If you’re on Instagram you’ll have no doubt seen all the #10yearchallenge pictures going up recently, and it got me thinking. Well, firstly I have no pictures of me from 10 years ago, which is why I had to think about it. Where was I, what was I doing, and why are there no pictures?!
10 years ago I was living in England, had a ‘great’ corporate job in an international telecoms company. I was, for all intents and purposes, living the dream. I was serious, committed, and very much on a career ladder. I knew exactly how my life was going to go, and was full sure that I knew what it would look like in 10 years’ time. Fast forward to today and, well, it’s nothing like I thought it would be. The journey has taken so many unexpected twists and turns. My outlook on life is so completely different now than it was then. And probably very different to many people even now.
I’ve decided to do this blogging thing and figure out the Instagram love and the Facebook love. Like any ‘sensible’ person, I’ve been researching and looking up and learning and there is just sooooooo much. Make a plan, schedule it all out, get a look, get your colour scheme, think about your font, ‘curate’ all your photographs, get the right filters, get the right editing software….it’s all way too much for something that’s meant to be enjoyable.
I used to be the person who would have wanted to have it all figured out. Read ALL the material, made a solid plan, and then work it for every single step according to some magic formula that someone has come up with. But that’s just not life. Heck, it took me to today (nearly 2 months in) to really get to grips with what this blog was going to be about (yup, check out the updated About page). These days, I jump in and figure it out as I go, enjoying the learning process.
And that’s pretty much life. Everyone telling you that you need a plan, you have to have a vision, make the plan, work the plan, get your career sorted, be an expert at everything by the time you’re 30, buy the house, have the wedding, have the kids, take the holidays, buy the car, wear the clothes, drink the drinks, go to the parties, set the big life goals and GO ACHIEVE!!!!….and if you’re not planning and doing and having and buying and attending and achieving on some timeline that someone else has come up with, then you’re failing at life.
Now, I’m all for motivation, I love the inspirational quotes, I love a good plan and goal to work towards, growth and development are things I’m really interested in, BUT, you’ve got to plan for your own life and what works for you, not what someone else says you should be or how they say or anything at all in reference to someone else’s standards (OK, slight caveat here, our lives are entirely relational and 100% must consider the impact of our actions on others). I’ll be honest, there have been (and still are) days when the biggest achievement for me is just getting out of bed.
There are some days when I could conquer the whole world.
There have been times when I’ve had big goals and been working solidly towards them and then they were taken from me through no fault of my own.
There have been times when I’ve had fairly small and achievable goals and not achieved them at all because I just didn’t do the things that were necessary to achieve them.
Either way, achieving or not achieving the goal, has then become a stressor, another thing to weigh on my mind and make me sad or angry or any manner of negative emotions, it has taken the joy out of life.
The most important thing I’ve learned to do is to be able to adapt and shift my focus off the goal and the plan to achieve it, to experiencing life and really just seeing them as tools to guide me through my decision making processes each day, realising and accepting that the goals are not the point of life, they are simply tools and vehicles to help experience life.
So where will I be in 10 years time? No idea. What do I want life to look like in 10 years time? Ok, well I can totally answer that, but I’m cool with going where life takes me.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, shifting focus from doing to experiencing has been one of the biggest lessons of the last 10 years, it’s taken me 10 years to learn it, and I’ve still not gotten it 100%…but that’s the journey, that’s the experience!
What have been your big lessons from the past 10 years?
How do you think your life would change if you started experiencing rather than doing?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!