in their twenties don’t want to think about the hard work that’s in front of them, but they should so they can better prepare for it. In your twenties, this is when you put in much hard work whether you want to or not. You have very little of anything from money to friends. It’s the time you start to build all of this, a way to earn a career, a mission, friendships, and other pertinent relationships.
For me these days are in the rearview mirror, but in hindsight I did them very well. I worked hard and put in the work needed to be successful in decade 3. If you find yourself over the age of 29 or it’s approaching, I am glad to be the one to tell you that 3 decades are behind you and the 4th one is next. How will you prepare? What are your plans?
Decade 4 (Age 30-39): This decade begins what I call the “semi-serious years.” When you hit decade 4, you’re far removed from childhood, have begun a career, most have found spouses, and started families. In this decade you’ll find that it’s less about you and more about others. You’ll still think about yourself more than others, but the transition begins to swing in a different direction.
If you’re beyond 39, then 4 decades have passed and only 6 remain. Isn’t that a sobering thought. That’s why we’re going through this exercise and doing our best to help you make the best out of life and the season you’re in.
Decade 5 (Age 40-49): Now we’re beginning to really live. What happens in this decade is that life has a lot to offer and you have a lot to offer life. Let’s call this decade, “I’ve figured out how to live.”
I must warn you with only 5 decades remaining after this point, the last two decades will probably not be your most productive. With that said, you have to consider only three extremely productive decades are in front of you at this point.
No one gets to live and be productive forever. That’s a guarantee, so it’s extremely important to make the most of the time you have to work with. Use this decade calendar map, so that your life is all you dreamed it would be and then some. I know mine is.
Decade 6 (50-59): This decade is where you give it your best to solidify the mark you wish to leave in life and the world around. It’s at this point you begin to really think about how much of life is remaining (4 decades) and what you wish to get out of it.
The purpose of this decade calendar is so that you don’t allow life to happen and this moment in time to sneak up on you.
Decade 7 (60-69): This decade is the time you’ve planned to live like you’ve never lived before if all goes well or has gone well in preceding decades. You also begin bringing others into what you’ve built, created, and accomplished. I’d like to pause here and remind you that if you fail to plan for this time period, you plan to have a not so successful decade seven.
Decade 8 (70-79): This is the time for handing it all off to empower others.
Decade 9 (80-89): What will you do now? There’s no time to play catch up.
Decade 10 (90-99): If and when you have decades 8-10, these are the decades that don’t happen as often for some and life gives us no promises. Not to say you won’t reach decades 8-10. I believe for those who reach them and are in them, planning is even more important. Notice how I’ve bunched decades 8-10 together? If God has given you this much life, I know you want to make the best of it. Your primary focus should be on the current decade you’re in and you’re to be reminded to “number your days” so that you live life while you have it to live.
In the words of John Maxwell, “Many have stopped living before they die; they just haven’t made it official. I’m going to live until I die.”
Today is Friday!
No matter where you might be in my decade calendar map, don’t look back at the decades that have gone by, look only at the ones that lie ahead. When you understand what’s in front of you and how much time it gives you, you then know how to treat today. In our next message, we’ll discuss what I learned from the decades that have passed and what I plan to do with those ahead of me. Until next week, I ask that you share this message with as many as you can.