Dawn Of The New Decade
By Amal Ghazali
By the time my friends showed up at my house for a dinner party on New Year’s Day, I had successfully pulled off my first big cook out of 2020 - a roasted leg of lamb, to commemorate the beginnings of a new decade. I’ve never roasted an entire leg of lamb before. But then again, I’ve never done a lot of things I had done for the past decade, so it’s safe to say that this year will hopefully continue to see the same exciting trend.
A decade is a blank canvas painted differently by different people. For a friend of mine, the past ten years saw him getting married, getting 3 kids, getting cancer, beating cancer, and starting a new role at work. His journey was definitely an eventful one. Another friend spent the last 10 years finding a girlfriend, getting married, then getting divorced, and now his social status is exactly how he began in 2010. Also a colourful journey, albeit of a different nature than the first one. Some people I know have reached the kind of career success no one could have even predicted a decade ago. Some are not even here with us anymore.
There are a lot of things that we can reflect on when we’re on the subject of a 10-year personal evolution. During our dinner, I asked all of my four friends who came by, the most important lesson they have learned in the past decade of their lives. Here is what they said, which I thought would be great for me to share.
Lessons Of The Last Decade
The first friend told us that the biggest lesson he has learned in the past 10 years is that sometimes, we have to do the things that we don’t want to do for the sake of a bigger picture. This particular friend began 2010 with obesity, after many years of eating mindlessly and not taking care of himself. Somewhere along the years, he had a health scare, which prompted him to immediately change his lifestyle for fear of his own life. As a result, he lost so much of his unhealthy weight and is now living an improved lifestyle of balanced eating and frequent exercise. These days, he looks younger than he ever did in the beginning of the decade, so it was clear that this realisation really did change his life for the better.
The second friend narrated that he spent most of his past 10 years trying all sorts of things, from different interests to different career options. Eventually, he developed a better sense of purpose and was able to establish what he really wanted in his life, based on all of the things that he have dared to try and venture into. The biggest lesson he has learned was to be open to try different things so that when you do come to a point of knowing what you personally want, you can safely say that you have tried everything and have no regrets.
The third friend’s biggest lesson was realising that she did not have to be friends with everyone. When she was much younger, she felt the incessant need to please and accommodate everyone, as is the usual predicament when you’re only starting up in the real adult world and don’t necessarily have a strong sense of self. Today, she is content with having a small group of very close friends, and isn’t too concerned with accommodating everyone anymore. “Quality over quantity,” she said, and I couldn’t agree more.
The fourth friend emphasised on the revelations he has discovered over the past 10 years in terms of his relationship with himself. What he has learned was to not be too hard on himself. In the search and pursuit of things in life, he used to feel bad about himself or resorted to a feeling of not doing or being enough, but eventually as he got older he learned to be more accepting and forgiving of his own shortcomings. Self-worth and self-appreciation is certainly a subject all of us can relate to, no matter who are from whichever walk of life.
Stepping Into The Next Ten
It’s amazing to think that we’re at the precipice of a new decade already. If you really invest your time to ponder it over, I daresay that we’ll all realise that we have evolved in one way or another, no matter where life brought us to by the end of the last 10 years.
I find that the biggest lesson, or the biggest change that I’ve experienced, is shifting my mindset on how much I care about what other people think of my life choices. Granted, I still do consider other people’s opinions up to this day, as we live in a society after all. However, much of what bothered me in 2010 - will people think I look weird in this outfit? Should I do this because everyone is doing it? Do I dare to dream of things that no one around me is really dreaming of? - has gone out the window, disappearing with much of my adolescent naivety.
And good riddance, I say to myself as I was scraping off the last of that roasted leg of lamb. I’m ready for the next 10, and more.