I recently read an article online that asked the question, "Where will you be in 25 years?" then invited me to first consider where I was 25 years ago as an way of introducing the role of destiny in our lives. I found the exercise interesting and worthwhile so I thought I'd share it with you.
Where were you 25 years ago in 1983?
Me, I was 35 years old. I'd graduated from veterinary college 9 years previously, and I had purchased my own veterinary clinic (a former out patient clinic of a larger hospital) for the rip roaring price of one dollar, which was about all the savings I had at the time. The rest of the purchase price, if memory serves some $26,000 was financed at the local bank. Not long after, the loan that started at 12% shot up to 19%.
Lucky for me at the time I didn't know a business could go bankrupt, so I kept working at building my practice and trimming my personal needs, which wasn't too difficult because I was single.
And I didn't have a clue what my true purpose in life was. In fact, I wasn't even asking the question. If someone had stopped and asked, I'd probably would have answered, "Sure, I know my purpose. It's to be a vet."
I know some of you reading this probably weren't even born in 1983, or you were so young that you don't have any memories of that year, but for those who do, it's not a bad idea to spend just a few minutes to reflect upon the ground you've taken over the last 25 years before reflecting on the next 25 years.
What ground have you taken in that two-and-a-half decades? Are you where you thought you'd be at this point in your life? Better? Worse? In what ways?
Where Do You See Yourself, 25 years from Now?
The year will be 2034. I will be 85 years old. My daughter, Amber, will be about to turn 42, and my 'second child,' Life On Purpose Institute will be 38…that is if we all make it another 25 years, which none of us know for sure. Still, it's worth reflecting upon the question, "Where do you see yourself in 25 years?"
Here's what I see as I ponder upon this question:
* That 25 years is just about twice as long as I've so far devoted to Life On Purpose Institute. Of course, I may not be quite as vigorous in the next two and a half decades, but still, that's a pretty significant chunk of time to devote to 'creating a world on purpose,' as well as being dedicated to living true to my own life purpose.
Which brings me to another point, the main point of this pondering — destiny. Do I believe in it? Do I believe in "a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency" as the dictionary defines the term? Is destiny and living true to one's life purpose the same? I think not. I do believe in the power of living inside of a particular context for an extended period of time. I've already seen how powerful of an experience that can be in shaping my experience of life as well as my character.
But to say that I'm on a predetermined course of events…I think not, least not exactly. As I continue to carve away the parts that aren't the true me or the larger Self, and thus refine my sense of my true self or being, I see how that sense of my true self or purpose further shapes my actions in the world, which then goes on to shape my results and outcomes.
But are those actions or outcomes pre-determined by some higher force we call destiny? Humm, I sorry, I just don't get that. It feels too confining — to much like how life occurs when we're being shaped by our past — by fear, lack and struggle.
I find more and more as I endeavor to live an authentic life on purpose, that freedom is one of the greatest pluses or benefits. Freedom to be who I truly am and to express myself in ways that call most loudly to me — what I call 'in the beam' activities. Others often refer to these "in the beam" expressions of life purpose as a calling or vocation. Writing, especially about life purpose (including these weekly ponderings), as well as coaching and speaking in public on the subject are all in the beam for me and part of my calling or vocation.
But how do you go about determining what your calling is? It was actually one of the questions one of my favorite clients asked me during a coaching session even as I was in the process of writing this article. And so we'll explore that question from a Life On Purpose Perspective next time.
In the meantime, I'd enjoy hearing your thoughts on where you see yourself in 25-years as well as your views on destiny. Post them here by clicking on comments.