I feel like 2010 was like 20 minutes ago. I’m not exactly sure how it happened but 2020 is upon us which means we are entering into a whole new decade. I saw somewhere that babies born in the 1980s will have experienced four decades, two centuries, and two millenniums before we turn 40. I know I’m cheating by counting the 80s for myself since I was there for about three months, but it put an odd spin on things.
This marks the first turn of the decade where I’m old enough to get self-reflective in a big way. I wanted to take a quick look back at the 2010s (twenty-tens? twenty-teens? what are we calling this decade exactly?) before diving headfirst into the 2020s.
So away we go.
This was the most difficult year for me to come up with a significant moment. Mostly because it was 10 years ago and I was in college. I don’t mean that in an “I was in college and drunk out of my MIND and don’t remember anything!” kind of way. More like “I was in college and it was stressful and fun and the best time ever and I want to go back but also never want to deal with that much stress ever again” kind of way. An easy answer for this would have been surviving long-distance with my boyfriend, or simply meeting my future spouse, but we did all that in 2009. Relatively speaking, 2010 was a quiet year with quiet victories. However, it does mark the first time I saw my name in print in Madison’s Daily Cardinal. WHICH I HAPPENED TO FIND ONLINE JUST NOW?! WHAT?!!? I still love that article all these years later. It still makes me proud.
I moved into my first apartment this year with my best friend, Stephanie. Yes, I had lived in the dorms for two years, but this was the moment where I felt like a quasi-adult. Our apartment was on the first-floor landing, had the tiniest kitchen imaginable, no air conditioning, and landlord controlled heating so it would be either 50 or 90 in the winter one day to the next. One of my windows didn’t stay open unless I propped it up with a bar, and our bathtub had feet. I loved it.
This was quite a year. I graduated college in the spring of 2012, got my first “real person” job, got my second “real person” job in Maryland a few months later and proceeded to move across the country and in with my boyfriend. I arrived in late October with Hurricane Sandy. One month later we moved to Annapolis into an apartment we could barely afford. I had been dying to have a cat since I was a child, so I half-dragged Sean to PetSmart “just to look” at the kittens. One look at Dottie and Nona curled up together and I was filling out paperwork. Dots is currently purring on my lap and Nona is watching me type this from across the room. Best spur-of-the-moment decision I ever made.
Another relatively quiet year for me personally. Sean and I settled into cohabitation and we both stood up in Steph and Bren’s wedding. I was 23, and I think this is the age where you finally start to get a grasp on who you are and what you’re worth. 2013 sticks out in my head as the time I cut toxic people out of my life and made an effort to stay close to those who enriched it. Small victories, perhaps, but still worth mentioning.
It goes without saying that the most significant moment of 2014 happened on May 24 at around 4:00 pm central daylight time. I married my best friend, the love of my life – the man who is currently playing video games QUITE LOUDLY in the other room – Sean. He’s still my favorite person as we change and grow together and separately.
Ah 2015. This was the start of it all I suppose. I was thrown off the high dive and plunged into the deep end of the Foreign Service when we moved to Tajikistan. I had no idea what I was doing. I loved exploring a new city. I was curious about Embassy life. I hit the culture shock wall so hard I almost didn’t recover. I made lasting friendships. I learned a new normal. I also adopted two amazing puppies, Izzie and Soya, who make me crazy and so incredibly happy at the same time. It was a year of great change.
When I think of 2016 the two memories that stick out the most are of course both animal-related. This was the year we found a cold, sad, starving, sick puppy outside our gate and I couldn’t bring myself to leave him to die. We took him in, nursed him back to health, and hoped someone would adopt this lovely boy. Three years later Ren is 72 pounds of love who attempts to go unnoticed as he hurls his massive body onto our bed each morning. I won’t trade him for anything. The other memory is swimming with wild dusky dolphins in Kaikoura, New Zealand. I often joke that my life peaked at this moment. I’m still not sure if it’s true.
Homeownership is the worst, and the best, and the worst again. We bought a house in 2017 in anticipation of our move back to the States between assignments. A lot of people question why we did this when we were only stateside for 10 months but once they learn of our traveling zoo they are less surprised. No one in their right mind wants to rent to someone with five animals. I get it. Our house is old and quirky and has taught us so much about what to do and NOT to do next time we are in the market. I loved making this little space our home for the short time we were there. Now if only it would stop having so many stupid issues.
One little victory, one massive move. 2018 was the year I really fine-tuned this blog. I forced myself to write once a week and I found myself telling stories I wouldn’t have told otherwise which I very much enjoyed. I still try to hold myself to a post at least once a week, but sometimes life happens (or doesn’t) and I let it slide. I’ve greatly enjoyed expanding, adapting, trying out new series, promptly abandoning said series, and following whatever lark I come across on this blog these past two years. We also moved to Georgia last summer, but I think everyone is pretty well aware of how much we love it here.
There’s a lot that could go here, I suppose. 2019 is the freshest in my memory, so I could spend time talking about lots of things, but I want to focus on just one. This small but significant decision will likely shape 2020, 2021, and perhaps the rest of the decade. I’ve decided to finally acknowledge this: I. Want. To. Be. A. Genetic. Counselor. Sean and I have had multiple debates about whether I’ve been running from my ambition or ignoring it these past few years. I maintain that I’ve simply been ignoring the cartoonish little man in my brain holding up a giant sign that says “HEY YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD REALLY BE A GENETIC COUNSELOR. YOU’D BE GOOD AND IT AND YOU MISS GENETICS AND YOU KNOW THAT, RIGHT?!” I’m not going to give you any kind of timeline of events here since I know that it’s unlikely to hold, but admitting this much to myself is a huge step in the right direction.
Now. Onward to 2020. I’m ready for you.