Tuesday, January 14, 2020

looking back on the decade


At the start of 2010, I was 18 and a half years old, going into my second semester of college at the University of South Florida. I was living in a dorm room, about to rush a sorority (unbeknownst to me, truthfully), and working as a hostess at The Cheesecake Factory. My hair was box-dyed dark, I was just a few months away from starting a health kick that would cause me to lose almost thirty pounds, and I hung out with a lot of people who weren't really my friends, while also maintaining a solid group of people who actually were

Losing all that weight left me in a complicated head space that I battled on and off for a couple of years. I became lactose intolerant(ish), which threw my body and my brain for a loop as I tried to re-learn what I could eat, while figuring out what was healthy for me to eat, and what that actually meant, period. I became obsessive about everything that went into my body, which was a fight that I thankfully overcame within a year or so.

I kissed a lot of frogs, and looking back, had questionable taste in men. I accepted far less than what I deserved, but I think most everyone does in their early 20s. At my worst, I was vindictive. I sought revenge. I let people walk all over me. I had a lot of fun, and I spent too much time with guys who would never matter. I had a few boyfriends, who taught me what I want and ultimately, what I didn't want out of a relationship. Early in the decade, I met a man at a bar who would, by the end of the decade, become my husband.

I went into the decade majoring in mass communication, with an idea that I wanted to work in magazines, or become an actress one day, while doing absolutely nothing productive toward either dream. Instead, I worked in restaurants and took on scattered types of internships with no real idea of how to become what I thought I wanted to be. I worked in sales until deciding to go back to school for speech-language pathology, got a master's degree, and started my dream job nearly right out of the grad program.

Having lived in a state where humidity is a continuous season for my entire life, I had dreams to move out of state. I thought about California, thought about Chicago, thought about literally any place that could give me something different than what I'd grown up around. I applied for graduate schools out of state, but remained in Tampa, just thirty minutes outside of my hometown, where we'll likely buy our first house.

Things happened a little differently than I envisioned, and like most, I'm so happy with the outcome. I'm a lot different at 29 than I was at 19, as I should be, and for that I am thankful. I work out to stay healthy and feel good in my clothing, not because I feel I need to look a certain way. I'm working a job that I had no idea about at the start of 2010, that I now love. I'm married to the love of my life; someone who makes me better just by being themselves. I've had plenty of difficult moments, weeks, and months. I've been stressed out and broken down and at my worst. But at the risk of sounding boastful, I closed the decade feeling ridiculously happy, fulfilled, and secure.

How did you feel about the last 10 years?




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