A Decade So Bright: Revisiting the Last 10 Years

It’s hard to believe that in a matter of hours, we will not only be entering a new year, but a new decade. All jokes about #2020Vision aside, it feels like just yesterday I was sitting in my parents’ kitchen in the early hours of 2010, reflecting on the previous two decades and thinking about what the next ten years would bring. I wrote a blog post on these realizations later in 2010, which I recently revisited as 2020 began to loom closer. It was fun to read about my experiences in the ’90s and ’00s as I transitioned from childhood to my teen years, and how I related to the current events of these time periods as a millennial.

To recap, I saw the ’90s as a happier time of nostalgia and innocence (and I still do!). As we launched into Y2K, the ’00s involved somewhat of an awakening, as our generation opened its eyes to some of the not-so-beautiful aspects of the human experience. In 2010, when I wrote my blog post, I wondered what the coming years would bring.

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Left: At the tailgate before my first UCF football game during freshman year (Fall 2009). Right: Hanging out on field before the game ball presentation at the UCF vs. Stanford game (September 2019).

In 2010, I had just declared an Advertising & Public Relations major at UCF, thanks to an online career assessment pointing me in that direction (and the fact that I wouldn’t have to take any more math classes). I had no idea what I wanted to do with my major, but I loved the classwork so I embraced it. College was an exciting time for me, and I absolutely loved having my independence. I made close friends (several of whom I’m still close with to this day), threw theme parties in the dorm rooms, joined clubs and took on leadership positions, and applied for internships. During my undergraduate years, I hosted two open mic night fundraisers and a Triwizard Tournament, studied abroad in Europe and spent Bastille Day in Paris by the Eiffel Tower, traveled to Israel for ten days, played a Powerpuff Girl in the UCF Homecoming Skit Knight (which our group won, of course), and began to feel at home in Central Florida.

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Sitting at the Champs de Mars by the Eiffel Tower on Bastille Day, a few hours before the fireworks went off, during my study abroad in Paris (July 2012)

I graduated in 2013 and began my career in community engagement at a local credit union, where I still work today. There I learned the importance of building and cultivating relationships, advocating for myself, and serving my community. I appeared on TV as a media spokesperson in two interviews, threw first pitch at a baseball game, and have now gone out on the football field at UCF more times than I can count. (Every time is still just as exciting for me as the first.)

I also took on one of the hardest challenges of my life, going back to UCF in 2016 to pursue my MBA while working full-time. After all of those years of avoiding math in the Communication school at UCF, I suddenly found myself taking Master’s level finance and accounting classes. I made a whole new crop of friends in my cohort, and the program taught me that I was capable of more than I had previously thought possible.

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Graduation selfie (May 2018)

I have spent most of my 20’s in this decade, and I have learned more lessons during this time than I’ll ever know what to do with. Boyfriends have come and go (and I’ll certainly be able to fill my memoir or stand-up routine with dating misadventures from this time period), but this decade has really solidified the importance of strong friendships in my life. Travel has been an important staple in my life, and I even embarked on a few solo trips that have shaped me for the better. I grew in my career and took calculated risks to get out of my comfort zone.

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Left: Posing as the Fashion Police with my close friend Harry during our senior year of college (October 2012). Right: Celebrating the wedding weekend of Harry’s sister in March 2019.

This decade was not all sunshine, and at times it brought on its share of deeper losses, loneliness, and more profound heartbreak. But it also taught me to be more resilient, to celebrate even the smallest wins, and to appreciate those around me. Since 2010, I’ve learned to say yes, I’ve learned to say no, and I’ve become more and more of myself. The days are long and the years are short, and I’m doing the best I can to slow down and enjoy it all one moment at a time.

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Spending one of the last few days of 2019 at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

I’m not sure where I’ll be in 2029, but I’m excited for the year (and decade) ahead of us. As the New Year looms closer, I wish each of you all the happiness, love, and success you are looking for in 2020. I’ll see you next decade!

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