Earlier this week I shared an image encouraging people to think about their accomplishments over the past ten years rather than how their looks have changed and listed all the positive things that have happened in my own life. It's not that I mind sharing pics of what I looked like 10 years ago but just sharing a picture doesn't tell the whole story. I had a lot of people respond congratulating me on my accomplishments and while I appreciate that it made me realize my intention was never to brag or say oh, look how great my life has been because the past ten years have been years of struggle and success.
Here you see a girl who thinks she's the life of the party - she's 24 and has practically no responsibilities but I don't envy her or wish I could return to that lifestyle.
Meanwhile, you look at this 34 year old woman and you see she's changed the way she treats her hair, she has some lines around the eyes and roundness to her face that wasn't there before but she is smarter and more thoughtful than before thanks to all that she has gained and lost over the past 10 years.
For my accomplishments I listed the following:
Got my Master's Degree
Bought a Condo
Learned to love myself more than men who aren't worthy
Found a man who is worthy and married him
Sold the condo and bought a house in the suburbs
Grew my career
Started a blog
Made lots of wonderful friends
And while all of these are true things that actually happened in my life over the past ten years here's some of the not so great things:
Multiple relationship breakups including one soul crushing, thought I would never love again
Lost my mother very suddenly at 28
Gained 90 lbs over these 10 years
Had times when my career made me miserable
Was layedoff from my first financial analyst job
Lost friends over petty drama and falling outs
Said things I regret
Racked up credit card debt
Was arrested for driving on a suspended license because I didn't pay a speeding ticket on time (finger prints, mug shot - luckily did not have to go behind bars)
Just didn't file my taxes for two years
Yikes! This is the first time I'm listing it all out like that and to be honest my first reaction was omg, WTF is wrong with you. A lot of these issues stem from depression and lack of self esteem I also suffered from during these past ten years. So when I look at pictures of myself now I don't just see a woman who got a better hair stylist but has eaten way to much junk food I see a woman who learned to love herself first, learned to open her heart back up to God, learned to stop making stupid choices and has been lucky enough to have an amazing support system to work though the consequences of the bad to come out on the other side ahead.
Maybe your life is amazing right now, or maybe you are struggling - I hope what you take away from my 10 year journey is that things change , who you are today isn't who you have to be tomorrow , and focusing on the important things like family, friends and doing the right thing will make the journey a whole lot better.