Your first decade is spent pooping your pants, playing with toys, watching cartoons, and getting your first introduction to school. During your first decade, your teeth don’t work so well. In fact, just when you get used to them, they fall out. We learn that eating paste in school is highly over-rated. Decade one gets you a two wheeler bike (ouch, scraped knees) your first homework assignment (you forgot to do it) and your first fight with a bully on the playground (ouch, again). But in decade one Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy are always in your corner.
This is the best! In decade two, you learn everything that there is to learn in life. You officially become the smartest person in the world, and you realize that your parents are clearly idiots. It is in decade two that you have your first drink, your first cigarette (please don’t) and your first, well – your first just about everything. Decade two introduces you to puberty, middle school, high school, and college. Here we learn how to drive cars, get into (and out of) trouble, how to make our parents crazy, and it is in decade two that we have our first “real” dates. In some cases, in decade two you can even get (surprise) your own kids! Yes, decade two is by far the best – you are invincible!
Decade three gets really interesting. You are now usually married (or divorced) with more bills than money. You have a job (career) that you love (hate). You have a home (mortgage / second mortgage) and a new car that runs like a top (it’s in the shop, again). In decade one, you believed in Santa Claus. Now, in decade three, you are Santa Claus.
Decade four is much like three, but with bigger bills. Decade four is where you start losing hair on your head, but it starts growing like crazy in your ears (right guys?). If you are lucky, you have traveled well, and you have memories of some wonderful family vacations. Once again (according to Google) you have had two to three jobs (maybe more) at this point in your career. The days of working for one company for life are long gone. If you are lucky, it is in decade four that your youngest graduated from college, and you are finally “done” with tuition payments. What did you say, Jr? Graduate school? Hey, that’s great!
Oh my God, what was that noise? Oh geeze, that was my father’s noise! Decade five is the wonderful decade of “losing things”. It is the decade of going bald (hair plugs) knee replacements, and (fill in the blank) replacements. Why the hell did I get that tattoo on my (fill in the blank) back in decade two??? It is in decade five that men run out and get the (Corvette, Harley Davidson, etc.) to make themselves feel better about the things they (lost / are losing). Ah yes, decade five is the decade of making up for the things that we lost, including our minds. Funny how you lose your hearing, but you ears get bigger to compensate (guys).
Ah, retirement. All of those years of hard work, the 401k and the Social Security payments. Now I get to play golf, travel the world, and enjoy myself. What did you say? Bank failures? Bernie Madoff? My house is now only worth how much???
At some point during decade seven (or eight, or nine...) you will probably find yourself pooping your pants, playing with toys, and watching cartoons. Your teeth don’t work so well. In fact, just when you get used to them, they fall out (dentures). Ah yes, the circle of life. Why do the first and last decades have to be so similar? It is here that we realize that God truly has a sick sense of humor.
As the world welcomes 2011, it might be helpful to think of our lives as a series of decades. If we are lucky, we will have seven, maybe eight (or God willing nine) decades to live our lives. It is our quest to link these decades together, to make them as fulfilling and successful as possible. We don’t have too much control over the first decade, and probably not too much control over the last. It is what we do with the “middle decades” that we will consider our legacy.
I am in the beginning of my fifth decade. I am blessed to have wonderful wife, two great sons and a career that I enjoy. It is the magic of the Internet that allows me to share my thoughts with the world. It is my plan to make this decade my best decade ever. That is my plan - why not make it yours as well?
My final thoughts for 2010: live and follow the “golden rule” whenever possible. And don’t eat paste, regardless of which decade you are in.
Have a Safe and Happy New Year.