Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The 10 Year Challenge

 For those of you who do not frequent Social Media (and who, probably, are the better for it). you may not be aware that currently there is a thing called the "10 Year Challenge" making its way through postings.

The concept is pretty simple: post a picture from 10 years ago and post a picture from 2022. Maybe make a brief comment on the state of your life then and now.  Await the "likes" or "hearts" that will come in (because, of course, who will "dislike" a personal story, even if they could?).

The postings really end up in three categories:  young people who grew up, people that were in a bad way physically/financially/personally that conquered their issues, and people that just look older.  There are some sorts of permutations of course, but really those are the options.

On a lark, I was paging through my Book of Face entries for a picture from 10 years ago from curiosity as much as anything else (One curious fact I discovered is there are not a lot of pictures from 10 years ago).  My explorations, based purely one what was posted, are pretty much the ones listed above:  Na Clann were much younger, I was much younger with less gray, I had just started throwing in the Highland Games (weight training was still years away),  and my Iai technique needed a lot of work (it still does, of course).  I was also apparently "on the cusp" of a brilliant publishing career (which pretty much has turned into this blog).

However, in my intellectual and gentle mockery of myself and what I thought the next 10 years would have looked like, it did give me pause to think about what the future next 10 years would look like.

This is where these considerations always break down.  It is good to have a retrospective from time to time, even if it just to poke fun at one's self and see one's shallowness displayed for the world to see.  And yet none of us live in the past: it is a known country, but a country that we can no longer visit except in pictures, memories, songs, and dreams.  The future is the unknown country that is hurtling towards at the breakneck speed of 24 hours a day.  

What might interesting - although I doubt it will ever happen - would be for people to post their future 10 year challenge.  Not so much pictures of course (if someone wants to use that aging software, great: I can assure you based on experience none of us will be nearly that attractive), as what we will be and what we will have done.  Committing themselves - perhaps recklessly or foolishly as the future, as that sage Yoda would say, is "always in motion" - but to a potential course or courses of action and outcome.

Some could argue that this is what planning and goals and life strategies are, and I suspect they are right.  But how many of them are willing to publicly say what they are privately striving for?  Yes, there are likely to be gaps and failures and unexpected twists and turns - that is life and no-one I know of faults you if, say, you have to move halfway across the country to a new state because you cannot find a job anywhere else (a total random example, of course) or you have a significant change in health (like our friend STxAR did). But acknowledging that is different from not talking about the future at all.

The past is history, one that we can regal and digest and laugh about.  The future - ah, that should interest us greatly, as that is where we will be spending the rest of our lives.


  1. Anonymous3:48 AM

    I'm celebrating another birthday this weekend. I'm getting close to the age where my 10 year plan is 'Don't Die' :^)

    I'm still not done with outdoor adventures. My body reminds me that I'm not as springy and bouncy as I was before. Recovery from hard labor now seems to take longer. Consequences - always consequences.

    But I feel as I've grown wiser too. I hope so. Growing up is hard on a person. Learning from mistakes should already be an ingrained habit.

    1. Happy Birthday! And "Do not die" qualifies as as plan.

      Recovery is one of the most surprising things to me as I have gotten older as well. It does take me far longer to come back. But I am glad that you are not done with outdoor adventures yet. I have had to modify a few things I do, but modification is not the same as not doing.

      I like to think we grow wiser - most people I know seem to, although there are plenty that seem to learn nothing. And like you, I am surprised by how difficult "growing" can be.

  2. I like the story of the 60s-ish or 70s-ish person who wanted to study to become a lawyer or some such and said, "but in six years I'll be 76 years old!" and a wise friend said, "OK, if you don't follow your dreams, how old will you be in six years?"

    Do you realize that in your last line, you quoted from the opening moments of "Plan Nine From Outer Space"? I choose to believe you did, and I smiled.

    1. Warren, that is exactly the spirit. I have often of late been surprised by the fact that I realize "If I had started X four years ago, I would be done!". And the fact that people still do amazing things in their 80's and 90's (and some gentleman in Japan set a new world record for running for centenarians).

      My quote was accidental/non-accidental: I knew the quote from somewhere but could not place it. The fact that it made you smile in turn makes me smile.

  3. Very interesting post. I have tried my whole life to plan out and do the plan. I'm not sure if God is the One that laughs at that, or if I'm just too inept.

    In the past I have run every course to the bitter end. I don't know any other way to work. I tend to stay at jobs until just after I should have moved on. I tend to loyalty and commitment. When the road ends, I don't usually look back, as my new path takes all I have to stay on course.

    I imagine that will be similar going forward. I do hope I can move towards a few goals.

    A better shop, that I can use in any weather.
    Enough work to supplement starvation wages.
    A good relationship with my family.
    Enough health to function independently.
    A few good students to teach, so what I've struggled to learn doesn't die with me.
    And wisdom to plan well, and execute the plan well.
    Icing on the cake would be a death that matters, not just expiring.

    1. STxAR - I struggle with you. I have made careful plans and had them thrown asunder. I have planned nothing, and gotten nothing. Surely there is a middle ground.

      I think one thing for me is learning when things end - I, too, have run things to the bitter end and know how they end every time, yet still do them. That could be improved on for me.

      In terms of a plan, those you listed look like a fine set of goals. Specific enough that I can understand them, but vague enough to accommodate change.

  4. I never saw the future like this.
    It is definitely in God's hands.

    Be safe and God bless.

    1. It is funny Linda: I saw a lot of undesirable futures, but this was certainly not one of them. At least with a plague, I expected zombies. Or aliens.

  5. I really don't have any future plans per se. I mean I envision myself doing certain things like traveling more since my kids will be out of the nest by then, but I'm not actively striving to achieve anything. Perhaps that means I'm just pretty content now or alternatively, I'm just that lazy.

    1. Ah, but those are plans Ed. Envisioning traveling counts. And you do have plans for your home and your garden, or at least you manifest them as such (although perhaps on a "as needed" basis.


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