As the 2010s decade comes to an end, many articles are being posted on a recap or reflection of the major events/milestones of the last ten years. On social media, influencers are posting summaries of their most popular posts or products they’ve advocated for, while Facebook and Instagram posts are about a highlight of each year of their life of this last decade, and what the biggest takeaways have been for them personally.
My life today is quite different than what it was like in 2010. Today, I have a very different job at a very different company. My perspectives have changed on people and travel; I travel very differently (and much more often) than I did then. I have a life partner now who complements me and pushes me to be better and do more, and a slightly different attitude on life and the future in general. But at my core, I’m still the same person: just trying to find as much meaning (and as many laughs) as possible wherever I can find it and attempting to learn as much as I possibly can about things I think are important to the world.
If a theme exists to the last decade of my life, I’d likely say that each year, it’s been an attempt to go out of my comfort zone and do something “different” for me. I used to think that being “comfortable” was good enough. I wasn’t much of a risk taker at all and became way too comfortable and used to doing things the way I always did them without realizing how bored I could actually get; it was as though my life was passing me by and I wasn’t discovering anything new. I spent too much time with people who didn’t have very strong opinions and didn’t have much conviction about anything, not to mention people I didn’t really care about because I was so concerned with being “nice” and accommodating to everyone. You are what you surround yourself with; if you choose to spend time with people who aren’t ambitious, you will likely become lazy and accomplish less. If you are around people who lack strong stances, you will likely become indifferent yourself.
I started this decade with an older brother; I ended it with a dead one and a new big brother by marriage. Losing Ed was the biggest tragedy I’ve ever experienced in my life. It was the worst pain I’d ever known and the most powerless period of my life. His death forced me to reconsider so much, everything from work and career to the way I interact with my parents and wider family, to how I prioritize my life and goals. Experiencing this major loss also gave me better insight into the people in my life who truly cared vs. those who did not; as such, my circle of friends has gotten smaller, not to mention the circle I actually confide in regarding the most personal topics. I’m at peace with that today, though it can still be a struggle. I was never going to be the person with dozens of friends and a packed social calendar, nor did I ever want to be because for decades I have found that empty, superficial, and downright exhausting. Since high school, I realized I rather have a few really close friends I truly trust and can talk to as opposed to dozens of friends who just want to discuss celebrity gossip and someone to do activities from their “bucket list” with.
Getting out of one’s “comfort zone” obviously varies quite widely depending on the person; my list is never going to be like yours or your friend’s or your friends’ friends.
In addition, I hate confrontation – this is one of the worst things for me and makes me so uncomfortable. I get sick (literally, in my stomach) thinking about, leading up to it, doing it. But in the last decade, I’ve probably done the most confrontation I’ve ever done in my life, ranging from colleagues, my parents, relatives, friends. It is never fun, but sometimes, things that need to be said are never said, and problems continue to linger and boil over, and that’s just not healthy or right. I unfortunately in many cases need to continue being the bigger person, but if I am the reason that conflict ends, then I’ll be satisfied and relieved. If you want to think I am an aggressive person, that’s totally fine, but realize that this likely says more about you than it does about me because I am NOT an inherently aggressive person AT ALL. I just don’t like lingering problems, plus I hate bullshit.
Over the last decade, I’ve realized that perceptions mean a LOT. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what you do or how you evolve, but people’s perceptions of you will continue to stick just because they don’t want you to change, their minds are stuck on a certain time they interacted with you in a certain place, or they want to judge you by a particular interaction that was completely dated and should have been forgotten. That’s not necessarily something you can control, and that’s okay. Again, that says more about other people than me.
The Mark Manson article on “the subtle art of not giving a fuck” really resonated with me this decade. Periodically, I re-read it to remind myself to stop worrying about things that are inconsequential to me and my well-being.
In the next decade, I hope to expand my creative outlet with my YouTube channel and video shooting and editing, continue my meditation and yoga journey, and make sure that I am having meaningful conversations and confrontations when needed. I also hope to surround myself with more creative, opinionated people who can help me expand my own views. A motto I picked up through my Aaptiv fitness app that I keep repeating to myself is something I am trying to live by: if it doesn’t challenge you, then it won’t change you.
I’ve learned a lot over the last ten years, and I hope to learn even more in the next ten. More fun and excitement await.