A Reflection on the Last Decade (And the New One! Happy New Year!)

As I write this, it’s New Year’s Eve, and work is dead. It hasn’t been this slow since I started the job almost two years ago. I can’t believe it’s already been two years. Time is going so incredibly fast, and, yet, I also feel time is passing so slow.

I’m already 23, but also, it took this long to get to 23. Huh. It’s a strange feeling, realizing the duality of time and how we’re here on Earth for so long but also not long at all.

Here I am now — or rather just a few days ago 😁 It was pouring rain, but I saw a photo of a look and got inspired to make a look of my own. I filmed the makeup, but it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t satisfied and wanted to do more. It was raining outside, and I really wanted to go shoot. I wanted beautiful, glamorous rain shots at a lake. So that’s what I went and tried to do.

When we got there, to our surprise, everything was foggy. Still raining, but no way a camera could capture it. It made sense that it was foggy, as it was raining over a lake in a valley. But still, we weren’t expecting fog. I guess that was good, because the surprise of the beauty changed the whole shoot. Instead of dramatic rain shots, I wanted super moody, pensive fog shots.

And that’s what I got 👏🏻 I wasn’t sure what exactly to write alongside this, but as I edited the photos, I realized they would be the perfect accompaniment to reflect on the past 10 years of my life.

The last decade was my pivotal, shaping decade. Everyone has one of these — and what I mean by pivotal and shaping is that it was the 10 years that crossed over my transition from childhood to adulthood, (thus being the 10 pivotal years that shaped who I am today).

Ten years ago, I was in 8th grade. How weird is that? I was finishing up middle school and getting ready to start high school. My worries centered on if what I was wearing was good enough, if I was gonna get good grades on my tests, and if the boy I had a crush on would ever like me back. (Ps, no, he never liked me back 😉)

In 2010, I thought that, by 2020, I would finally be attractive and might actually be dating someone. I also thought I would have an incredible job as either an actress or a singer, because at that point, I had not yet discovered my love of writing.(Although I did love writing songs, and to be honest, it wasn’t long after I started the 8th grade that I figured out I loved writing books, too.)

Take a look at me now versus 10 years ago:

Oh MY what a difference 🤣 Talk about a glow up!! This was taken in Disney, and I think it’s the epitome of terrible early 2010’s fashion. I remember how much I loved this picture back then, but looking at it now after so many years, I hate everything about it 😂 Although I do still love going to Disney 🥳 I wonder if I’ll have the same reaction to my fog photos in 2030 🤣

To be honest to my 8th grade self, I’m not an actress, I’m not a singer, and I’m really not much more attractive than I was back then. I still feel exactly the same, just slightly older. (Maybe that’s why it doesn’t feel like 2020 is really here!)

But the fact that I’m not drastically different and that I haven’t achieved my childhood dreams is honestly okay. Why? Because I am still the best version of myself that I could possibly be, and that’s really all any of us can hope for.

Moving forward…

By the time I graduated high school, I was a completely different person than when I started — thank goodness! A little less weird and a lot less pudgy thanks to puberty taking a better turn, I was a pretty confident and self-aware semi-adult. At 17, I was so ready to start college and finish figuring out who I was. My plans were to become a successful blogger and writer and continue to build myself from there. Blogging as a career was something that didn’t really exist when I was entering high school (although YouTube as a career did), so the fact that blogging was somehow a viable option made me so happy. I thought I finally had a chance to make it big. I also thought I could make it as a film writer, novelist, and journalist.

Little did I know I’d struggle just at blogging 🤣🤣

I think my biggest worries in high school involved success. I was afraid to fail, afraid to get into a bad college, afraid to not get enough experience, afraid to graduate one day and not get a job, afraid to not do as well as my peers, afraid to let loose and just have fun. I learned throughout college and even after college that none of that matters. Fear has no place in life, and neither does success. Success is measured in many different ways and means something different to everyone. Most people don’t care about your successes and failures, because, most of the time, they don’t even see them, since they measure success and failure on a completely different scale.

Boy was I different back in high school, and boy am I glad to be done with that phase of my life! I do not miss all my stress and stupidity and immaturity. I also don’t miss all the drama that everyone caused. What was the point??

Here’s me now versus when I finished high school:

Yet another glow up 🤣 Also, rip VW Beetles everywhere 🙏🏻

Then came college, and man. That’s really when a lot changed.

College lead me to find my true passions and my true friends. It made me see my purpose in life, and it helped me find the path that I believe will eventually lead to me achieving my goals. I also grew up a lot in college, made a lot of mistakes, and became a much better person because of said mistakes.

I think I was a little nuts going into college. My first two years, I was double majoring in journalism and economics as well as minoring in Spanish, and I had multiple jobs (sales associate at H&M, helped my relatives with customer service for their business, wrote for an online magazine, worked for my university’s newspaper, and worked briefly on the sports section at a legit newspaper. Plus I ran two blogs.)

Taking all that on as a freshly-turned 18-year-old was insane. Let me repeat: Insane.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I realized this, though. Barely able to keep up with my crazy course load and all my jobs, I found myself not really eating and not sleeping for days at a time. This lasted for months until, one day, I blacked out on my parents’ kitchen floor.

Okay, technically I blacked out on both the kitchen and living room floor. I was walking from the kitchen to the couch, and next thing I knew, I was waking up on the floor with my legs in the kitchen and my head next to the coffee table. No dizziness, no lightheaded-ness. Just suddenly lost consciousness.

That was the moment health became more important to me than success. There were so many things I wanted to do, and I thought I had to push myself as hard as possible to achieve them. But I was wrong. What I was meant to achieve would be achieved, and what I wasn’t meant to do needed to be left aside. If I kept going at the pace I was, I would drop dead. And then I wouldn’t achieve anything, now would I?

So I said goodbye to some of the jobs, as well as the economics major, and I just stuck with what would make me money to get through college, as well as what would set me up to succeed at what I wanted to be, which was a journalist/writer/blogger at the time. I prioritized sleeping and eating over everything else, and I ended up learning how to organize myself and manage my time exceptionally.

Also at that time, I decided to start learning Korean. It was actually my freshman year when I began, because I somehow was bored with all my classes and didn’t have anything to do in between them.

Literally, I was nuts.

But anyway, I decided to start another language. Such a weirdo.

I didn’t know which one to choose, because I wanted to be challenged rather than learn something similar to what I already knew. So I did some research, and everywhere said Chinese and Korean were two of the best challenging languages to learn, cause they would also be very useful in the future.

Okay, I thought. Why not try Chinese?

LOL, YEAH RIGHT. Looked it up, and there is no way I could ever in a million years learn all the characters and tonal differences. Kudos to the Chinese for even learning them. WOW.

So I started searching Korean. I was afraid and was expecting it to be just like Chinese (aka impossible for me). But I was pleasantly surprised. Korean had an alphabet and was not a tonal language. It had conjugations and words and was totally possible for me.

So freshman year of college, I started studying Korean, completely out of the blue. My family was confused, and, honestly, I was, too. But it gave me something to do!

I eventually got too busy and ran out of time to really study Korean. I am still studying it to this day and am still struggling to become fluent. It’s a hard language and doesn’t work much like English or Spanish, so it’s tough and will continue to take time. But I’ve progressed a lot from where I started and am proud of what I know. I am also so happy I took it up, because learning it has given me so many things I wouldn’t have otherwise, like the light of my life 🥰

That’s us in 2016, WOW time flies. (Also peep my mom in the background, lol.) Here is us now:

Huge difference! We are no longer fetuses. We’ve also had a lot of ups and downs over the years, but we worked through them. And at the end of the day, there’s no one else I’d rather be with. 😘😘😘

(Shout out to the light of my life for taking the incredible fog photos featured in this post, btw ❤️)

The other thing learning Korean has given me is another incredible family and homeland:

Too much love for them and 거창 🥰🥰🥰🥰

And the last thing it’s given me is BTS (duh):

Found them while studying in 2014 and haven’t looked back! Their music is honestly the best to me. It’s exactly my taste and evolves as I evolve. It’s weird how it does that. And what I love the most is that it’s genuine. There’s a big difference between BTS and other artists, and it’s that their music comes from their hearts, which they make obvious in every track.

Anyway, I can gush for hours, but they re-opened my heart to singing and songwriting and continue to inspire me creatively each and every day. Love them 🥰

And speaking of them, they’re the ones who inspired this look:

Saw this pic pop up on Twitter, and I needed to do a shoot that matched it. I love burgundy lace, I love natural makeup, and I love moody vibes. This was it for me. I needed to recreate it.

Also, since you can’t really see the fabric of my dress after the editing, here is an accidental pic that shows it off:

Burgundy lace 👌🏻 My literal love ❤️

Anyway…. 🙊

Something else that happened at the beginning of college is that I started my two blogs!! Can you believe it’ll already be 6 years of posting on these things? Absolutely crazy. I know I suck at keeping up with posts most of the time, just cause I’m always so busy, but I honestly don’t know what I would do without blogging. It’s such a creative outlet and great stress reliever for me. Even if nothing ever comes from it, I hope to continue to blog forever, because it’s just so much fun.

Take a peek at my first posts on each of my blogs. Here’s the first post on this blog. It’s about outfits I wore during my week:

WOWWW HOW AWFUL!!!!! Literally, what was wrong with me? 🤣🤣🤣🤣 (Rhetorical question)

Here is a peak at my first post on my other blog:

Also HORRIBLE! I didn’t realize back then how many grammatical mistakes there were… I’ve evolved as a writer a lot

But I think there’s an important lesson to take from seeing where I started. To everyone out there reading this who has something they’re afraid to do, DON’T BE AFRAID TO DO IT!! Having fun is the only good reason there is to do something. Pursue your dreams and passions cause they’re fun. Don’t live for anything else! It doesn’t matter how talented you are, as long as you’re having fun, what you’re doing is correct. We all start somewhere, and practice makes perfect. Cheesy, but it’s true. Look at where I started and where I am now. I am living proof that you need to just do what you enjoy and let the talent come with time. (Not saying I’m talented yet, but I’m much better than 2014 me 😂)

Okay, enough of the past. I also want to take time to talk about the future.

I honestly have no idea where I’ll be 10 years from now. Ten years ago, I couldn’t have imagined this life. I thought I would be wild and young and famous and maybe traveling the world, but instead I’m mature and responsible and normal and settled and happy. And young 😉

I have a lot of general hopes for myself for the next decade, like learning to speak all the languages on my list and becoming a better photographer and editor. I also want a job that I actually love, and I want more than just a random children’s book published. I want to be a better person, too, who is more open with people and better at loving her family and friends. Finally, I want get to a more positive, healthy place with my body. I want to love myself and the way I look, because I’ve spent the last 23 years doing the complete opposite. Time to change for sure.

Wow, 10 years. It’s such a long time, but I also know it’s gonna fly just as fast as the last 10. And the 10 before that.

Again, time is strange…

But other than that, I don’t know what I want and don’t have any super specific goals. I don’t want money, I don’t want a house, I don’t want cars, I don’t want shiny things. I just want to be more wholesome and fulfilled. You know? I want to be a good person who has achieved her dreams. I don’t want a bunch of stuff. I’d rather have memories and experiences and my own version of success than things.

I wish you a very happy New Year, and I hope your 2020 and whole next decade is everything you could have ever dreamed! Work hard, and don’t give up until it is!

Happy New Year! 🥳🥳🥳 Until next time ❤️

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