Entering a decade as a 16 year old makes the next 10 years an incomprehensibly long time away. When you end the decade as a 26 year old looking back on those 10 years, you sure do wonder where they went.
I look back now at all the things that were a thing when I was 16 compared to now and it blows my mind. I didn't get my first iPhone until I was 18 going to university. Before that, I was rocking my Blackberry Bold and BBM was all the rage. Now, kids under the age of 11 are getting brand new iPhones as their first phone. My first phone had an antenna.
It was only a few weeks ago that I was talking about how quickly DVDs have stopped being a thing. Now, Netflix is the go to. I used to love buying DVDs from HMV and watching my collection stack up. I now have a very extensive movie collection taking up space and gathering dust because everything is online.
Times change, there is no doubt to that.
I used to roll my eyes when the oldies would say that stereotypical phrase of "back in my day" where foggy eyes and a half smile. Well, I have said that phrase multiple times in recent years. If that isn't ageing, I don't know what is. I have lived through so many changes in popular culture, technology and overall worldwide changes that seem gradual to those who are even slightly younger to me, but are quite staggering when you take a second to think about them. At what point did I realise I could do everything from my phone? I have a laptop and camera, barely a few years old, that I don't use anymore because my phone rendered them redundant. My phone actually has a professional grade camera on it and I spent several hundreds of pounds to buy a separate device that I used potentially twice. Some might say that is a poor financial decision. I say it was my attempt to be a high flying vlogger until I realised I have the personality of a spoon and not even my mum would watch me ramble on for even two minutes, doing the chubby bunny challenge or whatever makes people famous these days!
On the other side of life, I am a creature of habit when it comes to comparing myself to others. Thanks social media for making that even easier, but here we are. I used to scroll through whatever social media was popular at the time (I am a child of Bebo and sending love to the person you think is hot once a day) and look at this sneak peek of someone else's life and wonder why mine wasn't so good, or why I wasn't that thin or good looking, or continually judge how and what I did against something someone I didn't know on the internet was doing. Thankfully, I stopped using social media as my lifestyle goal a few years ago and now follow almost solely Disney accounts because no one is unhappy in Disney, but that compulsion to compare still shows its face once in a while.
Everyone was sharing their Instagram Top Nine images in the last week or so now we are coming up to the end of 2019. My Instagram page is fairly boring to someone with little or no interest in Disney because that is my standard post. I rarely post pictures of myself on my page because if I don't like what I look like then why would anyone else? Turns out I was slightly wrong.
This was my Instagram Top Nine, complete with slightly dodgy Instagram screenshot and lack of soppy caption. Thank you very much less than adequate computer skills.
I can probably count on my hands the amount of times I have uploaded a picture of myself to my Instagram account, and yet there are two of them, three if we acknowledge that the arm holding the churro is also mine. It got me thinking about what I had actually accomplished in the last 12 months, and equally in the last 10 years.
I got to the end of this year surprisingly feeling quite deflated and down. I don't massively feel like I accomplished much this year, having spent the first three quarters of the year barely treading water to keep myself afloat. I have suffered massively with poor mental health this year, and still have a long road to full recovery ahead of me, but to be still standing and smiling is in itself an accomplishment.
I have also been reflecting on my personal life recently. I saw a Tweet about people not having any couples friends and it made me realise that I am actually the only single person in my close friendship group right now (see above mental health issues!). In that moment, I realised that it bothered me in a way I didn't expect. I felt behind. At one point, I was one step ahead. I had a house, a fiance and a pretty stable future. Then one day I didn't. Being a major planner, this rocked the boat considerably for me mentally, let alone the other side effects a severe life change like that has on a person. Seeing that Tweet made me question a lot of things. But what it did also make me realise that for the first time in a very long time, I feel happy. Yes, I am 26 with no foreseeable plans to date and settle down and I still don't know if I want kids or not. But that is OK. I am young, I have time! I am happy being on my own for a while and rediscovering who I am as a person right now.
Then I got thinking, what have I accomplished in the last 10 years? I look at where I am now and feel like I have nothing to show for it. But then I figured that a lot of what I accomplished doesn't necessarily have something physical you can take to a party to show off, it may be something that had a meaningful impact on my life, or it could even be the fact that the one day I didn't want to get out of bed, I still did.
I have achieved GCSEs, A Levels, a degree. I moved half way down the other side of the country for three years to a city I didn't know and lived with people I had never met. I worked 6 day weeks on my feet during the summer to get money. I graduated with a 2:1 in my favourite subject and completed my final year whilst my mum was going through chemotherapy and I was the other side of the country. I was there when my mum beat breast cancer. I bought and owned three cars. I got a job straight out of university. I worked hard and was promoted twice at that same Company, the same I still work for now. I have been on some incredible holidays. I have had amazing memories with friends that I will never forget. I have watched two of my friends get married. I met someone I wanted to spent my life with. I bought a house. I got engaged. I got two dogs. I endured the hardest mental, emotional and financial situation I think I will ever have to endure. I sold my old house. I bought a new house entirely on my own. I got up and I carried on.
That is a lot of things to be proud of.
So, what does 2020 hold? Honestly? Not a lot right now. I have a lot of rebuilding to do so I am taking the next year one day at a time. As for the next 10 years? Well, there is only one way to find out.
Finding a bit of pixie dust in every situation.