There are 21 days until 2020. A brand new year, plenty of opportunities, adventures and achievements to experience.
But it feels grander, more important somehow. There are 21 days until a brand new decade and, while time is a construct, the idea of going into a whole new decade is kind of stressing me out—okay, very much stressing me out. I’ve had multiple existential crises, more than usual, when thinking about the future.
At the start of this decade, in 2010, I was in my last year of elementary school. When you’re 12 and someone asks you where you think you’re going to be in five, 10 years, it’s often along the lines of go to school, get a job. Well after those five years, I finished high school. Then I went to CEGEP. And now I’m in my last year of university.
“Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”
I have no idea. And that thought scares me. Up until this moment in my life, everything has somehow fallen into place according to a relatively “normal” timeline. From here on out, I have no idea what to do, where I’m going to end up, what I’m going to be doing with myself and my life. And it’s absolutely freaking me out.
I have to remind myself to look at the past year, at what I’ve accomplished: I got my first job in journalism, got an internship over the summer for a job which I got to keep, I started my column in this paper, I got through another year of university without any major breakdowns, got good grades while balancing multiple jobs, and so much more. Looking back over the last decade? I’ve accomplished so much and most of it was just growing up: I survived multiple levels of schooling, got my license, bought a car, fell in love, had my heart broken, I’ve lost loved ones, made and lost some amazing friends, and began the journey to finding and establishing myself.
Thinking back to everything I’ve done over the years, it makes looking forward a little less scary. Did I know what I was doing with myself at 12, 15, 18, 20? Absolutely not. But I still managed to get things done, and I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished because it’s all made me who I am today.
Now, I don’t know what I’m going to do after I graduate. I don’t know what job I’m going to get, or when I’m going to fall in love, get married, become a parent, get my own place, buy a new car. I don’t know if I’m going to lose friends, make friends, gain a larger family or lose loved ones. I don’t know if I’m still going to be living in Montreal, in Canada, in North America, or if I’m going to be living at all.
While that might sound morbid, it’s just the reality of life; you truly can never know when your last day living is. While it may not be so simple to say that you should make every day the best day ever in case you don’t see tomorrow, it’s best to just live everyday. Work hard for what you want short term in case you don’t make it to be 27, but also work for what you want in the case you make it to 93. Be kind to people and to yourself. Don’t be afraid of telling and showing people how you feel because you never know when the last time you’ll be able to do that is.
I don’t know anything about the upcoming year and the rest of the decade and there’s no point in stressing about it because you just can’t know. No matter how much you plan, life has a funny way of throwing you curveballs that can completely change your life, for better or for worse.
So, If you’re stressed about the year 2020, or the new decade ahead of us, look back to the last 11 months and 10 days and see what you’ve accomplished; look back at the last 10 years of your life and see how much you’ve grown. You’ve accomplished more than you realize and more than you give yourself credit for. Life is hard, and even if you think you’ve accomplished nothing, just being alive and being able to read this says a lot about you and what you’ve done with your life.
May 2020 and the next decade bring you more achievements, adventure, moments of self-realization, happiness, pain, love and loss. Most importantly, I hope it brings you the satisfaction of getting through one more year, one after another. And if no one’s told you recently, I’m proud of you, you’re doing amazing, and you got this.
Graphic by @sundaeghost