A Life Worth Having in the Earning Stages of Life
Your Life In Stages – Part 3
For me decade-3 is in the rearview mirror and in hindsight, if I evaluate decade-3, I would say I did them pretty well. I worked hard and put in the work needed to be successful. 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. Booma asks the question, so then “how should I prepare for the next? What plans should I have in mind?” Booma, those are the best questions one could ask and let me illustrate why.
Each day when Tamia and I pray together, we go through an exercise on how to appreciate the gift of today. What I mean by that is, each day we start by putting yesterday behind us and avoiding thoughts on how to skip past today to get to tomorrow. When we think of the decades, we should have this very same philosophy. Stop holding yourself hostage to the decade that’s passed. You can’t go back and redo or undo what’s been done or not been done. Don’t try to skip past a decade either. Usually you see teenagers desiring to do this to gain their own independence. And while we’re here, there’s no such thing as independence. We all depend on someone for something in this life. At any rate, look closely at the current decade and make it the best one ever. With that said let’s further discuss the next four decades, the earning decades.
Stage 4 (Decade-4) – Forming a Not-todo List
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 even started families. In this decade you’ll find that it’s less about you and more about someone else. Your attention moves towards your spouse, your children, and your family. I’m not saying you won’t still think about yourself, but the transition begins to swing in a different direction. In fact, your desire to get to the place in life that you wish to be will be at its strongest and you will begin to make adjustments to attain your desires.
Allow me to say it another way. When I turned 30 something inside of me changed. As I confer with others, I’ve found that for them too, 30 was a turning point. You see in your 20’s you’re figuring out what you want to do, but in your 30’s you figure out what you don’t want to do. One’s life isn’t complete until you have both lists to work off of. You need a to-do list and a not-to do list. Decade-4 is where one should define the not-to do’s as thoroughly as possible. Any thought you can give to what you shouldn’t be doing so that you stay focused on what you should be doing is very important. You see your todo list points in an offensive direction, while your not-todo lists build the defense you need to guard you from getting off course. For decade-4, decide where you don’t want your life to end up at the end of this season. Make plans to not be that person you’d desire not to be at age 30-39.
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. Now let’s discuss decade-5.
Stage 5 (Decade 5) – Figured It Out
Decade 5 (Age 40-49): Now we’re beginning to really live. It has only taken 40 years to figure out how to 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 and with the last two decades not being your most productive, you have to consider there are only three more extremely productive decades that 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.
I like the thought of decade-5, but I hate the fact that it happens after 40 years. But where else could this type of thinking and living occur in the timeline? As I evaluate the decade calendar, I actually see no other place in which it can occur. Decade-1 is early childhood learning. Decade-2 is where a person starts to learn how to become an adult. Decade-3 is when a person learns to focus on others. Decade-4 is when a person begins to place priority in earning for their goals and protecting the future he or she desires to build. It takes 40 years of living to figure it out.
Now that we know this, how can we plan to make this decade count? To be honest, when a person gets to 40, there is nothing that can stop them from living one’s life the way in which they want it. Again, decade-5, represents the decade when one figures out how to live.
Stage 6 (Decade 6) – Making A Splash
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. Along the way, generally a person desires to be significant, however, it’s not their main focus. Therefore, it’s almost an afterthought or if you can fit it into everything else. But in decade-6, it becomes a priority. 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 and give to it. I call it making a splash. If you’re like most at this age, you’d like to make a big splash. You like to have a lasting mark on life to say I did that.
Don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m defining the desire, but the reality is much different. You see most people don’t leave a big splash or a lasting mark. They don’t, simply because they’ve not honored the decades. It’s easy to do and you know many people who today are off track and may never get back on track or recover. That’s the reason for these lessons. We do this so that we can help as many people as we can see the big picture, their life. What can we do now to set ourselves up for making the biggest splash on our world in decade-6?
Stage 7 (Decade 7) – Life is Your Playground
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. Life at this stage should be your playground. At this stage, you’ve earned the majority of the resources that you’ll ever earn in life. If each decade is done well and I don’t mean exceptionally well, just well, then you’ll have an awesome decade-7 experience. It is important to know where you’re going in life so that you hit your target. Since we know that decade-7 is the target for our best life and living ever, then we’d better make certain that we’ve done the preceding decades well. We have a goal and that goal is to live, at least for this decade-7, life as if it were our playground.
At the same time, you begin bringing others into what you’ve built, created, and accomplished. While you’re playing, you need someone in a decade behind you working so this pattern can continue for them as it is for you. By the way, this is called mentoring. If you’re going to add to the splash you’ve made in decade-6, you’ll want to set up the person(s)you’ve chosen to have a life that not only models your, but exceeds it. Plan for 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 or pass you. Therefore make this time your time to enjoy the life you have. Use this decade-calendar, so that your life is all you dreamed it would be and then some. I know mine is.
Question: what can you change now to set yourself up or set someone else up for a life worth having in the earning stages of life (decades 4-7)?