Ten whole years. It may not technically be 2020 yet, but can you believe it has been that long since 2010? Seems like just yesterday I was all giddy thinking about which cute boy would ask me to dance at the next high school dance or convincing my parents to let me get my double ear piercing. Little did I know that worrying about the next dance or being told no by my parents would be the least of my worries for the next 10 years to come.
As the year 2020 approaches, I have been reflecting a lot about all the moments that have occurred, and wow, have I endured some major life changing moments over the last 10 years. Now based on my reflection and over-thinking (as per usual), here are my top 5 takeaways from this decade:
1. Family is everything.
This might sound cliché, but it is so true. Blood-related or not, you really do not know how precious your relationship is with your family until you can’t see them anymore. I moved away from home almost seven years ago. Living 1,500 miles away from your family is tough, especially when there are so many hardships facing your family and you cannot be there. Don’t take your family for granted and cut them some slack for wanting to get involved in your life. So, to my family reading this, I love you and I am so thankful for you.
2. Everyone makes mistakes.
Boy, have I had my share of mistakes—everyone has. Don’t be so hard on yourself when you do make a mistake. Big or small, take it as a learning experience to better yourself moving forward. Who knows, you may be able to share your story one day and help someone not make that same mistake or handle it differently.
3. Embrace the heartache.
I now wear every scar on my heart as a badge of honor. It is an honor that I have been able to love so deeply. Hurting and feeling the pain is terrible, but each time I learn so much about myself as a woman and as a human. How incredible is it that we, as human beings, can feel this powerful emotion in our bodies and souls with every inch of our being? Let yourself feel love, the power of your own love, the pain of losing love, and every other feeling in between. Embrace the heartache, because that means you once loved.
4. Find what sets your soul on fire.
I thought I always knew what I wanted to do when I grew up—be an elementary school teacher. Flash forward to present day: I am not an elementary school teacher. But at the core of being a teacher, you must have a passion for helping others. Now that is my passion. In my current position, I have the opportunity to work with collegiate student-athletes and help them earn their college degrees. I mentor, create lifelong relationships, and believe in my students so deeply that my soul burns every day. I have been fortunate to find what sets my soul on fire. So, to those who feel as though they are lost or unsure of what they want to be when they grow up, find the root of your goals and what interests you. Find what you value. That is your passion. I hope your soul burns like mine does every day.
5. Make yourself your #1 priority.
In the wise words of Kanye West, “I love you like Kanye loves Kanye.” Kanye loves himself so much that it’s the highest increment that he measures love in. He is really onto something with that. No one will ever love you like you love yourself. Take that job. Go on that trip. Go to that school. Eat that ice cream (or bread). Take that nap. Choose yourself, your wants, and your needs over and over again.
Going into this next year and this next decade, I challenge you to embrace all that life has to offer, especially the curveballs. It is easier said than done—trust me, I get it. But I promise that you will come out stronger in the end. There is no perfect road map for any aspect of life, but that is what makes life so beautiful. All the twists and turns lead you down one unforgettable scenic route—beautiful, unique, and extraordinary like every one of you.