Looking Back to Learn Ahead

It had been five years. Five years!!! 

We took it for granted that our family would always celebrate Christmas, birthday celebrations, vacations, Sunday dinners all together. In a blink of an eye, four ankle biters grew up and left a loud and controlled chaos household in Tucson, Arizona and began independent lives. One moved to Seattle. Another traveled to Colorado and settled in California. One went up the road to Scottsdale. Two got married, pumped out some kids, and started traditions of their own. My wife and I are truly empty nesters which we love but life in the Towne house is different.

To celebrate Sophia’s birthday, we all gathered in Sedona, Arizona to celebrate the life of a remarkable woman, wife, mom, and Mimi. Our oldest, Mya, came with her two sons (her husband didn’t make it due to work commitments). Sami arrived with her husband Ryan and their son Finn. Davis drove in from San Francisco with his friend Matt and their dog Obi. Case came up with his girlfriend Lily and their Husky dog Dexter. We were together for the first time since Sami got married in 2015. Life, laughter, stories, tennis, walks, wine, games, and good food occupied our days all together. 

A decade before the Towne kids posed for a picture walking together hand in hand. In Sedona, they recreated the picture and it hit me! Ten years during the formative years is huge. Life changing. Drastic things occur in a decade.

For us as a family, two marriages took place, grandchildren blessed our world, graduations, big moves to different states and cities, a variety of employment experiences, homes purchased, apartments leased, new and used automobiles came and went, and so much more. Memories were made and tipping points cascaded toward major life lessons. Mingled with the celebrations and laugher were tears and disappointments. Miscarriages, choices that impacted the family and jarred us to the core of our faith and foundation, drug use and the pain of separation, brokenness and confusion, worldviews contrary to the beliefs we taught in our home, and so much more. 

As I study and compare the two pictures, I am overwhelmed by the significance of a decade. Our brains are not wired to think in terms of decades. We default to days, focused on getting through the day and doing the best we can in the moment. How transformative it is to look back and reflect on the journey. And at the same time, look ahead to implement the lessons learned from looking back.

As I look back on this decade through the assistance of the above picture, I can clearly see changes not only physically in each one, but I see a difference in them as human beings. Life and experiences (the good, bad, and ugly experiences) have shaped them. Each one is making a difference in their unique, creative way. They are touching the world in ways that I never imagined. They are not doing it my way per se but in their own way and style. That should be celebrated and not forgotten!

My encouragement to all of you is to take inventory of this past decade. Examine and reflect on the past 10 years both professionally and personally. Where have you grown, how have you surrendered and sacrificed, and what have you learned going forth? At An UpTowne Experience, we come alongside you and your organization to assist in looking back to learn ahead. 

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