It is officially 2020! Honestly, a small part of me (many years ago) never pictured making it to 2020, but here we are. With it being the start of a brand new year, I found myself reflecting on the 2010s; the good, the bad, the humiliating, the heartbreaking. If you had to summarize each year in the 2010s, which words would you pick?
19-year-old me didn’t have a damn clue what it meant to be truly loved and respected. 19-year-old me also didn’t have a damn clue how to truly love others. Looking back, she was just a kid, thinking she knew what adulting actually meant.
20-year–old me was gossipy, childish, and insecure. She was so terrified of losing any romantic relationship that she indirectly sabotaged every romantic relationship. She also struggled to find true friends and experienced many losses this year.
21-year-old me was focused on trying to be what she felt others wanted her to be, resulting in her own self-worth plummeting when the unattainable expectations weren’t met. She was also dishonest in a good relationship, possibly out of fear of something real and true. 21-year-old me was about to experience the worst emotional pain she’s ever experienced.
22-year-old me lost hope. She was hurting, lost, confused, and stuck. 22-year-old me wanted to give up and if one good/faithful/stubborn friend hadn’t have pulled her out of that mindset, she may not have made it past this year.
2014: Loss of Self
23-year-old me had no clue who she was anymore. She had spent her entire adolescent and adult life in relationships and didn’t know how to be alone. She was so fearful of being alone. She threw herself into a relationship that was heavily unrequited, not knowing at the time that she was searching for a man/relationship to save her. 23-year-old me settled for the sake of not being alone and at the end of 2014, 23-year-old me began a new relationship with someone she thought she’d marry.
2015: Anxiety & Doubt
24-year-old me started to gain some self-awareness and cut ties with unhealthy relationships while also nurturing a brand new relationship. 2015 was rough for 24-year-old me because she still harbored heavy self-doubt. She questioned her ability to make it through graduate school, to make new friends, and to make a relationship work with this man. Looking back now, there were many red flags but 24-year-old me couldn’t see them all at the time.
25-year-old me experienced an abrupt end to a romantic relationship and struggled to cope, but found herself reaching out to friends for help and guidance. 25-year-old me was finally learning how to experience pain in a healthy manner. Even though 2016 was full of pain and heartache, it was also a year of immense growth. Toward the end of 2016, a new relationship began and 25-year-old me had a feeling that he’d stick around a while. ✨
26-year-old me lost her stepdad in April 2017 and struggled to process this loss for the entire year. This loss lingered in the background as 26-year-old me was trying to find her last semester of graduate school. 2017 was surrounded by loss and the emotional avoidance of it. Grief was such an unpredictable experience.
27-year-old me was learning what her identity could be, other than “student” since she had graduated in August 2017. This transition took a while, because after spending nearly 8 years in college, who was she? She was a friend, a daughter, a sister, a lover, a co-worker, a confidant, and above all, she was free to be whomever she wanted.
28-year-old me shed many tears in 2019. She had to let go of a therapy job she adored in March 2019, begin a brand new therapy job that she was terrified of (which ended up being such a blessing!) in March 2019, as well as starting another new therapy job in October 2019. 28-year-old me also got engaged in July 2019! If you can’t tell, 2019 was the year of change for me. It was a rollercoaster ride of emotions, but as I reflect on my main takeaways from the 2010s, I realize that 2019 was my year to finally learn to accept myself, flaws and all. While I still have low mental health days, I still find myself thankful at the end of the day for what I have and what I’ve accomplished. Here’s to the 2020s. ✨