Goodbye 2010s

Personal

It appears some time has elapsed since I last posted. Seeing as it is the beginning of the last day of the current decade, the 2010s, I will share some thoughts on what has happened from my perspective, as well as what I have learned over the last 10 years, both about the world and myself.

Firstly, it is fair to say that life has dealt its cards in a way that has brazened me to the often cruel nature of the world. Before I elaborate, let me assure you, the reader, that the following post is not a sob story. There is, naturally, a great deal of sadness, for life would not be what it is without a sprinkle of that emotion here and there. However, there is also much to be cheerful about and to celebrate, if not be grateful for. So please, should you find this of interest, read on.

I began this decade aged 13. I was at secondary school, full of curiosity and learning about the world, which – at the time – seemed ever so full of unbridled promise. Simultaneously, there was my burgeoning sexuality, which I explored in my own time, and with certain other males. This was, of course, something I would keep under wraps for another 5 years from the majority of my peers. It would only be when I turned 18 and fell in love with a guy from Hong Kong that I was ready to make this fact about myself known to the world. Unfortunately, he broke my heart and betrayed me, but at least I no longer had to hide who I was.

It is funny, I think, how so many great events can take place within the space of 10 years, yet all the while we each live our own lives with the odd trivial event making a short appearance on our news feed, or completely affecting the course of our futures. All the while, life continues with seeming indifference.

Perhaps the most effective way of gauging what this decade has done for me, specifically, is to decipher what it is I have learned from it. For one, I have learned to approach almost everything with a critical eye. Simply put, I have become much more analytical. Prior to metamorphosing from a hedonistic adolescent with, admittedly, some degree of sensitivity, to the pretentious, philosophical hipster most of you find yourself acquainted with today, I didn’t much care for the topics you’ll find me constantly ranting about. I owe much of this to my teachers over the years, as well as my loved ones who’ve imparted much wisdom. All these people have taught me the importance of reason and critical thinking and I would like to take this opportunity to thank those people. Sure, some may argue I always had an innate curiosity about me, but it is the people I’ve learned from who have enabled me to refine this skill.

As far as things learned goes, I think it is also important to note that I have learned to be generous and loving to those I deem to be worthy of my capacity for compassion and friendship. Equally, I have learned the hard way that not everyone is deserving of these things. I have had people in my life who I thought were friends, who either turned out to be disingenuous or, frankly, were too shallow to care. In time, I have learned who my real friends are and to steer clear of people I believe to be toxic.

Following the last point, I have also learned to trust my instincts more. Sometimes we get hunches about people that, all too often, we simply ignore. Nonetheless, I would argue from experience that sometimes these hunches are telling us something important. Enough said.

Whilst reflecting on my life so far, as well as the decade which is drawing to a close, I have also taken the liberty to name the 10 types of people I dislike the most. It’s a very political list and by no means all-encompassing of all the people I dislike, but I certainly find it amusing and reflective of the kind of person I am. So, in a particular order:

People I Dislike:

  1. Fascists
  2. Racists
  3. Homophobes
  4. Misogynists
  5. Misandrists
  6. Fundamentalists
  7. (Most) Politicians
  8. Shallow people
  9. Unkind people
  10. SJWs (or, for the less well-versed in contemporary culture, Social Justice Warriors, just because they’re annoying and, in most cases, sanctimonious)

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let us get back to life! Life is not without its difficulties, but before we embark on those, I would like to mention a few other things that have made me grateful to be alive, and which I hope to take into the next decade and beyond.

Things I Am Grateful For

  1. My family
  2. My partner
  3. My friends
  4. My faith
  5. My health
  6. My successes
  7. My failures
  8. My experiences
  9. My freedom
  10. (And last, but not least…) My dog

Now that I have talked about the good things in my life, of which there are many that I will always be grateful for, I want to take a moment to get real about some of the challenges this decade has brought. For much of the decade, I worked hard and sought success in all areas of my life. Some of you may see me as a very positive and happy person. Whilst I would certainly say this is true as I write this, it certainly isn’t, nor has it always been, that way.

At the age of 20, I was hospitalised. After a whole year of heartbreak as I tried to heal from a broken relationship that kept coming back to bite and, as if that wasn’t enough, a whole summer working a minimum wage job for an abusive boss, I thought it was my circumstances that were making me depressed. I went to a doctor, who put me on antidepressants and within a week or two, I was manic. A diagnosis of bipolar disorder followed and I spent half a month in hospital. That was a lonely time and it has taken several years of treatment for me to become completely stable again. Thankfully, I have a very good psychiatrist who has put me on the right track. I couldn’t have done it without all the loved ones in my life who have supported me. You all know who you are.

I realise this may come across as self-indulgent, so I won’t say any more about my problems, but what was just described has definitely been the biggest challenge for me in this decade. There were times when I thought I would bring my life to a close, but I’m glad I lived to see the sun shine another day. Nothing beats a day, be it hot or cold, when the sun shines and there is a cloudless sky. Things like that have, and – so long as I live – will always continue to make me feel alive.

I wish all of you a happy new year and look forward to seeing you in 2020!