How to Emotionally Close Out a Decade (2009-2019)

A decade closeout. Everyone’s doing it, but I’m being sloppy and working it out here in the moment instead of tailoring it. Sort of like a throwback to Livejournal. Do you remember LJ? The golden years of blogging where you would say whatever you want, whenever. Being THAT un-curated is truly freeing… so here I am.

My decade close out also feels significantly more poetic because it is almost 10 years exactly from when I graduated college and started this whole adult phase of my life. Amanda in December 2009 had just turned 22 and was about to enter her final year of formalized education.

Side Note: Could this be why I consider going back to school once a month? Possibly my brain is starving for problem solving that does not involve bottom lines and wildly under qualified people in positions of power. Working full-time is like being in a group project consistently for 10 years. You get tired. I am tired. (We’re all tired!)

Positively thinking: I’ve seen some amazing things. In 2009 I had only left the country once by plane and in the past decade I have been to Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Japan, Aruba, France, Sweden, Portugal, Germany and almost doubled the number states I had been to including Puerto Rico and most recently the US Virgin Islands. I’ve seen quite a bit of the world. And still hunger to see more of it.

I have been in love three times. I love very quickly and very hard. Most important change here is that where I used to pretend I didn’t fall in love easily, I don’t anymore. I become infatuated quickly, bored easily, and my Leo moon craves attention from anywhere I can get it. So, out of all aspects of my life, love is where I have worked the hardest. I’ve worked hard to find a partner that makes me happy and most importantly, I have stopped lying about what I need to be happy. Who knew functional relationships were built on being honest? I have also worked hard to heal old familial wounds and love our unit’s imperfections. I have worked hard to maintain so many friendships I often have trouble counting the number of friends I do have.

On that note, I have a wide circle. I have friends from the beginning of my life through to new friends I made this year in 2019. Sometimes, I picture myself like a big wad of gum rolling across a dirty floor. I pick people up and I don’t put them down. Not because I have difficulty cutting ties, but because I truly find value in each and every person I surround myself with.

Openly, I will share that it can be extremely taxing on me personally. Having a wider circle means more of everything: more dinners, more birthdays, more late night texts, more emotions to balance. I have to cut myself up into tinier pieces than I’d like to give them all the attention they so richly deserve. Do I fall short? Yes, all the time. But I continue to try and strive to be the best friend I can be. Don’t ask me why. It’s a part of my nature I have decided to lean into, rather than fight. I used to pretend I was a loner. (Biggest LOL ever? Maybe.)

So, I’ve done well. But I can’t stop beating myself up. If you’re like me, and I think most people in my age bucket are, you’ve been looking at the decade wrap up and wondering “Have I wasted my time?” “Do I have anything to show for an entire decade that has passed?”

We want to QUANTIFY our time. Shout from the rooftops “LOOK WHAT I DID!” But I am finding as I spend the last days of the year crying at random times– when I fucking cried during the Christmas Chronicles, I knew something was wrong with me immediately– and writing this post, I realized that a lot of this decade’s work was done inside of me.

In my heart. In my mind. And in my physical body. I forget so often just how much has changed because it is my new norm. I learned to cook this decade! Before I left college all I could make was spaghetti and maybe scrambled eggs (but they weren’t good). And now cooking is not just something I do but something I am good at. Something I enjoy! (2009 me is dying laughing right now.)

I learned to love my body instead of punish it. I’ve become better at sharing my feelings with others (this is still hard) and be honest about who I am. I’ve owned a dog for 8 years! (Whattt.) Things that once seemed impossible have become so REGULAR to me that I forget that they were once goals of mine. It’s easy to forget.

So when you’re taking stock of this year, do not forget that a lot of moments in your  “boring, everyday life” are actually things and people and skills you were once desperate to have and to be. The goals I have achieved seem simple now but they took time and energy and hard earned dollars. Sacrifices become joys. Little seeds grow into plants that bloom. Think about your own little seeds and smile.

And I hope this has given you enough to believe in to plant the next decade’s seeds. Because I was struggling this week, but with all of you by my side, I feel like gardening.

XO and Happy New Year.

PS – Did I lay that gardening metaphor on too thick? Eh, I guess it’s time I also own up to the fact that I am a total geek. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


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