Happy New Year everyone!
That’s it, the festivities are over and I’m back at my desk, contemplating how on earth Christmas was only a week and two days ago and refusing to think about how much wine I have consumed over the last fortnight.
What’s even more scary is that another decade has passed, and, when I look back at photos from ten years ago, I don’t see childhood photos and little cherub me smiling back at me, I see a young woman who was nearing the end of her high school days and starting to seriously think about what she wanted to do with her life. Looking back, who decided it was a good idea for 16 year olds to decide their futures and plan their careers? Because my plans certainly didn’t happen the way I wanted them to. 2010-2020 brought me some of the highest highs in my life, as well as some of the darkest lows. But then again, as I emerged from the bubble of shyness that was my childhood and adolescence, that was bound to happen.
If you have read my previous posts you will have some idea of what I have been through, but for the purpose of this particular post, I want to focus on the positives. It might sound cliche, but I do want to leave a lot of the shit that has happened in the past, and concentrate on moving forward… for the sake of mine and Mr OneBigStressball’s health and sanity.
So, the following are just some of the things that I am incredibly grateful for, and the best things to have come out of the decade of the 2010s.
- I mostly repaired my relationship with my mum and we now have dinner with each other at least once a month and talk more than we ever did during my uni days. This is something that only happened within the last couple of years, and is something that we are still working on. I just suddenly had an epiphany one day that my mother is genuinely one of the strongest women I have ever met, and, having gone through everything that life has thrown at her, she’s still working hard and thriving. She did everything she ever did for my brother and me, and rarely did I ever say a simple thank you to her, especially during my teen years. Yes, she was a scary motherfucker who used ways to discipline us that she shouldn’t have, amongst a whole bunch of other things, but for the sake of my relationship with her and the fact that me and my brother are pretty much all that she has, I found it in my heart to forgive her and try to move forward, rather than harbour the anger in me forever.
- I got the chance to live abroad three times. These experiences shaped me to become the person I am today. Mine and Mr OneBigStressball’s relationship was put to the test when I moved to Australia and we came through the other side stronger than ever. I helped potty train two toddlers, and learned how to deal with rowdy Spanish teenagers. Being abroad for long periods of time helped me become more resilient, more patient, and more aware of the way other cultures think and behave.
- I met friends that I will have for life. Excuse me while I get a bit emosh. I was cripplingly shy at high school, and only came out of my shell at university. Since then, I have found the people I cherish most in the world, and I know they will be with me for a long long time. They have been with me through the worst and best times of my life so far, and I cannot wait for what the future holds for us.
- I met the love of my life. Mr OneBigStressball is my everything. I don’t think I can actually find the words to describe how important he is to me. As well as acting as a free accountant for me and doing my monthly budget, he makes me feel confident, safe, and loved, every single minute of the day. I am obsessed with him, and if things go according to plan, we will be going to be embarking on a big adventure soon!
- I ran a marathon. 5 runs a week for 20 weeks, then 26.2 agonising miles on my 25th birthday was one of the most horrendously gruelling things I have ever put myself through, but I got the medal at the end of it. And a fractured foot. It’s safe to say the long distance running is behind me and I’ll be sticking to 10km and half marathon distance race.
- I got through and survived an ED and learned to cope with anxiety in my day to day life. My ED was so bad that it was either going to end with me literally exercising myself to death or my teeth falling out. It hasn’t been an easy process, but through tough talk from my counsellor and forcing myself to face what was making me feel anxious, as well as accepting what my triggers are and learning the different ways to manage my symptoms, I got through the darkest years of my life. I got out of the black hole that was consuming me from the inside out, and I wake up in the morning now with a sense of optimism and hope, rather than the dread that used to come with opening my eyes. Yes, I still have bad days, just last night I was crying into Mr OneBigStressball’s shoulder because I got so overwhelmingly worried about money, but that’s life! Crying happens, as does worrying, and negative emotions. But I have come to realise that negative emotions aren’t the be all and end all of everything, and not only are they not permanent, they do not define me as a human.
- I learned how to do my eyebrows. This may seem stupid, but the whole thing changed my face and made me look different in a good way. Thank goodness the eyebrow-plucking epidemic ended.
- I realised who in my life was worth keeping around and who I was better off keeping at arms length. Figuring out who deserves your time and love is no easy feat, and it’s even more difficult to bring yourself to stop giving people second, third and fourth chances when they screw you over. As I’ve gotten older and matured, I’ve learned not to take as much shit as I used to allow myself to, and stand up for myself more. I’ve learned that being assertive is not the same as being a bitch, and that my feelings are just as valid as everyone else’s, and aren’t there to be stomped on.
A lot has gone on over that last 10 years – way too much for me to be blabbing on about here, but everything that has happened has happened for a reason and every single decision I have made so far has led me to the point I’m at now. Do I have any regrets? Some. But, what is life without at least a little bit of regret? I am who I am, and I refuse to change for anyone, and I can only hope that the next 10 years of my life will be filled with the joy and adventure that I found in the last decade.
What about you guys? What have you learned, either about yourself or others, and what over the last decade are you grateful for?