In the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen Covey suggested to “begin with the end in mind”. He suggested that the reader should write his/her own eulogy, as a set of long term goals. In other words, if you think about what your long-term goals are, you are more likely to achieve them. If you want your eulogy to say that you were a world-class violin player, it might be time to go purchase a violin and take some lessons.
I just celebrated my 56th birthday. My late-December birthday gives me the chance to take some time off, and reflect on my life. I thought about what my life might be like in ten years.
My wife will be 65 in ten years. She wants to retire, hopefully sooner instead of later, and then travel the world together. We are saving for retirement aggressively. With a little luck, in ten years she will be planning another month in Europe for us, and trying to help us complete the Seven Continent Challenge. In the next ten years, we will travel to Australia, Africa, Latin America, and will complete the Seven Continent Challenge with a cruise to Antarctica. (With any luck, we will squeeze in a holiday in an overwater bungalow). We have filled three passports. We have three more to fill. I mean that.
My children will probably be moving out in the next ten years. My older daughter will probably get an apartment soon, and my younger daughter wants to go away to school. In as little as 20 months, my wife and I may be empty nesters, at least part of the time.
My children will complete their college education in the next 10 years. My wife and I hope to help them complete that education without any school loans. With any luck, maybe one of them will have little urchins. Which means grandurchins for me to play with. We’ll see.
My family: My father is 85, my in-laws are in their late 80’s, and I have aunts and uncles in their 90’s. My dear friend Bill is in his late 80’s. I don’t know how many of them will be alive in 10 years. Maybe some of them, and maybe none of them. Every time I see them, I make it a point to soak up every bit of our time together. The truth is that they won’t be here forever, and neither will I.
Darwin: the greatest dog in the world, and this man’s second best friend, won’t be here in ten years. I hate to write that, but he is probably 8 years old or so. (When you rescue a homeless dog, you don’t know exactly how old he is). My time with Darwin is limited. Every time we go to Darwin Park, I try to remember that someday I will be wishing for one more walk around the park with him.
My heart: I have two stents in my left anterior descending artery (LAD), also known as the “widowmaker”. If either of those stents closes off completely, I have four minutes of life left. I take my exercise seriously. My total cholesterol is lower than yours (average about 110), my blood pressure is probably lower than yours (average 115/75), and my heart rate is in the 50’s. If I want to be around in 10 years (and I do-I have three passports to fill and four grandurchins to play with), I have to be very serious about this part of my life. My spin instructors see my four times a week, and I intend to continue that (or similar) for the rest of my life.
My Work: I hope to continue working, and be working in ten years. Not for money, but for fun, and a sense of meaning and purpose. One of my friends talks about us having an “expiration date” in the workplace. I knew what he meant the first time he said it. I want to extend my expiration date as long as possible.
Book Five: In ten years, I hope to publish my fifth book. I love to write, and I intend to do so all of the days of my life.
The point of writing this down for me is to set goals, and also to share it, and hopefully inspire someone else to do the same. For my family and friends, please let me know what you hope to be doing in ten years.