About a month ago my mother sent me a very cheesy “I’m so proud of you” email. In her email she points out how much I’ve changed and how much I’ve accomplished in the 10 years since May of 2000 when I graduated high school. YES, I am about to have my 10 year high school reunion, and YES it makes me feel OLD, and it reminds me that I’m getting very close to THAT birthday!
This idea of 10 years did however get me thinking. I have changed and I have certainly grown. So I thought it might be fun to do a quick breakdown of the highlights and major life impacting events of the past ten years. And of course I catalog milestones based on how old I was at the time. So here goes nothing:
18: I graduated high school and decided 3 weeks before college started that I did not want to attend the local private college in Texas I was already enrolled in. During a vacation in Phoenix I drove from Phoenix to California on a whim, applied to a college in Southern California, decided I was going there. In a little under 2 weeks I came home and told my dad (who thought I was crazy), packed up my stuff and moved to Orange County.
19: I moved back to Texas and opted for the large state school route and decided to move into the dorms (even though I was a Sophomore) and tried alcohol for the first time (yep I was that girl). I met many of my close friends this year.
20: I had a 13 hour jaw surgery and hibernated for 3 months to heal.
21: I moved into a 4 bedroom/4 bath with 2 friends and a stranger. I also went through an intense entrance process to get into an exclusive design program.
22: I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep the entire year, I can recall many 48 hour must get this project done or I will die times.
23: I graduated college and got my first “office” job.
24: I worked full time and started freelancing and moved in with my then boyfriend.
25: I started blogging as a way to have a sense of community about the craziness that is life in your twenties. I got engaged. I was convinced I had life all planned out for the next 80 years. I went though 10 painstaking months of watching, hopelessly, someone struggle and lose the battle with cancer. I attended 7 weddings.
26: A three year relationship ended and I got unengaged. I celebrated getting laid off from a job I didn’t like. I was convinced I had no idea what I was going to do with myself, my job or my life. I went through a personal effectiveness leadership training that completely altered my outlook on life. At which point I decided I wasn’t shy anymore. I moved into my first no roommate, living alone apartment. I decided I wanted to work for myself. I networked my face-off (credit for this term goes to Miss Sydney Owen). I worked night and day, sometimes forgetting to eat, and certainly there was no time for laundry.
27: I decided I wanted to go back to the office environment and for the first time experienced the cubicle lifestyle. I worked long hours, I was thinking about work even when I wasn’t working, I traveled. I was challenged and pushed and made a huge contribution to business and an industry I was a noose to. I started speaking in public, me the person who was too shy to talk to people speaking to large audiences of people. I got to speak at the ultimate nerd conference, SXSW!
28: I traveled to Memphis, Las Vegas, Boston, New York, Chicago, New Orleans, Cape Cod, and Houston. I got a job offer without ever applying for jobs. I turned in my first letter of resignation. I am moving in with the current boyfriend. I paid off a crazy amount of debt by changing my lifestyle and living frugally. And as of this writing I still have 6 months left of being 28!
I’m sitting on an airplane flying to New England to attend my best friend’s (of 14 years wedding) so I guess you could say I am in a bit of retrospective mood. I think the reason there are so many 20-something bloggers (did you know there are 13k plus members on 20sb.net?) is because most of us have 10 years of roller-coastering, life changing, job jumping, breakups, marriages, babies, celebrations and tragedy. I’m not sure that once the clock hits 30 that all those things change but I can definitely say if someone asked me 10 years ago when I graduated high-school if I had any desire to become a public speaker I was have RUN the other way!
This exercise was fun for me, I challenge you to think about all that you’ve done, who you’ve met what you’ve contributed to and how you’ve changed in the past 10 years.