How Do You Define The Decade of Life You Are Living?

Each decade of life tends to have a purpose or focus.

As you think about your past, consider each decade of your life. What pops into your head about each? For me, the ones that pop in my head are moving, school, college, marriage, career, family, kids leaving home, and retirement.

You may not have anticipated these phases at the time, but life generally flows in these patterns.

Your life is defined by what was important to you as you went through life.

Was there lots of happiness? More sadness? Struggles?

What were the highlights – of each decade?

I know that at this age, mid-70s, it is easy to reflect on and think about your past since most of it is behind you.

I know that at this stage in life, many think about how long they want to live. But recently, I was listening to a podcast, and the host was arguing for a change in focus. Instead of thinking about extending longevity, what if we could focus on living healthily? He was saying that just extending life is costing society too much—not just financially but mentally and emotionally, too. The shift should be to how we can help others be healthier.

My husband, Bo, was given a book by Bobb Biehl, Decade By Decade: Life Is Surprisingly Predictable.

It’s interesting because in my coaching, I have often asked clients to review their past by decades. Think about where the blessings and heartaches were. Think about your gifts and talents that weave through all. What parts of your past are haunting you, and do you need forgiveness?

As we read this book, it’s a nice summary of how life is predictable. He uses “S” words to help you focus, like 30s—Success. 40s Significance/Struggle. Boy, I’ve always said this stage is the hardest. You are trying to juggle so many things—family, career, self—maybe even being a caretaker of your parents. I wished I had known more about grace and kindness then.

And, for me, the 70s were the Succession. Reading this section was interesting because I didn’t think as he discussed it. “Who will carry on what I’ve been doing?”
I have talked about the legacy you want to leave. He talks about being a mentor. I love that idea. Young people need great role models. Bo and I’ve talked about the “lessons” we hope the kids and grandkids learn from us. Bo even talked about wanting to write them down.

What is your focus and intention for the decade you are in?

Life matters.

The more you live on purpose the more meaningful your life can be for you. You don’t always think about just surviving.

As I say, I want you to thrive.

As I think about life, I think retirement should be later. I think more people would live healthier if they were still living on purpose or for something. I wonder how we can figure out how to live, relax and enjoy life more along the way rather than thinking, “I can’t wait to retire to…travel, do what I want, etc.” Why not do that along the way? Just think about how much healthier and more balanced your life might be. Too many people I know are not happy about these retirement years. They are just passing days and complaining about their health. Health is a huge issue. Money can be a concern. Aging isn’t for sissies. It’s challenging.

Maybe that’s why I phased my work “Thriving in unRetirement.” Of course, I didn’t know then what I know now. But I feel more strongly about how important it is to have a purpose. Keep that bigger than whatever is happening to or for you. You still need that WHY to help you through all that is happening.

Think about what you would say this decade is for you, but also, think about what you’d LIKE it to be for you. Open to greater possibilities – even though it might now look possible.

Keep the hope and wish alive.

Life is predictable, and let it go toward your desires.