The Decade Challenge

So, I did the decade challenge.

It did not occur to me we were going to be in a new decade in a couple of weeks. It’s very exciting. I thought for fun, I could find a photo of me at 22 somewhere in the albums dedicated to old Facebook profile photos. For my “now” shot, I took a selfie in the commuter train going home. I may have also been bored sitting on this train, so why not participate in the decade challenge?

The truth is, I have these mixed feelings about the decade challenge. It is basically sharing the world “look how hard aging has hit you.” Or perhaps, it is to show how aging has been good to you.

I like to think aging has been good to me. Not in the physical traits like wrinkles and weight gain//loss, but rather how far I’ve come in terms of happiness, confidence, and just overall life. I’ve changed my career over the last 10 years. I would have never thought to work in the business of serving people, I did not think I had the soft skills to do it.

I have a better relationship with food. I use to listen to people telling me to avoid carbs, which also included fruit(!). I remembered avoiding it like it was a disease. But my travels changed my attitude towards food. People around the world treasure bread, pasta, rice, and beer. In America, it is much easier to demonize carbs than to moderate it.

Also, I have a better relationship with work and money. As much as I love my job(s), I work to live, not the other way around. I use to be the latter, and I was burnt out all the time. The burn out also sucked out the joy from my job. I also feel more confident about my relationship with money. I’ve always been a proud saver until I started working my first full-time job. People tend to conflate cheap with frugal. I was always made fun of for holding on to my smartphone, car, and toothpaste for as long as I can. Thankfully I learned being in debt is not cool. I quickly realized keeping up with the Joneses’ is fueled by debt. I know I’ll get some questions, “so how are you a homeowner?” Well, I changed my relationship with money. We bought a house in 2014, and it almost doubled in value four years later. A bad relationship with money is buying an iPhone 10 to only throw money the following year for an iPhone 11 Pro.

See, there is more to life than anti-aging products and obsessing over #WaybackWednesday, #ThrowbackThursday, #FlashbackFriday. There is more to life than keeping up with the latest greatest thing. I am glad I left that frame of mind early on; otherwise, I would be in a debt where I cannot get out of.

I know there are a lot of people who were not as lucky in their decade. I know some people have lost their job and still remain underemployed. Some are on the edge of losing everything. That is why I work incredibly hard and credit all the people who have pushed me along the way. I am perpetually thankful. I’ve been fired before, but I quickly gained employment about four weeks after. I remembered that month, I networked and volunteered, then an opportunity came.

It is funny when people only want to know if you’ve been engaged, married, or have kids, or if you found somebody at all. Is life really only these things? Nobody really asks questions about what brings you joy — it may not be a person. Not a lot of people ask about your goals in life — those seem to stop after college. It is quite sad, really.

My decade challenge is more than this side-by-side picture. It is a reflection of how far I have come.

Here’s to the new decade!