“We have 6 weeks left of this decade.”
“It’s a new decade in 6 weeks.”
Anybody else seen these somewhat triggering tweets of late? They started at about 3 months out and now we are just counting down. Today marks 6 weeks and we’re not just ending a year, we’re ending a decade, so it’s, you know, super hardcore. You know the ones I mean. The innocent tweet threads from people stating their list of achievements that make you realise that you haven’t been promoted 3 times to your now perfect job on your perfect career path, bought a house, got married and had 2.4 children? The ones that make you sit back and question what you have done in the past 10 years? Yep, those.
What Have I Done This Decade?!
When I got off the train, I was done with being online all day every day. I felt distracted from the important things in life and was feeling a need to reconnect with myself and with what I truly want in life. I suppose I’m at a bit of a crossroads really. Which, at 32, isn’t ideal. At times it feels like I have gone backwards to where I was 10 years ago, fresh out of uni and mapping out my life. The plan for my path was to continue building my blog and expanding my freelance writing. I allowed myself to be distracted over the years by travel, by the advent of social media, by life.
I don’t regret anything. There’s no point in that. But I cannot help but wonder ‘how am I in the exact same place as I was 10 years ago?!’ Of course, technically I am not in the same place. I have achieved a lot and seen SO MUCH of the world. I’m now living on the pretty island of Guernsey, having lived in a variety of countries before that and having achieved a lot of non-traditional things. And I am planning a wedding. So I’m getting there. Wherever ‘there’ is.
Anyone else struggling with this? I can’t be the only one. The other day, I wrote an extremely self-indulgent list to cheer myself up. (Feel free to write your own below in the comments OR over on your blog & tag me so I see it!) Here’s the list that I would have written had I joined in with the Twitter thread to list all of my glowing achievements in the past 10 years (not necessarily in order)
Things I did this decade:
– Moved to Costa Rica
– Got accepted to do a Masters in Translation (didn’t do it as I was living in Costa Rica)
– Moved back to UK
– Went freelance
– Went through a break-up
– Got a job
– Met my future husband
– Met a shit ton of amazing people
– Got another job
– Travelled and worked in Africa & learnt so much about social charity work & on the ground
– Went freelance (again)
– Moved to Guernsey
– Started a business
– Ran a marathon
– Hiked in Patagonia
– Got engaged
– Got off the train
Things I didn’t do this decade:
– Stay on a traditional career path
– Fill up a savings account
– Buy a house
– Have a child
– Get a dog
– Get a mortgage
– Regret any of the things on the first list.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do. But I always knew the woman I wanted to be.”
Above is a quote from Diane von Furstenberg that I absolutely love.
To combat this mini movement on Twitter inadvertently designed to make us feel bad, I feel like it makes more sense to ask who we were 10 years ago and who we are now.
Ten years ago, I was fresh out of uni and looking for something to do. With a degree in languages, I had come to the end of my traditional path in terms of education and I didn’t have a straight-forward career path out of uni. I was fluent in three languages (I’m counting English!). I had a gift for writing and I wanted to get into magazines. The only issue was that I graduated into an economic recession, didn’t live in London and journalism internships were, on the whole, entirely unpaid. It was still very much a “pay your dues” kind of industry and I couldn’t afford to move to London without a salary.
Instead, through a stroke of good fortune, I was able to move Costa Rica for a couple of years and didn’t have to worry about being on the right path, so to speak. I came back to London in 2012, spent time enjoying the city and working simple social media jobs, I went through a break up and found myself in another job where I could travel the world, but didn’t have a lot of time to sleep,… or write. My love of writing and blogging had been inextricably linked to social media and my online hobby had become my online day job giving me not much time to focus on my own growth.
Fast forward a couple of years where I was freelance and moving to Guernsey, where I continued working in social media.
I have travelled a lot and lived a wonderful life thus far, however comparison-itis sometimes has me looking at people who have gone down a more simple route and have more to “show for it” from the last decade.
When I was 22, I was petrified of a break-up that was bound to happen. I wanted to travel the world, read, write, speak different languages, maybe start my own business and own my own destiny. My dream was to write for a living and have a family life that allowed me to do that. I never had career or financial goals. Now I’m 32, I feel that my journey and the experiences that I have had in the past decade have made me the person I am today. And I kinda like this person. Admittedly, I do wish she was a little better with money – and maybe weighed 10lbs less. But, to be honest, those are not the kind of things that people worry about at the end of their lives.
So why should I worry about them now?
At the end of their lives, I’m sure, people regret not taking that impromptu trip, or telling that person they loved them or not quitting that job that they hated. I have done all of those things. And more. So let me work on the marriage and the kids and the mortgage and the dog in the next 10 years, now that I am the person that I wanted to be 10 years ago. I’m pretty sure that the 22 year old me would be proud. I’m proud of her for what she has achieved in the past 10 years. And ultimately for the person that she has become. And I can’t wait for the 42 year old me to look back on this moment in my life and smile.
We live and we learn. We grow and we change. This is life, not an invisible checklist. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that.