Sunday, April 6, 2014

10 Year Life Plan: The Long Term vs Short Term View of Life

The age of 30 has given me a little longer view of life.  Until recently, the "future" seemed distant and hazy.  The age 30 itself seemed old and scary.  I felt an urgency to do things now, and lived my life accordingly.

In some ways that's good, as I've certainly experienced a wide variety of things.  Between the ages of 19 and 23 I started a band, started a business, and lived overseas.  None lasted longer than a year, though

As a member of the instant gratification generation has brought some predictably bad results too.  Take financially, where rather than taking the slow and steady route, I've bounced around some get rich quick ideas ranging from the idiotic (I'll count cards in blackjack just like the MIT guys), to the arrogant (I can play the stock market like Bradley Cooper in Limitless!).  All have been expensive.

Recently a 70 year old relative came to visit.  You never have guessed he was 70.  He is mobile, active, and strong.  He just retired, and talks about all of his life's ambitions.  I had him pegged in the early 60's, until I found out otherwise.  He got me thinking, if all goes well, I have at least 40 good years left!  Then I asked myself this question: 

Knowing what I know now, and starting from where I am now, what do I want to do in 40 years?

*Now of course "if all goes well" is a pretty major caveat. I just watched Titanic, so I won't tempt fate and presume anything past today.  
"Unsinkable, eh? Mwahaha"
As I tried to answer that question, I was surprised that I couldn't.  At all.  The only answers I had were incredibly generic:  "Have kids" and "Be a billionaire!" 

Looking at my life more closely though, that doesn't surprise me.  I don't have direction or a plan, and instead have momentum from living day to day.  At age 23 I became a teacher, and have kept with it because I love it.  At age 26 I moved into a house, because I could.  At age 29, I found my wonderful girlfriend because I finally got the courage to talk to her after chickening out for over a year (true story).

Frankly, I think it is and was OK for me to not know everything I want out of life.  I don't want to live off some script.  Many of the best friends and experiences I have in life have come from unplanned and unexpected circumstances.  And especially when I was younger it was important to find my place in the world, so to speak. 

Now that I'm 30, I've figured out a lot more about what I believe in and who I want to be.  I've laid out at 10 year plan for myself, organized on the following six beliefs about life:
  1. Anything worth doing will be hard.
  2. Do one thing at a time and one thing only.
  3. The most important people in my life are the most important thing in life.
  4. Never let fear dictate anything.
  5. Money is a tool.
  6. Billionaire moments are everywhere.
Over the next week I'll be explaining each, then I'll share my 10 year plan at the end.  

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