Life Lessons | Reflections On The Last Decade | #10YearChallenge

Okay, so I missed the #10YearChallenge but it's still prompted me to reflect back on the decade that was ...

Since most posts included a side by side photo showing off a #glowup - I'll post mine since there's a bit of a difference as there should be from the 20s to the 30s.

But for me, this post is more about the positive changes I've made in my life this past decade. Also, how these things have impacted me in discovery and self growth.

Sometimes it's nice to take a look back and revaluate our lives and even relive certain moments - others, not so much. If you could do things differently, would you? Here's summing up my most memorable moments from the last decade, 2009 - 2019 and all the important things I've learned along the way.

2009 VS 2019:

Looking back, ten years ago, 2009, is the year that I graduated from University with a fresh new perspective and outlook on life. Mind you, this was the absolute worst time to have graduated and to have been job hunting (in the U.S.) because this was right in the midst of the Great Recession.


Yet I remained optimistic, cheery and hopeful for a new chapter in my life. Fast forward to present life...

I've been married nearly two decades (which is insane!) and I'm a proud parent to a four year old. Life is hectic and I definitely have my plate full at the moment but wouldn't have it any other way.


I never did find my "ideal" job and went through multiple job changes through the years to make ends meet. So why am I sharing this? Because I know there are so many others who also went to university and wonder - what if anything, did I gain by going to university? If I could do it all over again, I would still go to university.


Why, you may ask? Well, for one, there's nothing that replaces the power of education. My parents who immigrated to the States from India nearly half a century ago, instilled the value of education in me and that education is a privilege so that's exactly how I viewed it.

When you look at something as a privilege rather than a birth-right, you don't take it for granted and giving up is never an option. Education is something that's given me the tool to improve my life in countless ways.


Time management, social skills and critical thinking are just a few key things you learn while extending your education. These tools surely help you navigate through life a lot easier but are they absolutely essential? No, I wouldn't say so. Work experience I feel is equivalent to education. So if someone works in a career X amount of years, their pay scale will be towards the upper scale of the pay ladder. Yet someone with an under-graduate degree (Bachelor's in my case) will be entering the world of work at entry-level and their pay will be, well, at the lower spectrum.


Either way, hard work pays off. You can hustle at the workplace and still achieve status-level even without higher education. But most corporate offices require at least an under-graduate degree, hence why it may be necessary to complete your education.

But in this digital age, you can literally train yourself to do anything your heart desires - create, launch and manage your own brand, all without even stepping foot on university grounds! 


Why am I sharing all this? Don't limit yourself to just one career option. I went to university initially majoring in Psychology and graduated with a degree in Sociology. I worked jobs in the legal sector, sales, HR, customer support and more. All of the above has helped shape who I am today. I still don't limit and define myself to just one field or career space.  I feel the more multi-faceted a person is, it really allows you to delve into your upmost potential.


I ended up teaching myself how to do many things, like coding, video editing,  designing websites, etc. and this is just what I'm passionate about and never did it hit me, once while I was pursuing an education. The world of art and aesthetics is purely suggestive but for creative minds, it definitely has its place of worth and value. 

You can see I did a complete 180 yet I'm passionate about all of it, so limiting yourself to just one thing is a shame. We're all multi-faceted individuals with many layers - embrace all of them

I feel the human brain is always evolving. Never limit yourself to just one space. For me, it's almost like a mood. I can't just limit myself to a 3x3 cubicle and do that one thing for the rest of my life. I need the creative freedom to allow myself to explore and channel different niches and there's nothing wrong with that. Whatever makes you genuinely happy, focus on that. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.


One of the most annoying things that is prevalent in our society is the need for people to emphasize our failures, mistakes and shortcomings. People often tend to put us in a bubble and often remind us that we're only capable of what they think of us, nothing more. Don't ever for a second, let people's negativity bog you down.

You don't need to get married by someone's expectations, do it when you're ready. You don't need to have kids before 35 or whenever, screw the timeline. I can't even begin to tell you in the last decade how often I heard that one! 


We've been conditioned to believe in this unattainable timeline from childhood, "first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage." There's nothing wrong with believing in this but for the majority of, we all have different timelines and things may end up working out differently and if they do, there's nothing wrong with that! And where's the equality when it comes to this rhyme?! I can't even!

What I'm trying to say is don't allow anyone to lead your life and tell you what needs to be done and when -  only you have that right. 

Even if you haven't gotten your 'ish together, that's okay, too. What's important is that you allow yourself to make some mistakes because that's where growth and development takes place. Your setting yourself up for failure if you choose to follow someone else's lifestyle or timeline. The evolution of you depends on YOU - no one else.


I'm now a mom to a four year old and you know that old saying that goes, "you learn something new everyday?" Well, let me tell you, boy, is that true! If you look at each moment and take every day as a moment to learn, appreciate and grow, then "aging" is something to truly be thankful for.


As Macklemore sings "We've come so far, I guess I'm proud and I ain't worried about the wrinkles around my smile."


I know most 30+ year olds who were initially afraid of approaching their thirties while they were in their late twenties but once they got there, there's no looking back. In your thirties, you know who you are at this point, your confidence shows and you grow to be unabashedly unapologetic and can care a damn about what others think about you which helps you truly grow as an individual.  


I can go on and on about all the valuable things I've learned this past decade in my twenties to early thirties but all of the above are the main key points for sure.

FYI, this post by no means is to put people down or sound narcissistic about myself. My intention is to spread nothing but positive vibes and share tools and thoughts on how others can stay away from negativity and how to make positive life choices. Yes, I'm human and am in no way perfect and have those "bad days" too. But the above is merely a few life lessons which have helped me tremendously along the way.

If you've made it this far, thanks for taking the time out to read this.

Feel free to ask questions, below, I'd love to make this a series (or write similar posts) so if you have anything in mind, ask or suggest away!

How have you changed in the last decade and what valuable lessons have you learned? Comment, below. 

XOXO, Mandy

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