What Has The Last Decade Meant To You?

The reactions to the passing of time is as different as there are people. As we move from the decade of the 2010s and into the 2020s, consider what it has meant to you.

A lot can happen in 10 years. While there have undoubtedly been highs and lows, joys and sorrows, is there a lesson you can take from the decade as a whole?

Certainly a lot happened on a global or international scale. From the global economic slowdown to start of the 2010s, to the growing environmental crisis, it is obvious the world is increasingly interconnected. And increasingly threatened.

And yet, on an individual level the story may differ, perhaps even drastically. Moreover, trying times can often trigger personal growth. While the world may have struggled in the last 10 years, the lesson we take from that struggle may well be hopeful.

How would you write the story of the last 10 years? Would it be positive or negative? How might that impact the next 10 years? What has the last decade meant to you?

Related questions: What is the best of the decade? Who is your MVP for the year? What is time? How have you changed? What is your five year prediction? Ten?

1 thought on “What Has The Last Decade Meant To You?”

  1. My word for the past decade has been “hope.” Not some wishy-washy version of the word, but an active embrace of it, using hope to guide my actions, even when active hope is hard.

    Let me begin with the part of my life that is the most positively grounded: my home life, my life with Rebecca. I often say that my life at home is the most positively boring life there is (at least to the outside world). Over the years, Rebecca and I have built a household and a love made possible by embracing positive habits that reinforce the private lives we live together. We have things and experiences we want. We build habits that will, at some point, make those things and experiences possible. And then, sometime in the future, those things and experiences happen (e.g., the household and house that we want to live in, the travels we hope to take, and the people we want to be for ourselves and each other). Boring may be the wrong word to use for this type of life. So let me just say that we jointly decide on the future we hope to build for us; we then make a plan for it to be possible, and then (barring some massive outside curveball) it happens.

    For my work life as a social justice advocate, I know we can end mass homelessness. Or, as we say in the field, we know we can make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring. I actively hope that we can make it happen. Did you know that in Minnesota we have nearly 180,000 extremely low-income households, but only 68,000 homes that are affordable and available to them? That leaves a gap of around 112,000 homes. To me, this is a math problem. Build homes or subsidize households so they and afford more of the existing housing stock. And, when needed, provide supports for those who need it to maintain their housing. My career has been defined by this active hope for an end to homelessness. I have embraced a joyful advocacy life, knowing we can accomplish this, and I will play a role in making it happen.

    Another place for my active hope is that we live on a beautiful world. It’s a world that for humans is quickly, because of climate change, becoming uninhabitable. Over the past decade, we have made this grim possibility closer to reality. There is no other choice we have; we must actively embrace the hope that we can mitigate the situation. More and more, scientists tell us that reversal of the current situation looks impossible. But we can stop things to be where they are. And so, I have done multiple things to make this hope for a world with us living on it possible.

    First, I am an heirloom gardener. I believe current food production practices are unsustainable. My garden serves as an example to me and to those who want to know something about it, that different production practices are possible. And beautiful. Second, as anyone who follows my Facebook feed knows, I try to take beautiful pictures of my veggies (food for Rebecca and me) and flowers (food for the pollinators). Honestly, if you want to grow food like this, I will help you learn how. It is part of my active hope. Third, I support organizations fighting for a more sustainable world.

    I am also a blogger. I write about the world I actively hope for. Whether it was for prior blogs (e.g., Speak for We’s promotion of a just world, Dissident Potato’s writing about my gardening habit, or Squish and Mr. Fender’s embrace of my imagination) or current blogs (i.e., Prone to Hope’s writing about how to live life while struggling with Anxiety and Depression or Intellectual Roundtable’s hope for introspection and civil conversations), I want to share with the world what drives me personally to embrace the type of hope I have.

    As many of you know, while I’ve been anxious and depressed for a huge part of my life (and for many years I’ve been very open about this fact), I fell into it deep four years ago. I don’t know how I built up the energy or courage to begin blogging about it. But I used my active hope to write frequently about what I was feeling and how I wanted to be there for others living with these illnesses. Many people have privately approached me to say that my wish had become true; I was/am helping people not feel so alone in their struggles and know that treatment (i.e., through medication and talk therapy) can help you return to a more positive and stable life. I am so incredibly thankful for those who’ve told me that my wish had become real.

    Active hope. That is what the past decade has meant and solidified for me.

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