This decade will be hard to beat.
It is the decade when I got married, gave birth to my two sons, almost-failed as an entrepreneur, rose back up as an entrepreneur, learned how to not sweat the small stuff, gained co-advocates and life-long friends, started applying sunscreen (eek hope not too late), started a blog, fell deeply in love with spreadsheets, started consulting for an inclusive tech company (more on that soon!), found a kindred community of searchers, and started loving vegetables.
This decade had awesome milestones, but more than these, it took away something from me too. It took away the bullshit that I thought was my blanket. This decade did not just wash the bullshit away gently, this decade shook me out of it almost violently.
My BS came in the form of some beliefs (some loosely held, some firmly held) that looked acceptable, even endearing from the outside. And so it was a painful process to get shook out of them. But in retrospect, I’m grateful that I’m a few pounds lighter without them.
Because this is a decade-end essay and I am SO original, here is the list of 10 hard-earned and heart-earned lessons I have learned and some of the BS I have unlearned:
1) Being an introvert is not an excuse to be a snob or be disinterested in people. Talk to people, skip the small talk if that stresses you out, but don’t ignore them. Life is short and unpredictable, make someone feel heard today.
2) Asking questions is the smartest thing one can practice even if it feels stupid sometimes
3) Create anyway even if you think your work sucks. Keep the receipts of your “sucky” work. You’ll be amazed at your own progress because of them. Progress is better than perfect.
4) Initiate that difficult conversation. It may be difficult, but having it will actually accomplish clarity. Being passive aggressive will never achieve anything. And no, he / she will not read your status message and change because of it.
5) Take the time to mourn, feel angry, get disappointed, and all the not-so-pretty feelings that may come up from time to time. Honor the process, but have no collateral damage and take no casualties. Honor the process, but always move forward.
6) Being happy for others when they get the things you wanted, is probably one of the hardest kinds of happiness to feel. Because it is not a feeling, at least not at first. It is a decision driven by grace, and practiced as often as it happens. It is not a “fake it til you make it” thing, it is a “practice it enough to know its value” kind of thing.
7) The highest form of self care is forgiving yourself. Strive to be better but forgive yourself for falling short. Then repeat.
8) Be very cautious when saying or hearing the following words and phrases: SCALE, Hustle, Self-Care, Full-time mom, Hands-on dad, Self-made, “Be Positive”, “Do what you love”. These words and phrases could be sources of toxicity.
9) Be compassionately woke. Hate begets hate, holier-than-thou criticisms beget resentment. If you want to change minds, you can’t do so while on a high horse.
10) No matter how old you get, you’ll still not know enough, do enough, or have enough of anything. But you are enough. So while you try to be more and have more, never let anything define you.
And because I don’t know how to end this, here is a quote from a song:
You win some or learn some – Jason Mraz
Happy New Year and New Decade everyone! Hope you scroll through social media less, be with the people you love more, and not live life like it is one big competition.
You don’t have to write a decade-end essay too. Or if you still want to, you don’t have to make it perfect. Cause if you do, I’ll write another one that will be muuuuch better. I’m kidding! Or am I? hahaha I am. Sorry, old habits.
Wishing you all a joyful 2020 and all the decades after!:)