The Difference A Decade Makes

Over the past few months as I have take a break from publishing often and being on social media, I have been cleaning out my external hard drive and looking back at writing, pictures, etc. I found an archive from a blog I used to keep. As I was reading it, I saw one of the posts was from December 30, 2009. Seeing as how we are in 2020, I thought it was a good exercise to look back and reflect on the changes since then. What’s better? What’s different? Where have I digressed?

Want to take a journey with me?


The original post:

The Beginning of a New Decade…

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

They are saying that 2010 is the beginning of a new decade, which implies the world began at year 0. I won’t argue that…I like the idea of it being a new decade. I spent much of the 90s messing up my life, much of the 00s trying to fix what I had messed up, and now look forward to spending the teens triumphing after finally having been restored and getting back to where I should have been.

In 1995, I had my oldest daughter.
In 1998, I married my ex.
In 1999, I separated from my ex.
In 2002, I reconciled with my ex.
In 2003, I started school.
In 2007, I received my Bachelor’s and started my MBA.
In 2008, I had my youngest daughter.
In 2008, my ex went out for beer and never came home.
In 2009, I was declared legally divorced from my ex.
In 2009, I was hired by the company I had wanted to work for.
In 2009, I started a career, instead of a job.
In 2009, I earned my MBA.

I have to say it has been a full couple of decades. I have been through much, experienced a ton, and become ever so thankful for friends and family. I am ready to put all of that behind me, and walk in this new fullness I feel. I am ready to enjoy being a mother, enjoy me time, enjoy giving of myself to help those who don’t know what it is like to persevere. I am looking forward to seeing what the Lord does in my life and how I can continue to make Him proud by conquering what is put in my way through faith, commitment, and determination.

This coming year, I am going to focus on four things:
*God
*Family
*Myself
*Career

I am going to work out a schedule that encompasses all things and stop allowing myself to make excuses. I am tired of making excuses. For as much as I have accomplished, it is disgusting to me that I allow myself to make so many excuses about my eating and weight. No more. I am done. I deserve to be pretty again and feel pretty. I deserve to feel good when I look in the mirror. I deserve to take time for me and go to the gym and work out. I deserve to take time away from everything else, allow my daughters to spend some time together, and go get rid of my stress in a healthy and productive way that benefits them as well by me being around longer! No more allowing everything else to take my time away from the things that are important. I am ready to do this and I am going to do it.

I expect to see my ticker drop at least 8 pounds a month, and I expect to see my body continue to morph. At this time, I am losing inches, but not losing pounds. However, as I was looking through some pictures, I realized how far I have come width wise. I need to start loving myself as I go through this process, or it will never be enough, and that is what scares me.

And finally, I expect this year to continue my habit of enjoying my blessings. In the past, I was my own worst enemy – scared of success and always in my own way tripping myself up. This year, I just let things flow and stayed out of my own way. Instead, I prayed and committed my life truly to doing what I believed the Lord wanted me to do daily. This has proven effective in so many ways – emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I expect to continue to grow in these ways (well, shrink physically!).

I hope everyone has a very happy new year!


“Plant seeds every single day that you know who you are, you know what you’re about, and you know what goals you’ve set for yourself.”

Steph Curry, athlete (Retrieved from RD.com)

Today’s post:

Reflecting on the Past 10 Years

That was an interesting walk back. When 2010 ended, I’d lost the weight I wanted to and more, as well as experienced my worst year family wise. That was the year my oldest daughter went into foster care because I couldn’t parent her the way she needed me to as a newly single mother with a two year old. She was getting into a lot of things and repeating a lot of mistakes that I had made in my life and no matter how hard I tried, even going so far as to get her father involved (who hadn’t been around for more than 13 years at that point). It was a terrible year. The way the whole thing went down was really awful. Former foster parent and child care worker, former foster kid, putting her own child into the system. I reached out to for help and the system only made it worse for us. It has taken years to heal the hurts, and if I am really honest they are still not fully healed within our family but it is bigger than just her and me so it won’t be for a long time. However, we both are alive and well, so we are warriors who will always overcome what comes our way.

Some aspects of our personality tend to stick with us longer than others. The part of me that always looked ahead instead of enjoying where I am has been slowly fading, finally departing from last year. Through a series of events and a death in the family, I finally understood that I had to stop scripting my tomorrows. Despite a lot of challenges and this being a very challenging year for the past few months, this year has been my best year in a while because of that change.

A decade can be a long time or a blink of an eye. I think the last decade has been a time of immense personal growth because I allowed myself to feel into things, instead of running from them. I sat with the good, the bad, the terrible, and the absolutely dirty things in my life so I could finally put them behind me. The pandemic this year helped me to truly understand who I want in my life, which hobbies I enjoy, how I want to spend my days. When you’re locked inside and don’t have a choice to say “yes”, you realize what you miss saying “yes” to. That has probably been my favorite part of this year. The clarity within the burnout from working too much and doing too much.

Who I was at 32 and who I am today at 43 are two different people. I was a Christian back then but I’m more understanding of what that means to me today. I loved Jesus back then but today I have a true relationship with Him that allows me to be content where I am and enjoy even the moments that hurt. I was similar in many ways while extremely different in others.

I think the hardest part of the last decade is that it finally looked like my youngest was going to have a relationship with her father and that didn’t happen. Through a series of events, I realized that some people will never change and I have to understand and accept that. We are thankful she has a great set of uncles, a grandfather, and strong men that I am friends with who are able to share with her how real men show up for their kids. I hate that she didn’t get to have the relationship we both hoped for so long but it also helped me to ensure in the future I don’t let anyone else speak for him, or try to push him into things he isn’t ready for. We are thankful she has her grandmother and aunt who reach out from time to time and will accept that as a blessing.

I think the biggest change in the last decade has been in feeling like I needed to be married and have all these certain material things to be an adult and feel worthy of anything in life to realizing that I am strong, capable, and able to do things on my own. I am not sure if I’ve secured that position so well I will never again be able to fit someone into my life or if it will make room when there is time, but I’ve finally learned how to be content with being by myself because I want to be versus because I fear the commitment and how someone will change once the ring is on my finger. In the 11 years since being divorced, I’ve learned that it is absolutely okay to expect greatness, respect, and shared values from the person I choose to spend my time with and I realize I will never settle for anything less than that. What used to be important to me now seems like icing and what used to seem like it wasn’t possible for me is now the standard. I won’t lie and tell you I’ve had the courage to date but I also won’t lie and tell you I’ve done anything other than focus on my youngest daughter and helping her with school, knowing how amazing she is, and ensuring she is set up for a life without all the therapy mine has required! I love that my youngest knows how to be valued, cherished, and empowered without questioning anything about it.

Life hasn’t been easy, and I’ll tell you the older I get and further from those days of pain that I grow, I slowly forget the pain in them until moments like this when I reflect back. I used to live in a space of hurt and fear, struggling with the effects of PTSD while living in the trauma and being so afraid to ask for help because of all I could lose. Then I was afraid of what people would think if they ever knew, so that kept me quiet. Then I found my voice and began using it. That has been the greatest part of the past 11 years.

In 2010, I began volunteering with abuse survivors and high school teens and found that my voice can help others not live in the fear I knew as my truth for so long. That is another big win because speaking up when you’ve stood in court and listened to your abuser tell a judge you must be lying because you had a concussion so how could you remember the details is not the easiest thing… and yes that was a terrible sentence structurally but let’s run with it. I look back and realize how weak I was in those moments, but I also realize how strong I was because at the time it was the only life I knew and I wanted my oldest daughter to have the best of everything. In hindsight, she may have been better adjusted if I’d made different choices, but then I also wouldn’t have my little one who has turned out to truly live up to her name’s meaning, “Defender of Mankind”.


The Next 10 Years

I don’t know where you are in your walk. I don’t know what kind of pain you are facing. But I know that releasing pain and allowing yourself to grow is the best gift I’ve given myself in my life. Allowing myself to embrace the wrong turns, detours, and dead ends has helped me become the woman I am today. In another 10 years, the growth I feel in this moment may feel like it was baby steps, but today, it feels like I’ve conquered Kilimanjaro in the past decade mentally and emotionally.

What are some of your biggest changes in the past decade? What are some the areas you have seen great growth?

Let’s walk these next ten years knowing that we are continuously evolving and that even the mistakes turn out to be great advances in our lives when we are committed to growth and development. I expect my next 10 years to be my best years to date.

Happy New Year’s Eve.

~Shell

4 comments

    1. Thank you Guerrina! I made it all year before a family member generously brought Covid home to share. I’m taking the full 30 days to allow it to work through system but once that’s over, let’s get together. Amazing to make it all year unaffected and safe and then get to 12/13 and get exposed! Been on quarantine since 12/19 when I tested for it due to developing slight symptoms and it’s been a ride since. We have to catch up. The last two months have been life changing in many ways. 💜❤️ I hope you’re well and look forward to another twenty years of friendship!!

      Like

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