What world will you inhabit a decade from now?
I feel a bit like I’ve been in a time warp. Moving back to a country I haven’t lived in for over a decade, and a city I haven’t lived in for even longer has been many things. Slightly weird is one of them.
This afternoon some items I’d had in storage since 2001 (when I moved to the US ) were delivered to my new home here in Melbourne. Of course my husband and I had no idea back then how long we would be gone or we’d never have bothered to store them. Off the truck came four big boxes. I had long since forgotten what I’d packed inside them so opening them up felt a little like opening up a long lost Egyptian tomb… what treasures would I discover inside?
As luck would have it, not much.
What emerged from under copious amounts of wrapping paper was not so much treasure but worthless relics from a distant past, including a ton of dirty old plant tubs, complete with dried prehistoric snails (honestly what was I thinking?!) and archaically large medieval cordless phone – which my 9 year old son of Matthew, posing here as Maxwell Smart – thought was pretty darn cool. Nearly as cool as I thought it was when I bought it back last century.
A lot has changed since I last lived in Australia. From the technology I used to communicate with to the faces on TV. Some Aussie’s have obviously hit the big time since I last lived here, and some others have fallen from grace. There have been many who have made millions (particularly those involved in Australia’s booming mining industry), and others who have lost it. As I’ve run into old university/college friends, I’ve also heard sad stories of old friends whose lives have been derailed by addiction – drugs, alcohol and gambling. Sadder still are the stories I’ve heard of those who are no longer alive.
Other stories I’ve heard have absolutely delighted me. Friends who have started businesses that are now going global. Old classmates that have over come huge hurdles, and are now thriving. People who were only teenagers when I left in 2001 who are now international super stars.
What has occurred to me as I’ve planted myself back into Aussie soil, is just how much anyone’s life can change over the course of a decade. For better and for worse. And I can’t help but wonder, what else will change in the decade ahead? For you, for me, and across the globe?
Albert Camus once said that our lives are the lump sum of all our choices. Of course sometimes we have no control over the circumstances we find ourselves in, but we always get to choose how we respond. Other times we have complete control over our circumstances. Whether we continue to put up with situations (and relationships) that leave us drained and longing for more. Whether we continue to play safe in our careers because we are afraid we don’t have what it takes to succeed doing what we truly want. Whether we resist change, and stick with a status quo that while it may not be miserable, is a far cry from what we really want.
It’s probably not something you’ve ever thought to do before, but just imagine if you were to get a snap shot of your life in 2022, ten years from now. What would it look like? Of course your current iPhone 4S would probably be as useless an antiquity by then to you as my old cordless phone from 2001 is to me now. But what about those other aspects of your life… your relationship with you partner and children and siblings and parents and friends? What about the work that you would be doing each day and who you would be doing it with? What about where you would be liven, what you would do your weekends and who you would be doing it with?
I recall exactly ten years ago sitting on the beach in Mexico, about 5 months after moving to the US, and trying to visualise the life I wanted to be leading ten years out. Into my mind flashed a vision of my husband Andrew and I with four children. At the time I had three under four. I remember slapping myself. I knew the work a fourth child would involve. Yet I also knew that my ideal life did not only have me empowering people to live bigger lives, but being a mother to a big noisy family myself. Matthew, in the photo above, was the blessing that came from that vision. And yes, he has added more than his share of noise and chaos to my life, but oh, what a richer life I have because of him.
All I know for sure is this, we regret far more the things we don’t do than those we do. Ten years can go passed awfully fast. But it also provides countless opportunities for making changes and for taking chances that can totally reshape the reality of our lives.
So, if you could enter into a temporary “time warp”, and paint for yourself the world you’d love to inhabit ten years from now, what would it look like?
As I wrote in my book Find Your Courage, we fail far more from timidity than we do from over daring. So trust in yourself that whatever direction your dreams and aspirations may take you, you have the courage to follow.