What I Learned in the Last Decade

On social media, I have seen people posting a picture of themselves in 2010 compared with a photo from 2020 to show that we are in a new decade.

I succumbed to peer pressure and I went looking for pictures of myself in 2010, but I ended up not posting a picture after I looked at one. Within the picture, I saw every feeling I was feeling at that moment. I was miserable but had no idea that was what my problem was. I was probably depressed. But, I was fighting hard to hold everything together.

I had no idea I was about to experience the illness of one parent followed by the death of another. I was going to be taken to court by a family member for no reason. I was going to move several times, even have a place I was staying foreclosed on (though it wasn’t my place). I would go through my own bouts with illness. I would lose a child. And, I would be in a relationship which was emotionally abusive, struggle with co-dependency and face the mortality of someone I thought I loved. And, that is only the beginning of the decade.

Continuing through the remainder of the decade, I would be downsized at a company. Breakup with the person I thought I would marry and experience being left stranded with no income. As I attempted to get back into the dating pool, I would go about it the wrong way and end up slut-shamed by strangers despite my already crumbling self-esteem. And, then my kidneys would shut down and I almost died. And, that’s not even everything.

But, what also happened during that decade, through sheer will, was during the midst of all this: I published a few books; learned about social media marketing; wrote two scripts (which I still need to revise); was asked to write a column and published on various websites. And, I finally got a job that I love where I am helping people.

Personally, I am in probably the best health of my life. Emotionally, I delved into the depths of my sadness and came out the other side. I felt triumph when my doctor asked if I felt any depression this year and I said, with confidence, no. And, even as I faced a few devastating losses this past year, I was able to maintain my equilibrium. I am not perfect by far, but I am healing and it’s noticeable to me. I genuinely love myself and my life because I took the time to understand myself and knit together everything that has happened in my life.

The past decade threw everything, including the kitchen sink, and I faced all of it.

I had to stop looking at myself through damaging filters from negative people and instead marvel at my own resilience. The past decade threw everything, including the kitchen sink, and I faced all of it. I conquered every fear and I am not only here, but I’m thriving and ready to see what the next decade has to offer.

So, what nuggets of wisdom have I walked away with:

  • No one is qualified to tell you more about yourself than you. You are the one who has been with you since birth and will be with you until you die. And, most people project or manipulate when they attempt to read you.
  • Being triggered doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. It means something wrong happened in the past that you haven’t dealt with. Take the sign and love on yourself.
  • You are not required to fix, explain and teach anyone else anything at the sacrifice of your sanity. When it starts to cost you, your mental health that is a price too high. Save yourself and let them think what they think.
  • Whatever it is and no matter how hard, it’s temporary. It will last as long as you hold on to it.
  • Fun is mandatory, not optional.
  • Nothing will ever be perfect. Do your best and that’s all anyone can ask of you. And, only you know what your best is or if you’re not doing it.
  • You don’t have to feel bad about anything. That’s a choice. You can feel whatever adjective you want to feel.
  • When people show you they aren’t dependable, believe them.

For me, I wasted a lot of time hoping other people would change and become what I needed. I also spent a lot of time feeling sad that I couldn’t change the world and make it a better place, not even my little patch of land. And, I was willing to die to prove a point to other people that they should care about me and whatever view of the world I wanted them to adopt. But, people care about works for them.

I couldn’t feel better without other people behaving differently. That’s as futile as trying to turn down the sun to prevent you from overheating.

Now, I realize that looking for the outside to change doesn’t do much for the inside. I couldn’t feel better without other people behaving differently. That’s as futile as trying to turn down the sun to prevent you from overheating. I realized that instead of enduring the heat, it was my job to get myself inside in air conditioning and then I would experience peace.

If anything, the decade has been a beautiful lesson in discovering that the beautiful heart that beats in my chest and that wants to love everyone was never wrong. I had to learn to stop beating myself up for caring. I can shower myself with the love it wants to give and I always have me so I am a lucky girl. Let 2020 be where it finally radiates outward.

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