I’ve never really thought about time in terms of decades. Years have worked just fine, and though the number of years I have counted has reached a number that is much larger than makes me comfortable, at least when you count years, there are more numbers to count. Not so with decades. My counting scale was upset last night when my Uncle declared in a group message to our family that he was entering his tenth decade. At first I found myself baffled by the math…how is it that a man of 81 years is entering his tenth decade? After I got over that small problem, I was immediately consumed with the idea of looking at life a decade at a time.
Looking back to ten years ago and retracing my steps to today proved to be a bit more eye opening than I was prepared for. At the beginning of the last decade, the number of relatives I could sit down and have a conversation with was a much bigger number…with one of those relatives being my Dad. I had no way of knowing that as I entered the last decade, I’d only get to wish him a couple more Happy New Years before I could wish them no more. In that same span of time, my son transitioned from a high school student, to a high school graduate, to a college student, to a college grad, to a fully functional member of the working world. It was also a long enough span of time that my job title changed, and a side business that was a huge part of my life was sold and became just ‘one of the things I used to do’. I picked up some new hobbies and dropped some others. I have friends I barely see any more, have new friends I did not know a decade ago, and continued to spend time with friends I’ve known for several of my decades. The vehicle I started the decade with is not the one I ended the decade with, thank goodness, that Nissan Titan was a lemon. I weigh about the same as I did ten years ago, but I’ve gained and lost the same few pounds dozens of times over that same time span. The stick shift car is nearly non existent, automation is everywhere, my watch knows my heart rate, and doorbells can take pictures. Yeah, looking back over a decade of life gets pretty interesting.
But, what became more frightening was looking ahead to the end of the next decade. Will I find some new hobbies? Will I still be working in front of a computer five days a week or will I have traded in my pocket protector to pursue early bird specials and senior citizen discounts? Will I still be driving my Jeep Wrangler, nah, we all know the answer to that one…plus it will be a miracle if it’s still running at the end of this decade. Will my vehicle be gas or battery powered? Will the folks down in Washington learn to work together for the good of the people, despite the symbol that’s next to their name on the ballot? Will I be healthy? Will the globe be warmer? Will the Rolling Stones still be touring? Will scientists find that Maple Walnut Fudge is better for you than kale? So many questions…
All these questions, but what do I do about it? I’ve never been much of one for New Year’s resolutions. Just another thing on a list of things I won’t actually get to. But when I look at life a decade at a time, it almost seems negligent to forge ahead towards 2030 without a plan, without a goal, without a dream or two.
We’re now 14 hours into this new decade and I’ve completely given up on major life changing resolutions. Nope, not even going to try. Instead, I’m going after the small stuff…. like being a little nicer, being a little more generous, being more helpful, being more encouraging, just being a better being. … I can’t control a lot of things in life or the world, but I can control who I am…and maybe that’s resolution enough for the new decade. I certainly hope so, because the clock is ticking, one decade at a time.