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reflecting on the decade

Finding Freedom Week 22: Reflecting On The Decade

by Phia @ Freedom 101

There’s a lovely quote by C.S. Lewis that references how in the day to day it often feels like nothing changes, but when you look back, you realize that everything is different. As the year comes to a close, and I’ve been reflecting on the decade, it’s impossible not to recognize the truth of that quote.

Rewind 10 years and my life looked almost unrecognizable from today.

I had not quite met Mike. Was coming off a 3 year stretch of working the longest hours, in the most intense positions of my career. Working in a department that was experiencing the worst workplace harassment and bullying I had ever encountered. My 25 year old head was spinning with how to handle things, without black balling my career. Add to that I was traveling almost every week, and I essentially lived out of my suitcase.

On the few days I was in town, I feverishly worked to put the finishing touches on the top to bottom renovations of an old ocean view condo I had bought in a suburb of Vancouver.

*Which I then promptly decorated with nothing but white furniture with sharp edges. Clearly I had no idea a kid would be coming into my life in the not so distant future.

The few picture frames that adorned the shelves housed stock photographs that had come with the frames. To anyone stopping by, my apartment looked more staged than lived in.

And – after working every ounce of overtime I could get my hands on for YEARS, I was finally JUST recovering from the financial toll of my divorce a couple years prior.

I Thought I Knew Where I Was Headed

As the reno’s came to a conclusion, I listed my apartment and started looking at loft’s in downtown Vancouver. At the time I was single, and progressing well in a career I was sinking almost every waking hour into. So why not spend my limited down time running along the seawall and eating sushi on the waterfront? While simultaneously investing in some downtown real estate?

Safe to say, and readily apparent to anyone who knew me back then – I had no idea where my life was about to go.

Mike and I meeting took both our lives onto a very different path in some pretty major ways.

In fact – if you had told my 25 year old self that 10 years later I would be married, raising two kids, living in suburbia, retired from my career, zero debt, having reached Financial Freedom, a full time stay at home mom, driving a Tesla, and writing a finance blog, I most certainly would have inquired as to exactly what hard drug you had been consuming.

And it’s not because that description of life would have sounded bad to me. It’s because it would have sounded IMPOSSIBLE.

I honestly wouldn’t have been able to fathom how that would have been in anyway feasible. In fact, I likely would have insisted that no matter how you crunched the numbers, in the absence of a lottery win or major windfall, they simply would NOT equate to that kind of outcome.

Clearly – I would have been very wrong.

Sometimes we are just plain bad at predicting what we are capable of.

I know that for people just starting out on the path to improving their finances, and even those well on their way to Financial Independence, the end goal can often feel a long ways off. And at times, as though it may never be realized.

I have absolutely been there.

In the moment, paying off debt can be a grind. Building income streams and side hustles can feel like a few small drops in filling up a very large bucket. And the idea of having the option for retirement a total pipe dream.

5……7…..10 year goals can seem like an eternity away. Until they’re behind you.

Then it feels like you blinked and your life got “flipped-turned upside down”. To quote the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Of all the lessons I’ve learned from this past decade, and there have been many, one of the most powerful has to be the fact that when what lies ahead seems overwhelming, or your efforts feel more like you are treading water rather than getting ahead, the motivation to continue putting one foot in front of the other can often be found by simply looking back at how far you’ve already come.

When I look at what is possible in the span of 10 years, and where my life has taken me, I can’t help but wonder what I’ll be writing about at the close of 2029.

When you’re reflecting on the decade, how do you feel about where you are now? Where do you want to be in 10 years? You have a brand new decade to put your plan into action.

Wishing you all a safe and joyful close to 2019, and a New Year full of inspiration and contentment.

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