As I write this, at the end of November 2019, I’m cooking my internal organs with a 101 fever, desperate for all of this flu to leave my body, and distracting myself with any tedious task I can (that doesn’t involve moving my pounding, migraine-filled head). About two hours ago I settled on the task of updating my resume. About 30 minutes ago I gave it a final look over. About 24 minutes ago I started to tear up.
Maybe it’s the cold medicine giving me a deluded sense of achievement, but I think it’s the radical feeling of true accomplishment that’s responsible for these waves of emotion.
I started this decade in high school. 2010 feels a lot further away than ten years, but maybe that’s because when each step is crossing a milestone the distance doesn’t just feel further, it really is. I was naïve at 16 years old, in 2010. I hadn’t applied to college, taken the SAT, or even started studying for it (in complete honesty I never studied for it). I hadn’t had my first boyfriend, hadn’t failed my first test, hadn’t lived away from home for longer than a week. I was sheltered and naïve to the fact that I was scared to live outside of the box I had drawn around my self.
By 2011, I was thrust into more “new” than I had experienced before. I went from living in a very red county to a very blue campus. I entered college with viewpoints I now cringe at. Those four years turned my life and beliefs 180 degrees. I went in a Republican, Christian, who truly believed that because we were all equal under the law that we were all equal in society. I graduated as a Liberal, Agnostic, who has a deep appreciation for the intersectional, social justice movement. But that rebirth, painful at is it was, was necessary. I sat in many a philosophy class as the representation for the dissent. I pushed my peers hard on their beliefs, much to their chagrin, out of curiosity. I don’t like to be wrong, but I appreciate it. If someone wants to tell me I’m wrong I won’t take it, but if they want to show me, I’ll welcome it. Philosophy was a class of ‘show me’ and ‘prove it’ to me, which is why I fell in love with the field.
Graduating in 2015 put me halfway through the decade but at square one of where I wanted to go. I ended up have a string of part-time jobs that, while I hated them at the time, I wouldn’t change for anything. Looking back they are the times I should have been more ambitious about all my hobbies. I should have focused on the present instead of the future. I had this idea, largely societally-influenced, that my life hadn’t truly started because I didn’t have a full-time job. Imagining a scenario where I used that time to explore what I could be, who knows where I would be now. The majority of my part-time positions were in the customer service or food service industry, providing me with indispensable patience that has served me daily. The best part of 2015 was my introduction to the world of digital marketing. It provided me with the foundation of working in a small business, start-up atmosphere, how to maneuver in the digital space, what branding was and how to wield it powerfully and efficiently.
Those are the skills that got me my first full-time job in 2017, after 18 months of job-hunting. They are also the skills that carried the blog in its first year, 2018, when I needed a creative outlet.
Starting the blog in 2018 is the highlight of the decade for me. Finally stepping into something with two feet was a bold statement about who I am and where I want to go. I found out fairly quickly that a nine to five desk job is not a productive atmosphere for me and have used the blog as a creative outlet ever since. There is a large duality about how I look at the blog. It’s both a playful, sandbox mentality and a serious entrepreneurial outlook. I try all kinds of things on here, stretch myself, do and talk about what makes me happy and motivates me. Meanwhile, I work very hard to maintain a brand image that is respectable. I heavily vet brands that I work with, I track finances, metrics, and contracts meticulously. I see a lot of my parents in this approach. The playfulness of my dad, always expansive and looking for new projects, passions, and adventures balanced with the steadying nature of my mom. Much like their 35 year marriage (in 2020) it’s working beautifully and harmoniously.
The final year of the decade was the toughest of my life. At the end of 2018, we learned about several terminal illnesses in the family and over the course of nine months in 2019 we lost my uncle, grandmother, and grandfather. Experiencing so much difficulty pushed me to incredible introspection. It’s easy to feel guilty when being away from family during difficult moments, especially when loyalty is as important to you as it is to me, however, as my aunt reminded me: you have to live your life. You cannot rush or hold back your life for your family, it’s not what they want for you and it doesn’t benefit anyone in the long run. My growth this year, and in many ways this decade, can best be exemplified by my decision to renew my NYC lease and remain in the city I love. I highly considered returning to DC for proximity to my family, but made the decision to continue living in a place that I love and that makes me happy. It’s a selfish action that I’m proud of.
The beauty of life’s ebbs and flows really showed itself in the final week of the year. One week after losing my grandfather, my sister in law welcomed a new baby into the family. My first niece, my parents’ first grandchild, and a very special little person.
Welcome, little Kendall Joanna.