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Pete's 2024 end of year reflection – my life in weeks!

As I contemplate my annual end of year reflection, I thought I’d add an extra dimension in which to consider the activities of 2023 and what I hope to achieve in the year ahead. Last year I shared with you how I wind up the current year and plan for the year ahead. I’ll still be doing that this year, but thought I’d take a big step back and contextualise those activities in the bigger picture.  


Fundamentally, I want to check that I’ve got the right  ‘destination’ / ‘journey’ balance as I plan what I want to achieve in 2024. I’ve realised that while its great to set goals for the next 12 months, I also need to think about how they fit in with where I want to be and the journey to get there?  


To help my own ‘journey’ (as I’m somewhat analytical) I put together a table of ‘My life in weeks’! Yep – that’s right, basically an 85 by 52 grid (life expectancy 85, and 52 weeks for every year). This provides a box for every week of my expected life (granted that given how I enjoy food and wine 85 might be a stretch! 😉).


So – lets have a look (very briefly) at how that looks for me:

From birth to end of University – there was 1,144 weeks of learning everything to get me to the point of a functioning adult, and ready to be cut loose onto my first career in the RAAF. That is about 26% of those 85 years.


From commencing work to where I am today is another 1,899 weeks.  That’s 43% of those 85 years.  During which I raised a family and had a successful career. During this period there was a lot of working towards and achieving the next goal and not as much focus on that big picture. 


Where I sit at the moment I’m looking to build on relationships with my family, continue to engage professionally in a meaningful way and position myself financially to do all those things I’ve planned for in ‘retirement’ (travel, woodwork, grandkids, community and garden). I’ll fully retire at 65 and, I hope, do all those things until I die. 


That leaves me just 1040 weeks to do everything in ‘retirement’! (but take away about 260 of those for the aging process in the later years!)


Straightforward right? My younger self would have said so, but as I look at the next 1404 weeks it’s dawned on me that I probably won’t fit in all the things I thought I would. I’m also conscious that the world the ‘young’ me thought I’d be living in at this point bares no resemblance to the reality of 2023.  Which begs the question of what will things look like in 2045?


My take-away from this is that I wish my younger self had realised that more than 60% of my life would pass by in a flash. While I’ve ticked off plenty of fulfilling milestones, I recognise that I could have lived more in the moment, taken the scenic route occasionally, and not put things off when where there was an ability to make them happen earlier. I also could have thought more about changes in society and work practise so that I could proactively adapt with them, rather than just respond.


So, as you reflect on 2023 and plan for 2024 , draw yourself a graph and see how your life journey is going. Think about whether you’ve set yourself up for the next part of your professional life.  Ask yourself if you’ve focused on the skills and education you’ll need in a rapidly changing work environment or are you just focused on the next job or promotion?  Consider what this might mean for teams, the physical work environment and leadership skills. How will they evolve?  Question whether you’ve positioned yourself to evolve too. Think about how you are going to use the next 25% of your life and make sure that your plan for 2024 takes you in that direction. 


[PS The lovely picture opening the post was generated by AI. It's nice, right? But it was not the first attempt - that one is included below for your amusement]

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