The end of December saw a few milestones. As it does every year it saw the end of the year, my birthday was another, and this year in particular saw in a new decade.
This caught my attention in a simple realization, of just how your life and everything you do in your life works in cycles. For me it has been maybe a little coincidental that at least the latter two cycles I have seen have occurred on the change of the decade, which quite intrigues me.
What Is A Cycle?
A cycle is a period of time where you seem to have a certain area of your life being the primary focus. These periods may not always be a fixed amount of time and they may not always be entirely clear, however if you were to look back at your life you will likely find that you can define periods of your life that were aligned to a certain focus.
For example you look back at your life and realize that the years from when you were 15 to 25 were very much focused on education, and learning. You went through the final years of secondary education and moved into tertiary education. Then between 25 and 35 your focus moved from education to career, you wanted to build your career and advance. Finally now that you are 40 you realize the last five years have shifted from developing a career towards building your own business.
While you may look at these periods of your life and see a particular focus, this does not mean that you have ignored the other areas. For example your focus between 15 and 25 might have been on education, but there was also probably work and some form of career in there as well.
Why Does A Cycle Have A Focus?
Everyone is going to answer this question very differently. So all I can give you here is my thoughts. Which to be honest mostly lie in a need for people to learn specific lessons in life.
Learning the lessons of life can be a fairly different experience for most people, as everyone learns in different ways. I have found that the biggest lessons I have learned, often come from the most unlikely and unexpected places. However in almost all cases, the lessons I have learned have been very pertinent to my current focus or the focus which my life has been moving towards.
Now in saying this, there is I believe no requirement that their be a specific focus, at least for short periods of time. No one is ever going to be able to be focused on a specific area all the time, and to say that you need to be focused all the time is not paying attention to your needs. There needs to be periods that also have no focus, there might be in between two life cycles, or they may be right in the middle of a cycle. Either way they will often be times to help strengthen why you have a particular focus, in the current cycle, or why your cycle is changing.
Exploring Your Cycles?
At some point for many people it can be good to become a little introspective and look at the cycles of your life. Of course this is not for everyone, as seeing the cycles and understanding why they have come up at certain times does not actually help everyone. However it can help to give you a good idea of where you life has been, where you are now and potentially where you will be heading in the future.
While you may not always be able to get down to the month or even the year that a cycle changed, you will often be able to realize at least to some degree where different area’s of your life had some priority for you. In some ways this will be able to help you in either seeing where your life is at, at the moment. Or more then likely what your next step may be.
When you are getting close to a change of life cycle I believe that often you will begin to feel some unrest. Where you may have been very much into a certain range of things, people, or activities. These will begin to change, Where you may have loved your job, you may be finding it a bit tedious or boring. Where you might have loved a hobby such as dancing, you may find yourself not as interested any more, and not performing as well.
There are many different cycles and they are different for everyone but knowing your own can be very empowering.
It has just been in the last week or two that I have made a few realizations about my own cycles. These two realizations really are quite surprising to me, even though I probably knew they were there I never acknowledged it before.
– The first is that my cycles are very much well defined, conforming almost exactly to the decades. Up until this point anyway.
– The second is that each so far has had a very clear and definite focus. I find this very interesting, because until this realization, I saw my life as quite fuzzy and undefined, really without focus. Where it really is quite the opposite.
Early Years (1983 – 1990)
Just like everyone this is the time that you learn the basics of being a human being. How to walk, how to talk, and the other things that will become life time knowledge.
These years really do not have any great focus, to them. Career, Education, Relationships are all foreign ideas, some may begin to appear during the end of this cycle. Eg Education. However how can you really focus on a foreign concept, before you can even comprehend what it is. Really this time is about playing and through playing you learn the basics.
These are the formative years.
Education (1991 – 2000)
As with pretty much every other child, School becomes the focus from around the age of 6 or 7. While some may not want it to be the focus this is the reality that must be dealt with.
For the most part in the beginning of this period I did not know any better, School was where I had to go, so that is where I went. Moving on into high school, the restlessness started to set in, probably as early as 1998. Which grew to a point in mid to late 2000 where I was not achieving the grades that I wanted or needed to to move to any other level of education i could not already pursue.
So it was in the school break of 2000/2001 that I made the decision at the end of the 11th grade to not continue with school and to make a move to finding a job.
Career ( 2001 – 2010)
Moving from a focus on education to a focus on a potential career, and earning money was a slow start. For the first six months of 2001, I was unsure on just which direction to take, should I be getting a job or should I be trying to do some more education through alternative methods, such as college, or tafe.
Ultimately the decision ended with getting a job, more so due to a little help, then really looking and applying. However it got me started on the path of earning.
Over this period of ten years there was many changes, however ultimately it was all focused on building a career, or working to create an income. As a side effect I saved well, and ultimately set myself in a reasonable place for the next step I am looking to take.
It was early in September of 2010, where the first thought of moving away from a traditional career, took on it’s first real possibility. Like I mentioned earlier, it was really only in 2010 where the game changer started to show up. Until around March 2010 I had not travelled far at all by myself, now this is likely a big part of my future.
Future (2011 – Onwards)
The future for me is now a blank canvas as of the 7th of January, I no longer work full time, and have 2 days a week work, until I leave to travel around the world at the beginning of March.
Six months ago I never could have predicted such a change of lifestyle so suddenly, however this is the first step towards taking life as it comes, a future which I hope will be more like this one major decision. A series of life experiences, which are ever changing.
The real focus in the future is still not clear in my mind, and it may not be for an unknown time frame. There is a good chance that Personal Growth and Development will take a forefront, however this is something only time will tell.
Where To From Here?
I believe that the more you are aware of your cycles and what is going on with where your focus lies, the better you can guide your future path. Ultimately for me this means, that I expect I will be able to see more opportunities and better take advantage of the opportunities as they are presented.
When you have focuses such as Relationships, Career, Education and the like, it is often challenging to be able to take advantage of opportunities placed in front of you. For example a business opportunity, or a chance to travel. Being free of these focuses allows for much quicker and easier acceptance of these new opportunities.
From here on out, March will spell a big change for, I will be heading off from Australia to see a large portion of the world. This latest change of life cycles looks like a very interesting and different experience, which I cannot wait to experience.