I’m a little behind, I know.
Everyone posted up about their decade reflections like two weeks ago and I wasn’t even going to write about this, honestly. But sickness got me down and here we are.
People say that their twenties are their prime. You spend time going out and experimenting and exploring, and trying new things. You spend this time figuring out who you are. I spent the first half of my twenties trying to stay alive. Literally. Lots of doctors, lots of hospital visits, lots of probing and poking, and experimenting with different types of treatments to get my body stable. And in those years, I never felt more alone, or more afraid. Of the unknowns, the what if’s, of the… how am I even going to get through this hot mess? I didn’t take my first sip of alcohol until I was 23, because it couldn’t mix with my meds. And while my friends were out hanging until 2am, my body was in bed by 9pm. I’m not even going to put on my positive pants and pretend like it wasn’t hard, because those years were beyond hard AF. It was physically painful, emotionally draining, and a mental train wreck. It was literal hell. But as awful as those first several years of the decade were, there was still this hope… this light at the end of the tunnel, as cliché as that sounds.
Between autoimmune things and unrequited loves and trying to graduate from school and figuring out this whole adulting thing, there were moments over the last ten years where I felt like I had been let down. I can’t even count how many times I felt like I had failed or been disappointed, over and over and over. I remember some seriously dark nights in my room crying rivers and asking for God to show up. It felt like He had been silent for far too long, and I just needed something. Answers. A sign. Affirmation. Something. I never got that sign I was looking for — but in the silence it turns out it was all part of the journey. I was never let down or abandoned.
The 2010’s also held some of the best moments of my life. It taught me how to live, and really live. It taught me how to dream and go relentless chase after them, even though the weight of the world seemed so burdensome and my family continuously told me to go get a real job. It taught me a lot about myself and who I wanted to surround myself with, and that there actually are a lot of shitty people in this world. It taught me not to hold on to things, and to let people go. It taught me that nothing is forever, that you can’t ever let yourself settle, and that you do not have to apologize for being too much for people.
It really was a decade of: Sickness. Healing. Heartbreak. Hope. Tears. Opportunities. Victories. ALL OF IT.
This last decade made me more strong and resilient than I ever could have imagined. It shifted a lot of my perspectives and made me see living in a completely different way. And maybe, it even instilled a little bit more compassion in me because I’m not naturally compassionate like some people in this world.
I think perception is so important when we look back on a decade. Sometimes, I don’t feel like much has really changed. But then I reflect, and I think, wow everything is completely different. Sure, growth can be loud and noticeable and immense sometimes. And change can be quick and you can see when life blatantly shifts. But sometimes, it doesn’t look drastic like that. It’s like this steady thing where only when we actually sit and reflect, that we can see how far we’ve actually come.
I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned is that soul expansion and deep, deep growth is often silent. We think we haven’t transformed enough or made enough of a mark, or that we are far from what we hoped we wanted to accomplish. But the truth is, we don’t see how much we have actually grown in the dark. We don’t remember all the ways we fought to be here or the crazy things we’ve actually conquered. Those moments are often times forgotten about. But look. We’re alive. We’ve survived this much already.
The beauty of growth is that it is a process, and it progresses.
Mindset changes everything.
We get to wake up every day with another opportunity to influence someone positively, to hug a friend, to learn from our mistakes, to show up for people, and to let the people in our lives know how much we care about them through our actions and affirmations because there’s nothing more important than fostering that kind of appreciation. Life can be really tough sometimes, between family drama and meeting expectations, performing well at work and having the “coolest” friends to hang out with. There’s a lot of pressure… to eat at the best places, post the trendiest pictures on social media in some coveted unknown destination. It’s a lot. But it’s never been about the material nor the money, the popularity nor the Instagram following.
When it comes down to it, it’s about those who make us feel something. It’s about the things and people who make us feel the most alive.
It’s about the tiny moments, the private conversations, the relationships we’ve built, and how they all have added to our stories and who we will continue to become.
I’m going into this new decade, and honestly the rest of life with this:
At the end of the day, I just want to be proud of the person I have become.
I want to be proud of how well I loved people and gave generously. I want to be proud of the ways I opened up and risked my heart despite the heartache, and despite it being hurt time after time. I want to be proud of how I put in the effort to show people that meant something to me, that I cared; I cared about them and their well-being. I want to know with a brutal confidence that I showed up as much as I humanly could, and that I made people feel seen in this outrageously tumultuous messed up world. I want to be proud of the ways I healed, of the way I made mistakes and learned from them, of the way I processed my emotions even when it wasn’t convenient or easy. I want to be proud in how I gracefully let things and people go without resentment when they weren’t meant for me. At the end of the day, I just want to be able to say without hesitancy that, yes, I lived and I lived fully—that I wasn’t haunted by my pain or my flaws, that I silenced the ghosts, and that I didn’t use the hardships that came my way as an excuse but rather an example of survival.
At the end of the day, I just want to be proud of the ways I pushed myself to become a better person.
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