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
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