Ten Year Challenge

Ten Year Challenge
​I am guessing if you are on any social media platforms, then you have heard about the trending Ten Year Challenge. People are posting pictures of themselves to see how they have aged over the past ten years. I am not sure why it became popular in 2019 and not 2020
(I mean, wouldn’t it make more sense to go from 10 to 20? Or is that just my OCD kicking in?). I didn’t partake in the challenge except to post a picture of George as a kitten and then him as an adult laying the same position. It may have broken the internet with its cuteness! 
However, the challenge did get me thinking about the past ten years of my life and what has changed. Damn, a lot has changed! Even more so, my thinking and mindset is completely different.  I took to my list making (trigger OCD again 🙂), and this is what I found has changed over the past ten years:

  • I married Steve, and will celebrate our ten year anniversary this May
  • We said goodbye to Steve’s mom, Kathy
  • We said goodbye to my grandmother, Billie
  • I moved from Maryland to Massachusetts to Texas to Oregon to Washington
  • I have lived in 6 different homes – four apartments and two houses
  • We have had six cars over the past ten years
  • I filed for bankruptcy in 2009 (something that I have never publicly announced) and learned full financial responsibility from it
  • We have welcomed and then said goodbye to Raven(hamster), Sam(hamster), Oreo (hamster), and Sterling (mouse)
  • We welcomed Cesar – our fostered turned adopted guinea pig, and also fostered 15 other guinea pigs
  • We welcome our newest kitty, Bella, into our home
  • We said goodbye to our longtime kitty companion, Sunshine
  • We recently adopted two baby mice from the Oregon Humane Society, Flax and Pumpkin
  • I’ve been with my current company for ten years this year (this August)
  • We became vegetarians
  • We then became vegans
  • We started and finished a master’s degree program in Humane Education, me earning a Master of Arts in Humane Education and Steve earning a Master of Education in HUED
  • I blogged a book for my thesis
  • I realized that my desire for writing is my future path
  • We became more aware of our values and started living with those values always at the center of our actions
  • I took back my health (learning about emotional eating, movement, and mental health)
  • I learned about Health at Every Size
  • I learned that I have generalized anxiety disorder
  • I suffered a major panic attack after flying (more so from the fear of flying) from Texas to New York City that landed me in the ER, because I didn’t understand what was happening
  • I completed a fear of flying course (I highly recommend the program – SOAR)
  • I learned the importance of mindfulness and meditation 
  • I became a certified vegan lifestyle coach
  • I earned a certificate after completing the Professional Plant-based Culinary course and the Essential Vegan Dessert course through Rouxbe Online Culinary School
  • I honed my cooking skills
  • I now teach cooking classes
  • I became a more avid photographer, a birder, and a nature enthusiast
  • I started this blog
  • I started my business, VegfulLife
  • And many, many more events that will come to me as I continue to think about this post in the coming weeks…

It is interesting to look back at all of the events now, and see that they were each a stepping stone and a building block. I didn’t realize that as they events were happening. Of course, there were a few direct, intentional changes I made to myself and my life over the years – becoming a vegetarian, becoming a vegan, and moving as many times as we did. I can look back and see very distinct changes in me as a person right before and right after each move. Most of the changes on the list happened organically. One thing changed, which lead to other change, and then another. It is neat to be able to recognize when things changed and later became a habit, which freed up space for more changes. However, all of these experiences lead to the most significant difference – my mindset and the way I view the world. I now look at products as raw materials and the process they go through to become what we use, I see food as the living, sentient being it once was or try to understand who grew the food and if they were treated fairly, I try to look at humans with all of their past experiences combined to get a better understanding of them as a person, and I see my place in the world differently.
​I now understand the way I think, the way I spend money, the food I eat, the work that I do, and messages I tell others impacts all beings and the planet. In one way it makes me feel very empowered, and is encouraging to know that I have the opportunity to make a difference, and in the same breath it makes me feel very small and overwhelmed. I do know that all of the events, big and small, over the past ten years have set me up to be able to handle the events and challenges that await me in the ten years to come.

And in case you were wondering, here is how I have changed physically over the past ten years. I think I have handled ten years of experiences and aging pretty well!


2008 2018

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