What This Decade Means to Me

Maybe a week ago, I was doing my usual hourly scroll through my Twitter feed when I stumbled across something one of my friends from college tweeted this:

When I think about this decade, to know how much of school I’ve gone through in just ten years, it’s a bit baffling (much like the meme attached to the tweet above). Elementary, middle, high, and now the college has all happened within just ten years, in one decade. I went from being nine to eighteen, went through three schools, two and a half console generations, iPhone 4 launch to iPhone 11 Pro launch, and most of all forged the relationships that helped shape who I am today.

Decade wrap-ups are sometimes cliche, and I’m well aware of the fact that many just recap the trends and experiences of us within the lens of politics and/or pop culture. But for my generation, for the people my age, we’ve gone from children to teens, and now adults (legally, but maybe not behaviorally). In 2010, I was only thinking about planning the next baked good I wanted to make or when I was heading to a friend’s house to play Shaun White Snowboarding: World Stage. My fashion sense consisted of whatever my mom thought was cool and hip for kids. I was in third grade, ice skating every single Friday with my friends, eating Safeway chicken tenders and begging to go to Baskin Robbins a few blocks away.

In 2010, I didn’t grasp the concept of what it meant to be a black kid in America. I knew I was different from most of my peers growing up in Silicon Valley, who were white and Asian, but I never saw myself as sharing a particularly unique experience or having to deal with a variety of situations that only I would go through. I knew the history of black people in America, but I didn’t quite understand how I played into it all. All I knew at the time was that I loved learning about the past and that I wanted to one day do something related to politics.

In 2010, I wasn’t fearful of nearly anything. To the credit of where I grew up and how much time my mom spend with my brother and me, many of the hardships in life were oblivious to me. I didn’t know what it means to truly be sad, to be in a position where I had no control over my life circumstances, heck even know what it felt like to be depressed or feel hopeless because I was protected. It allowed me to live life to the fullest and be joyful almost constantly.

As I continued to grow up, transitioning from elementary to middle school, I began to truly learn what it meant to feel emotions that may have been less than pleasant. The same goes for the transition from middle to high school. I began truly understanding that life may not always be pleasant all the time. It was in my navigation through these downs that allowed me to re-evaluate how to get back up, again and again. I learned maybe sooner than my peers what gratitude means and how I need to amidst whatever I may be dealing with, to choose to put my experiences into perspective.

In 2019, I’m a first-year in college at a school I had no idea existed when I was nine, studying what I had anticipated I wanted to learn more about. I live halfway across the country and consciously chose to freeze myself for the next four years. I still love to write frequently, read the news, but now I do so with coffee by my side (as I’m doing right now). My wardrobe exclusively consists of darker pants and hoodies, and I’m a hip-hop fanatic as opposed to the pop radio listener I was in elementary school. Salads are nearly the top of my favorite types of meals, I love drinking water courtesy of my iconic blue HydroFlask, and I own an iPad, something didn’t exist before this decade.

In 2019, I feel as though my outlook today is more optimistic and hopeful than it was when I didn’t know the challenges life would throw right at me. I grew to have this mindset that is strongly based on the belief that I will be the person I want to be and remain true to myself. I know that amidst whatever challenges I will face, I want to prove to myself I can overcome whatever odds. The past ten years have been a constant flow between great ups and downs, but I somehow have been resilient enough to not let anyone or anything defeat me or dictate how I move forward in life. I am very proud and perhaps more confident and secure in who I am than I’ve been ever, but I know I have so much room to continue to grow.

In 2029, I don’t know where I will be, but I hope at the very minimum that I continue to write, continue to push to be the very best version of myself. If there’s anything I’ve learned about myself this decade, I can do more than I know is possible, so why not go for it all?

I’ll see y’all next decade…

Being Noah Tesfaye #112: What This Decade Mean to Me

Thanks for reading this week! Follow me on Twitter if you want to ever discuss anything and hear my spontaneous thoughts. Also, if you want to see more of my work, visit my website!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/noahbball1

Website: http://noahtesfaye.com/

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