Have you seen it? The abundance of posts chanting: O-M-G It’s the Last Days of the Decade. The ones that
humblebrag neatly discuss the intricacies of achievements over the course of the last decade.
This won’t be one of them.
Truth be told, I didn’t even put it together that 2019 was the last year of the decade. Mostly, because after the millennium, time ceased to exist or plunged into a twilight-zone-like vortex and basically, 30 years ago is still 1970, right?
I’ve done the yearly wrap-up posts that aren’t just the sugar-coated versions of life and ones that tip my hat at the things I’ve accomplished. Frankly, I’m quite proud of everything I’ve achieved in 2019. I got through one of the hardest years of the hubster’s ER residency (while still allowing each other to come to bed) and even with the ebbs and flows of a new copywriting business, still posted more sales at the end of the year than the year before. It would be worth a post to celebrate.
But, with the dawn of a new decade upon us, it may be nice to gently nudge and dive into what many of us may be feeling:
Anxious. Apprehensive. Apathetic.
A lot has changed in 10 years!
A Decade of Learning
Being scared doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.
A new decade brings on some excitement about the endless possibilities out there. But, with that, comes its unrelenting, ugly twin: fear. It starts with the seeds of self-doubt and “what ifs,” then morphs into, “I’ll do it someday,” and soon, and you find yourself in 2029, wondering where the decade went. Ack. We’ve all been there. Don’t let those fearless Instagrammers fool you.
Some of the best decisions I’ve ever made started with a knot in my stomach. The kind that you get when you’re at the tip-top of a rollercoaster, just about to barrel down to earth in a rush to the senses. From hopping on a flight to Hong Kong alone, to leaving the comfy cushion of the corporate world, I’m so, so glad I felt the fear and did it anyway. Or at least I remind myself of this while burning the midnight oil, pantsless, figuring out my marketing strategy to get more clients in 2020.
Being scared is okay. It means you’re alive! Feel it. Revel in it. Take it out for a dinner date. Just don’t let it make its way into your home, sleeping comfortably in the back of your mind. Let it remind you that some decisions, however small, can be scary because they’re uncertain. That doesn’t mean they’re unachievable.
It’s okay to be scared. But you have to show up, open up, love fully, fall down, make mistakes, learn, grow and do it all again.
Grow from experience, not bitterness.
One of the ugliest personality traits is cynicism. The kind that scoffs at any goodness in this world. The type that sneers when something goes astray that it was bound to anyway because, of course! Anyone been there? Certainly not me. <looks around to see if anyone believes her>
Growth occurs from planting your roots in the notion that you’ll be okay. It may not be what you envisioned. You may not be where you want to be in this current situation. But you’ll be okay. I had to trust that notion when I made the 1400-mile move back to Michigan. I would be okay. I am okay. You’ll adjust your sails and in doing so, you may find yourself right where you worked towards being someday.
Growth isn’t bitterly blaming your ex for every wrong in your life, while simultaneously proclaiming you’ve learned so much from that jerk and are hashtag blessed.
Boundaries are your new BFF.
One of the hardest decisions we can make is figuratively drawing a line in the sand that the way things have been going, can no longer happen on our watch anymore. Not if we want healthy, respectful, nurturing relationships in our lives. Often that looks a lot like setting boundaries with family and friends.
It can feel so icky at first because we’re told otherwise. It’s a right of passage really, a family subtlety that seeps into our mindset shouting: no matter what I do, what I say or how I treat you, you have to put up with me because, family! (Many fun people with PhDs will call this abuse.)
The backlash can be big or passive aggressively comedic. I’ve personally experienced over-the-top, manipulative guilt trips that many Psychology 101 professors would enjoy–and are free to use! Hold true to who you are, what values you find important and know that the boundaries you’ve set will only be tough for the people who benefited from you not having some in the first place.
Kindness and patience…are qualities not to be trifled with.
Some of the kindest people in the universe are also badasses. Oprah. Ellen. The librarian who fixed my $.50 overdue fee by simply clicking a button. They are all kind souls, but ones I wouldn’t mess with when it comes to disrespectfully taking advantage of a situation.
Often when we think of a love that is patient and kind, we imagine a calm world filled with thoughtfulness and ease in decisions. What is hard to wrap our heads around is we can be both patient and kind, while also not allowing ourselves to be unseen or disrespected.
I once told my sister, I now look for new friends based on how I think they’d react in a public situation where someone was being bullied or humiliated or disrespected. Would my friends stand up and take the person under her wing? Would she yell that you can’t speak to someone like that? Would she stand idly by too nervous to ruffle feathers? Which option would be the kindest to the person being attacked?
I want to surround myself with kind, patient, feather-rufflers.
Your voice matters. You matter. You are enough.
A shoutout to all the men and women who aren’t feeling okay, but still get up every day and refuse to quit. You are the real show stoppers. We all yearn for connection. We all want to know we belong and matter. That can be incredibly hard on the tough days or if you’re surrounded by a not-quite-right-for-you squad.
If there’s anything I’ve taken away from the last 10 years, it’s this: I am enough.
If I’m totally alone. I’m enough.
If I’m laughed at. I’m enough.
If I’m sporting my *NSYNC t-shirt, dancing in my underwear in the kitchen. I’m enough.
You matter. Your little beating heart provides something in this world that others can’t possibly master: you.
How awesome. You, that is.
As this decade winds down and a new one begins and we starts to access what they heck just happened, take heed in knowing others feel the same way. Taking note of the things you would change isn’t about living with regret. It’s about being an accountable adult and knowing you want to do better, be better. How beautiful is that?!
Side note: I despise when people say they live with no regrets. Frankly, it seems like quite a simplistic, caveman-eque way to live, never having the balls to look back and think, yeah, I could have done that more eloquently. That, that right there, takes some self-reflection. Acknowledging a regret and wanting better. The YOLO, no regerts, lifestyle is nice if you live in a vacuum.
Just think of how much you’ve experienced–for better or worse–and be proud of where you are, in this moment. <insert internet high-five here> You don’t need to measure your failures and successes by noting how far you’ve come; you’re HERE. Right now.
You are enough.
Here’s to a scary and exhilarating 2020 and another decade of you.
rae targos says
Caroline Peterson says
Love love right back!