In recent weeks, not only have we been bombarded with retrospectives from the last year, but as with any year ending with a “9”, we’ve seen our lives flashing before our eyes with scenes from the last decade as well.
One evening, as I was stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic (again!), just for fun, I asked myself what were my own favourite moments of the last decade.
It was a fun activity that completely took me out of the drudgery of traffic. My spirits were lifted as I rattled off a list of great memories. When I got home, I took out the iPad and started noting them, one-by-one. In the days that followed, more ideas kept coming to mind and the list continued to grow.
Just like everybody else, I experienced personal and professional highs and lows. But it was because these experiences that I will remember this decade fondly as the one where I experienced the greatest and most significant personal growth.
Despite what I thought was a pretty good tool kit for handling stress, this past decade offered a pressure cooker of situations that tested my tool kit to its limits when anxiety took over. With the help of a psychotherapist, I was able to establish better boundaries which not only contributed to enhancing that tool kit, but also helped to prevent some situations from festering into anxiety in the first place.
Where worry and rumination were normal to me, sucking up so much of my energy and headspace, the decade ended in a much calmer state of being. It doesn’t mean I can’t still work myself into a tizzy about little things, but I can (and do) set a limit on how long I might let it linger.
There were some people that barged into my life who acted like a bull in a china shop, disrupting my sense of order with the world. But in the end, it was because of them that I learned so much about myself and how to better deal with the bull… droppings.
During that time, I started asserting myself more, explaining less, and learning to let go of things that didn’t matter so much. Learning how to remain calm while doing so was the icing on the cake.
With that renewed sense of calm and freedom of spirit, I reconnected with my joy of reading and savoured so many wonderful books.
My passion for writing grew stronger with every word I wrote, a passion which I know will be my calling in my rapidly approaching retirement from the public service.
With stress and anxiety better contained, I appreciated the feeling of being truly present and in the moment with family, my close friends and with my significant other.
When my partner and I were able to step out of our work routines, we were so fortunate in taking some wonderful trips together that were filled with many unforgettable moments. Funny enough, some of those moments weren’t even planned, making the serendipitous discoveries some the most memorable parts of our travels.
We also enjoyed many wonderful concerts, plays and musical theatre experiences over the last decade to feed our huge appetite for art and culture. In those years, I was introduced to opera for which I developed a keen appreciation for the talent that goes into each production.
Over the last decade, my palate opened up through the discovery of many foods and cuisines that were new to me. Where my wheat intolerance could have been seen as an obstacle to the foods I couldn’t eat, the last decade just seemed to open my horizons to the multitude of other options that were available to me when I looked hard enough.
The travel and the culinary experiences were also my gateway to discovering fine wine, scotch, tea, coffee, cheese and chocolate. With a world of possibilities, my taste buds joyfully embarked on the adventure in trying different varieties of each to appreciate the subtle differences in flavour notes and to appreciate the artisanship of each remarkable product.
Earlier in the decade, I trained and ran my first half-marathon, but I also battled shin splints and iliotibial band issues, which served to teach me more about the mechanics of the human body and how to treat and prevent injuries.
The adoption of my cat Ivy, brought me a stronger sense of compassion and of empathy, not only for animals, but it translated to humans as well. Ivy also helped me to accept the privilege of being locked into my favourite chair to relax and enjoy a Sunday afternoon nap together.
My best decision of the last decade was the realization that climbing the corporate ladder wasn’t for me anymore. The stress and impingements on my personal life just weren’t worth it. The peace of mind I gained was priceless.
Over the last decade, I finally learned to trust myself more, to trust my gut more, and to trust my resourcefulness in dealing with adversity.
I also learned to ask for help when needed and to accept it graciously when it is offered.
After age 50, I learned to appreciate those mornings when I wake up and nothing hurts. But in all seriousness, I also appreciate good health in the members of my inner circle of family and good friends.
Over the decade, I developed an appreciation for more simple things in life: a sunny day, a day with no agenda, the beauty of art, the beauty of nature, the beauty of stillness, a good book, a good laugh, a good exchange of ideas.
All in all, the 2010s were an enriching decade for me in so many respects. I don’t have all of the answers to life’s mysteries, I am still learning, but viewing life from a more calm, relaxed and fun perspective can only help in my navigation in the new decade ahead.
Happy new year and happy new decade, everyone!
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Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,