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I turned 10 just the other day.

I remember sitting in the living room talking to my dad, and I still remember how much I was proud to be turning double digits. I felt like I was transitioning into a young man.

I remember being happy.

Then, in a blink of an eye, I turned 20 just a little while ago.

That decade was filled with growth and change. I moved many times, I started and finished middle and high school. I got my first girlfriend. I won a state championship. I did lots of things. I became a young adult and I even went to college.

There I was, now 2 decades in, still finding my way.

Another decade passed and, just a bit ago, I turning 30.

My 20s were a whirlwind of people, places and things. I finished college and even got a degree. I moved across the country for another degree and moved back across the country to get married, have a kid and buy a house.

I did a lot in those 3 decades but still had no clue what I really wanted and where my life was going to go.

The next decade would feature tragedy and loss. The next decade would have the some highs but many lows. The next decade gave me more than I could handle and then some.

This fourth decade is the one I’m most thankful for.

Jim Rohn once said: “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for me skills. Don’t wish for less challenges, wish for more wisdom.”

I faced the challenges of that decade with all I had, and it helped to grow and it helped me to become more a man and a better human.

Would I want to repeat that decade of my life?

Not a chance… but I am thankful non-the-less.

A few days ago I turned 40 with gratitude for what my 30s brought me.

Between dash of my 30-40 decade took me across the county again, through a loss of a business, financial ruin, a diivorse, loss of a home, loss of another home, a car crash and the loss of my father…

With that decade in the rear view in was onto my fifth decade and it has been the best so far.

As I cross the threshold where I am closer to 100 than to the day of my birth, I look back on this decade to realize a few things.

This past decade I have FINALLY pulled it all together. All the life skills I learned I have put to good use.

I spend an entire decade in Lake County, Florida. The first time that I’ve stayed in one area for a decade of my life.

I also spend this entire decade with one partner. My beautiful wife Teresa has been by my side for all the trips I took around the sun in my 40’s.

In my 40s this wonderful lady and I also started a business that is changing lives and growing exponentially each and every day.

While I am no longer an athlete I can say that I am proud of my accomplishments in this decade as a masters athlete.

The tide has defiantly turned for me on this journey, and I am grateful more than I can say.

Grateful and blessed.

Tomorrow I turn 50.

Sure I have aches and pains that I didn’t used to have. Maybe I’m a little (a lot) grayer these days.

I still struggle with some sadness from time to time.

The challenges with aging have always been there, and will continue to always be there, and I’ve accepted that but I’ve recently made a decision.

I’ve decided to embrace the day more. I’ve decided to continue to grow as a person more. I’ve decided to commit to being a better human each and every day. I’ve decided to love my wife unconditionally every minute of the rest of my life. I’ve decided to do a much as I can with all I’ve got today, tomorrow and all the other decades that I have left.

As people we each have a birthday ending in ZERO every 10 years. It’s a fact and it’s inevitable. There is nothing we can do about that.

What we CAN do is choose to value our past. We CAN choose to learn from our mistakes. We CAN be content that we did our best but ambitious to create a better future. We CAN choose to have a better decade this one then the last one.

Those are the choices I am making.

Not dwelling but learning and committing to grow.

As I finish off this short essay there is one message that sits in the forefront of my mind. It wasn’t there when I sat down to write this a few minutes ago, but it is there now, so I will finish that that thought.

I remember one day many years ago someone said something during a very challenge time that struck me.

Here is what he said: “The future is perfect”.

Thank you to my mother my late father for always supporting me and giving me room to be the person that I would become.

Thank you to my son for carrying on the family tradition of hard work and unorthodox paths.

Thank you to all my family (especially my siblings, who have always supported me and loved me no matter what) and friends for putting up with me and for being there for me when I needed it.

The biggest thanks goes to me amazing and beautiful wife Teresa. I’ll never be able to fathom why you would want to become my life partner, but I am thankful to the moon and back that you have chosen me. So thankful.

What will the rest of the decades bring for Rick Copley? I don’t know but, if the previous five are any indication, it’s going to be quite a ride….

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