Finishing PhD was probably the first important goal in life I achieved. It took me about ten years to do so. Since then this number of years seems to have become the amount of time I'm forced to spend in order to achieve subsequent important goals in life.
The next important goal I set for myself after PhD at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was to return to Israel, which I was forced to leave in the middle of preparing my PhD dissertation-shmissertation, but as a lecturer in Hebrew linguistics, on which I received my PhD, and not as a teacher of Japanese, which only happens to be my native language and nothing more though I studied systematically how to teach it as a foreign language and did teach it for ten years. Like many truly important things in life I was offered and eventually received a position as a lecturer in Hebrew linguistics at Bar-Ilan University without even applying for it myself! Again it took me about ten years to realize my dream of returning to Israel, to which I'm eternally indebted to Bar-Ilan University, where I've just started my 12th year.
Unlike these two first two important goals in life, where were professional, the next one was purely private. If I had known in advance that this life-changing project would also take me another ten years, I might have thought at least twice before deciding to undertake this daunting project. Luckily in retrospect, I didn't know it would take me so many years to finish it. The solution to this lingering project also came in a totally unexpected manner I had never even thought of. Anyway, having achieved this important private goal has been having a more profound impact upon me than every other single event that happened in my life until then.
Immediately after achieving this goal I sent for myself another, even more important, private goal, which is probably the biggest project for most of us. Years went by without any sign of my approaching this goal at all, until I encountered the first important sign for achieving it, again totally unexpectedly in a way I had never dreamed of, when an ideal helper for the project suddently appeared rather recently. Since then I've been making an unbelievably fast progress in this most important private project in my life as if I were making up for all those barren years. It's only today that I realize that actually I'm in the tenth year since I started it, and to my pleasant surprise, it even seems that I'm in the right path to achieving this goal during this tenth year!
The next important goal after this one will probably be a professional one again - writing (and publishing) my first book. I wouldn't mind the above pattern of ten years for achieving important goals in life being broken next time after achieving the present, fourth one.