A lot of people are posting about the ways they’ve changed in the last 10 years because we’re entering not only a new year but an entirely new decade. As with all people, there were instances and even periods of angst, but my accomplishments and personal development have mostly eclipsed that. I believe that I’ve trained myself to focus on the positive, including when reminiscing on the past. Still, I don’t forget the struggles completely; I’ve simply contextualized them in the lens of resilience and improvement. Here’s what happened in the last 10 years of my life:
I established a fulfilling career.
As an English major, my career path was fairly open-ended. I knew I didn’t want to teach and I was also aware that writing would not get me out of my mom’s house until I was 30. After a spontaneous decision to live in New York crashed and burned only after several months, I returned to the north suburbs of Chicago with my tail between my legs. It took one more brief stepping stone before I found the company for me, where I’ve been since 2014. It took a while to acclimate to the recruiting industry (it’s not for the faint of heart), but my personality was well-suited for it and I’ve always been determined to succeed and excel. The best part of my job is becoming friends with many of the people I’ve represented in their search.
I became estranged from my father, then reconnected with him.
I’ve written about this before a couple of times, but this may be the most important to me personally. I was fed up with the attitude and lack of attention that I received from my father and chose to end communication for over a year. As flippant as I was about the estrangement, it was tearing me up inside and manifested in unhealthy habits. Luckily, I recognized this and was able to work through it. Now, when someone asks me if I have any regrets, I can truly say no.
I returned to therapy.
My estrangement from my dad was the impetus to seek regular professional help again and I’ve found a therapist (who also happens to be an Indiana University graduate) that has helped me through the highly emotional and painful process of reunion with my dad. While I don’t see her as often at the moment, I look forward to our monthly conversations because she still helps me in finding actionable solutions to systemic or momentary issues with compassion and no trace of condescension. I can’t emphasize enough how immensely valuable seeing a therapist has been, even when things are going relatively well.
I overcame a long-term eating disorder.
After a decade of eating disorders, I was able to eliminate these behaviors and unhealthy obsessions with food, exercise, body image, and control. At times, the struggles left me feeling hopeless, but I never gave up trying to heal. I had to make decisions that, at the time, felt extreme such as leaving my sorority and ending toxic friendships, but it was vital in terms of regaining my health, sanity, and happiness. It feels like a lifetime ago since I was a prisoner to these illnesses, and that in itself is so beautiful.
I had my first serious relationship.
While it didn’t last particularly long, I met someone that I felt connected to on a very deep level. I was able to be my authentic self and feel appreciated for that. In this next year, I am hoping to meet more people with the ultimate result of finding another deep connection like that one, though admittedly, it hasn’t been a priority. Still, having had this experience gave me hope that there are people out there that make you feel wonderful and intimately connected.
I’ve established my finances.
Being in sales offers greater risk, but greater rewards and I can say that I feel pretty powerful and proud when it comes to my finances. I have established a comfortable savings account, a Roth IRA, a high credit score, and have even started investing with Robinhood! I was able to move to my own apartment and furnish it without the help of my parents. I’m extremely proud of this. In the next year, I will be even more focused on saving so that I can prime myself for home ownership.
I became more patient and understanding.
Through my job and simply more years on the planet, I’ve become more mature and far less black and white when it comes to life. I try to be more thoughtful about why people act the way they do and remember that 99.9% of the time, it has nothing to do with me. This isn’t the easiest in today’s sociopolitical climate, but I think it’s vital to staying productive and optimistic.
My gratitude increased.
With time, I have seen people, including very close friends, experience tragic loss, trauma, and major health problems. I’m not trying to discredit my struggles, but I recognize that I am a healthy and privileged person and I won’t forget that. I am grateful for my family, friends, my health, career, my opportunities, my resources, and my desire to do and be better.
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