A Defining Decade

The 2010’s have come and gone and as I reflected on this past year, it goes without saying that this past decade has been an incredibly transformative one. To say it was a decade of growing up would be a grand underestimation. Instead, it was more about life and a no holds barred approach to learning in a vulnerable and real way.

Starting the decade I was saying goodbye to being a teenager, and now 30 is on the horizon. There’s been a college education that didn’t just leave me career-ready but more enlightened and curious about the world and my role in it.

I went from a part-time job to pay my way through school to a career that is helping me build a life I’m really starting to love. There was a crazy college apartment, a shoebox of one that barely fit my junk and now a house that I’m making my own.

There’s been the loss of so many I hold dear to me, and new additions that have captured my heart. I learned what depression really was, but also what pure joy was, too. I felt the wonders of accomplishment, the low blows of falling on my ass while also questioning if happiness would ever exist again.

There’s been trips all across the country, and most recently one to the other side of the globe that have left me hopeful in the power of humankind and with a fondness for airports and a wanderlust that doesn’t fade.

There’s been new friendships and some that have faded away, and ones that seem to take on new meaning in the changing stages of life. I lost my best friend, and still can’t fathom that I will live more of my life without him here, than I did when we were up to our weird but hysterical shenanigans. All the while this has built in me a new understanding of how friendships do survive death – they just take on a different form.

I came into this decade with a large and wonderful family. Now as the 2010s come to a close, there’s been many who I’ve lost. There’s no realization more sobering than looking back and realizing that the picture frame of family members that enclosed your picture perfect childhood are fading away. I’ve lost grandparents, great aunts and uncles, a godmother and aunt – the very people who have shaped who I am, gave me the values I hold dear and the traditions that give my life its purpose.

When I look back on this decade it is a defining one. How can the twists and turns of your 20s not be? When I look at the starting point and the ending point, in some cases, life has come full circle while in other ways they are unrecognizable. I’m still learning to be happy with where I am and patient with what is still in the works.

But what I’ve been most impressed by is who I am as a result of this defining decade. A person I am incredibly proud of, and a person I’m falling more and more in love with every day. I couldn’t really say that early on, but as of late, it is pretty cool to see the person I’ve become. I’ve been shaped by hard work, loss, wanderlust, curiosity, creativity and love. I’ve lived the values that have been instilled in me, and finding new ways of exploring the person I am, and the purpose I have.

I’ve often questioned how I ended up where I am and not somewhere else. But I’m leaving this decade realizing that not all I’ve wanted to accomplished is checked off the list. In some ways I’ve really just begun a new journey and its one I can continue on with a better sense of self, and one that I think will make this next decade defined in its own right.


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