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Here’s to a Decade

I wanted to post this earlier this week but I’ve had limited access to the internet the past few days. Today I decided to head out to the coffee shop around the corner from my Mom’s place and low and behold…they have free Wi-Fi. Game on!

I feel like I really needed to write my last post as a preface for this one: a toast to the last ten years.

I started off this past decade as a 19 year old girl who had just moved to a big city. At the time the city seemed seemed so large that it threatened to overwhelm me. I was actually terrified of the world but liked to pretend I wasn’t. In order to prove to the world how unafraid I was, I jumped into everything head first and did a lot of reckless things for the sake of “the experience” even if these things were potentially harmful to me. I was so open to new experiences and I wanted to suck life up with a straw. I desperately wanted to find love and be loved. I unabashedly wore my heart on my sleeve for everyone to see. I trusted people so easily and saw the good in them, when really I should have been paying more attention to the bad. I thought love meant committing emotional suicide, jumping off a cliff, losing yourself completely in someone else. I didn’t really understand the concept of self preservation, therefore these experiences sometimes left me not feeling that great about myself. My heart was my guiding compass, and I followed it even when it resulted in crashing and burning. When my heart got hurt and became a tattered bleeding mess, I’d keep re-pinning it to my sleeve in hopes that I would get it right the next time.

During the last ten years….

+I have been a brunette, a blonde, a red-head and several variations in between. I have partied a lot over the years and can honestly say that no particular hair color has more fun than the other (although I think I definitely got in the most trouble as a redhead)

+ I have been fortunate enough to see most of my favorite musicians and DJ’s live at least once (Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Maxwell, Basement Jaxx, just to name a few) and have even met a few of them in person.
+ I’ve graduated university and worked at my first “real” job. I worked very hard at both of these things.
+I’ve traveled to France, Italy, Greece, Germany, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, NYC, Boston, Quebec, Montreal as well as back and forth from Toronto to the West Coast more times than I can count.
-I’ve partied in South Beach, swam in the Aegean Sea, walked the cobblestoned streets of Florence,
relaxed on the beach in the South of France, and snacked on crepes with the lights of the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the background. These are all things that I always dreamed of doing and when I finally did them it felt amazing.
+ I have realized that although I have made lots of mistakes, I can look back on the past 10 years with pride and say:

I have lived.

Now, ten years later I am a 29 year old woman. I still live in the same big city but it feels smaller and smaller all the time. I’m no longer terrified of the world, but I also no longer feel the need to prove this. I enjoy taking care of myself and being good to myself. I still have a few inner demons I need to conquer but I try to love myself as much as possible. This gets easier and easier as time goes on. I’m very careful when trusting people because I’ve learned that sometimes people don’t have good intentions.
I’ve learned that it’s important to listen to your heart, but also to use your head. Decisions based solely on your own whims & desires aren’t always the most practical and can sometimes hurt other people. My heart is no longer the raw thing that hung off my sleeve as a nineteen year old. These days I’m a lot more guarded. I think this is partly good and partly bad. Sometimes I wish I could still be as carefree and open as I was 10 years ago. I spent my early 20’s looking for love and I thought once I found it everything would just fall in place. Once I finally found it I came to the realization that the search wasn’t the hard part. The hardest part was opening myself up enough to allow that person to love me. I’ve discovered that tearing down some of the walls that I’ve built around myself is infinitely more scary than all the emotional clift jumping I did when I was younger. And that being with someone sometimes means letting go of your pride a little bit and letting them call you on your BS. That relationships can’t run on auto-pilot and like all living things need nurturing, care and maintenence. But, if you take the time to do these things the pay-off is pretty amazing. And lastly after ten years of dating, break-ups, hook-ups, crazy escapades and falling in and out of love, I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter what, the most important relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself.

If I could go back ten years and tell that 19 year old girl anything I would say this: work hard at whatever you do and take time to focus on YOU. Then I would give her a big hug and let her know that everything is going to be OK. That bleeding mess of a heart, although it hurts at the time, it heals and grows up.

In the 1980’s I was a child. In the 1990’s I was a teen. The 2000’s have definitely been the decade where I’ve had adventures, stumbled, got back up again and eventually become an adult.

Here is to another crazy, amazing, ten years!

{Photo: Me– Hopefully one of many in 2010}

How do you feel you’ve changed over the past 10 years?


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