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10-Year-Age-Challenge: More Than Just a Few Wrinkles

Not much has changed... except everything.

photo credit: rockee

A new fad has taken over social media and contrary to what most people believe, it’s not as annoying as a redundant, pointless, and often dry-humored meme.

People are suddenly sharing their photos from 10 years ago in comparison to how they look now to recognize how much they’ve changed, mostly physically. For a lot of folks, though, it’s about spiritual, mental, and emotional growth. People are starting to reflect on how much they have learned or wised up over the last decade.

For some, the changes they have encountered reign true. For others, not so much.

How many times have you scrolled past a post only to realize that that person is full of complete scheibe?

The problem is that we’re only seeing one of many layers that that person is unveiling before us… which is why I learned not to be too quick to post judgment. I’ve succumbed to the challenge myself and coined one lyric from an early 2000s song that most millennials are familiar with.

At first, it was meant to be funny and fun, a blast-from-the-past throwback. Kind of like one of those things that you eventually give into just because everybody else is posting their embarrassing, pre-puberty selfies. Why not join in on the bandwagon?

As days passed, I started to really embrace the meaning of the last 10 years; so much loss, so much heartache, so much academic and financial challenge, and then finally... reaching a plateau where things are kind of alright.

Ten years ago seems like yesterday due to vivid memories that are constantly with me. Personally, the last decade has taught me a lot about myself. I have learned to appreciate and acknowledge my tenacity as an immigrant, bisexual, multilingual, and disabled individual. I distinctly recall so many times post-treatment how I had wished I was someone else, lived in a different reality in which all the physical obstacles weren’t my problem. Now, though, I could not have been prouder for those obstacles because not only have they shaped me into the individual that I am today, but I’m beginning to realize that my level of empathy and understanding has helped me in my professional development as well.

Here is a small list of POSITIVE things that have happened during the last decade:

  • Graduated with honors from junior high, high school, and undergraduate school henceforth earning my Bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communications
  • Graduated from college debt free after juggling three different jobs
  • Became certified in two languages; Polish and English to facilitate in professional translations/interpretations
  • Learned how to speak Spanish proficiently both in a business and colloquial setting
  • Visited 25 states—basically granting me the bragging rights to say that I have now seen 50 percent of the continental United States
  • Moved to my own bachelorette pad in downtown Chicago
  • Acquired a new furry family member, Merci, who is a doxen/pug mix
  • Passed my IELTS—General Training which helps in immigrating to other English speaking countries or professionally teaching students online
  • Learned my body and how to safely, but efficiently work out
  • Learned how to run on the treadmill despite my physical limitations

It’s been a rough, bumpy road. I refuse to dwell on the negatives, even though certain negative experiences and circumstances tend to sneak up on me like Chicago’s wind on a still-summer night out.

Things are moving forward.

We’re healing. We’re learning. We’re evolving into the people we are meant to be. I wonder what the next 10 years will bring?

Read next: Insecurities
Paulina Pachel
Paulina Pachel

Contrary to popular belief, my first name is not pronounced PAH-LAYNA. I am an intricate mix of flavors and you'll get a taste of them through my writing pieces; versatility and vulnerability go together like a fresh-baked croissant+coffee.

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10-Year-Age-Challenge: More Than Just a Few Wrinkles
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