Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

There Are Ten Weeks Left in the Decade

Ok, there are ten weeks and five days left in the decade, but you know those last few days of the year after Christmas are sort of throw-away days, so for all intents and purposes there are ten weeks left in this decade. What are you going to do with your time? Anything on your 2010s bucket list you want to try to cross off before the end of December?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the past ten years and what I want to leave behind and what I want to bring with me into the next decade. I love time-markers – anniversaries and special dates – by which I can measure change and growth, and the end of a decade is no different. This decade was a really big one for me – it probably was for you, too. Ten years ago Drew and I were newlyweds still living in his bachelor pad in Manhattan. A few months into 2010, we moved to Brooklyn — to the same neighborhood where we still live. By the end of the year, the website I was working for – where many of you discovered my Dear Wendy column — was being sold and I was—-along with the rest of the staff — essentially laid off (two weeks before Christmas, ugh). Drew and I had been talking about having a baby, and I knew that I wanted to stay home with the baby if possible and that, with my – let’s face it — pretty limited skills, moving my column to its very own site and figuring out a way to monetize it — at least enough so that I could continue staying home — would be my best bet to make that happen. Being laid off gave me the nudge I needed to make the jump, and in January, 2011, this site was born. I also got pregnant at the same time and nine months later, Jackson was born.

If you’ve been reading my site since then – or if you’ve caught up over the months or years you’ve been a reader — you know most of the rest of the story of my decade. A few years after Jackson was born, I had Joanie. A few months after that, my father-in-law died. A couple years later, we bought a place in our neighborhood and became first-time homeowners (and landlords – we rent out a tiny store front on our ground floor as well as our backyard to another tenant). And in the past year, I lost my last living grandparent, my beloved 19-year-old cat, and a very close and longtime friend, and my Joanie just started full-time public school (which means, after eight years of having a kid by my side basically around the clock, I have 35 hours a week to myself – amen!). In the midst of all of that have been lots of other big and small milestones, too: health scares and diagnoses; some travel; my parents retired and moved back to the states after 40+ years abroad; I turned 40; friends got married and divorced; we elected a monster to the highest office in the free world. You know – the usual.

And now, here we are: on the brink of a new decade – one in which there will be more losses, I’m sure, and hopefully more dreams fulfilled. If I’m lucky, I’ll turn fifty (as will my husband and most of my friends). At the end of the next decade I’ll have a kid in college and another in high school, and I’ll be thinking about empty-nesting. It seems crazy to consider it – like it’s all off so far in the future, but then, the past decade flew by so why wouldn’t the next one go by even faster? I think it probably will. And so, I’m considering it: I’m considering what lessons I want to bring from this past decade into the next and what I hope to accomplish over the next ten years.

I’m also thinking about this site and my plans for it. I hope that this space continues to be a place where people can share their struggles and get help, advice, commiseration, inspiration, and maybe sometimes a kick in the butt when needed. As my own interests expand and shift, so does my relationship to this space. I am open to suggestions for what you’d like to see — more or less of — here. You may have noticed I’m answering fewer letters on a weekly basis and that’s mostly due in part to receiving fewer letters that move me to respond. How should I fill the space when I don’t have a letter that I feel called to answer? Do you feel satisfied having just the message board on those days, or is there some other kind of content you’d love to see? What features that I’ve posted less frequently do you miss (if any)?

There are ten weeks left in this decade. What’s been your personal story of the past ten years, and what kinds of plans and hopes and fears do you have for the next ten?

35 comments… add one
  • CurlyQue

    CurlyQue October 17, 2019, 11:15 am

    Your Alphabet series is something i always enjoyed reading!

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  • MaterialsGirl

    MaterialsGirl October 17, 2019, 12:39 pm

    Also love your Alphabet series, Wendy! Anytime you’re able to publish an essay of your own writing or one that moves you makes for a great read and discussion. What is it you want from the site? To move others to think? To have space for a slowly-built collection of your own work (which might be useful to publish at a later date?). For me, I come to the site because it brings all sorts of people together to discuss life and the connections we have. In times like these with polarizing political figures and general misbehavior, I think it’s all the more important to find commonality. Express empathy. I care about the stories of AP, Wendy, Spacey, Kate, veritek, CQ, ktfran, and all the others (sorry if I didn’t name you!).
    The end of the decade: wow had not thought AT ALL about this happening. What decade it has been! Married, divorced, found myself, remarried, baby: ME! Happy! The next will hopefully bring a second child to our family and see us into elementary school. Getting older is a known. I wonder where our travels will take us

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    Allornone October 17, 2019, 12:49 pm

    This decade has been good to me. The past year, I’ve had some struggles, but nothing that can’t be survived. At the start of the decade, I was working a dead-end retail job at a bookstore. Though I loved what we sold and my coworkers, I couldn’t afford to live on my own. I had been chronically single with the only hint of romance was an on-again-off-again “relationship” (really, FWB) with a guy that I let treat me like crap. Then, in 2011, my bookstore closed. I started work at another bookstore where I met my fella. Three years later, we were dating (no rushing into workplace romances). I had also started grad school a little before then to better my financial lot in life. That worked- around 2015, I graduated and a year after that, I got my first job writing grants for a non-profit. My fella and I moved in together about that time. Then, earlier this year, I got a better grant writing position that pays me $15,000 more than I was making before and is a WAY less toxic space. Plus, my fella finally realized that a bookstore job was not sustaining (even with his freelance IT work), and got a job at Comcast where he’s thriving. We’re actually middle-class! And finally, this summer, after realizing we won’t be having children and fur-babies are where it’s at, we got a cat! A dog will soon follow, but we need to change apartments first.

    Wow. That makes me happy to write out. Thank you, Wendy. I was feeling kind of low today, and this reflecting really helped.

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    scorpio October 17, 2019, 1:09 pm

    I love this conversation. I am not at all where I thought I would be 10 years ago to be honest, but life is pretty good.
    In 2010 I was in a relationship with the person I thought I would marry and start a family within the next couple of years, and working in tech and figuring that is where I would be for the foreseeable future.
    Fast forward, and that relationship pretty much imploded, I was single for a couple years while I reassessed what my own goals and sense of self was, got in the best shape of my adult life and started travelling much more again.
    I ended up getting laid off from my tech job, and landed a new one pretty quickly in a not-for-profit. The pay isn’t as much as I would make in the private sector, but I am comfortable and I love that I feel like I am giving back. I went through another relationship that I had high hopes for, but ultimately our life goals, values and lifestyle just didn’t align.
    Now I am in a relationship with an awesome guy, whose values, goals and lifestyle align so much more with mine. With him comes three awesome kids, I said I would never date anyone with kids, but I love these kids and they have a great co-parenting relationship.
    We are at the stage where we are determining what the future holds for us, going over all the things we need to discuss before we take the steps of combining our lives and moving in together. If things work out with him the next 10 years will see most of the kids out of high school, lots of travel, moving to a preferred neighbourhood for both of us that will allow us to depend much less on vehicles and more on transit, biking and walking, and hopefully I will continue in the not-for-profit sector.
    If things don’t work out, I think most of those things will still happen, minus the relationship and the kids, but it still looks pretty exciting to me!

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      scorpio October 17, 2019, 1:12 pm

      Oh, and I agree that I love any of the essay’s you publish. They always provide great discussion.

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    Ange October 17, 2019, 3:39 pm

    10 years ago I was moving towards 30, just as I’ll be moving towards 40 next year. I was single, starting a good job in the arena I’m still working in and living with a friend in the city I thought would be my home forever. Shit changed obviously! I’d be lying if I said I was looking forward to 40, especially since I only turned 39 a couple of days ago but I’m feeling a sense of content I’m sure I didn’t have at 30. Plus there’s that trip to Hawaii I booked next year so yay for that 😁

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  • Copa

    Copa October 17, 2019, 5:10 pm

    I went from early 20s to early 30s this past decade, so a LOT has changed. This time a decade ago, I was majorly unhappy in law school working hard toward something I didn’t want. That unhappiness was compounded by some pretty significant family drama and not realizing my relationship with my first long-term boyfriend had run its course… 2011 Copa in particular was a mess when that relationship ended while I was unemployed, living at home, and professionally lost. But 2012 saw an upswing with a new job, a promotion, and a new boyfriend. That relationship didn’t last, and ended badly, but my career picked up as I dealt with that sadness. Professionally things have been mostly upward trending since then, which I’m very proud of. I spent over four years single before meeting my current boyfriend, and learned so much about myself during that time. So even though I’d get frustrated that none of the guys I met seemed to be the right fit, I think I went through what I needed to go to. I think this guy is it for me, which still scares me a bit if I’m being honest. I don’t know what the next 10 years will look like, but I hope it includes marriage, travel, more professional growth, deeper connections with friends, and hopefully less existential anxiety than my early/mid-20s.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark October 18, 2019, 3:34 am

    Eh… The only thing that can possibly redeem this truly awful decade would be Trump’s funeral.

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      Kate October 18, 2019, 5:15 am

      That’s what I was going to say.

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        anonymousse October 18, 2019, 10:20 am

        This might sound morbid, but every morning when I look at the headlines I hope to read that one.

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        Allornone October 18, 2019, 10:38 am

        That’s not morbid. It would be a service to humanity.

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        Vathena October 18, 2019, 11:10 am

        No kidding. My husband and I both admit to checking the news multiple times per day, hoping to hear that he’s finally stroked out. The fact that Elijah Cummings died yesterday, while that bloated blowhard lives on, is more proof there’s no God.

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        Miss MJ October 18, 2019, 11:15 am

        This is exactly what I thought when I heard Elijah Cummings died. So fucking unfair that we lost someone who devoted his entire life to trying to improve the lives of others, and yet, Trump – who managed just yesterday to justify greenlighting Turkey to do ethnic cleansing of the Kurds as letting kids on the play ground “work it out” – will live to be 100, destroying everything he touches all the way.

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      Kate October 18, 2019, 11:09 am

      So my aunt who’s 75 or thereabouts and in a nursing home, says really matter-of-factly, “Why don’t the whackos just off him?” Or she’ll also say, you know, when he’s in jail in Riker’s or wherever, obviously someone will just “lock-in-a-sock” his ass like they did to Whitey Bulger. The guards will just be “sleeping” like with Jeffrey Epstein and someone will take him out.

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        Miss MJ October 18, 2019, 11:18 am

        I like your aunt’s style. Sadly, all the usual suspect wackos are on his side.

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        Allornone October 18, 2019, 11:20 am

        Ooooh. I never thought of that. If by some miracle that f*ucker he does spend any time in jail, someone is so gonna take him out. I hope it’s a Mexican who’s doing life and has nothing else to lose. Ah, the thought warms my heart…

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        Allornone October 18, 2019, 11:23 am

        actually, I take the Mexican thing back. That would only give the Trumpnuts more of an excuse to be racist farks. But still, I hope someone does it.

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        anonymousse October 18, 2019, 12:09 pm

        I also fantasize about federal authorities arresting him and putting him in jail with the endless list of high crimes he’s committed in hand. While Eric and Don’t Jr. and Ivanka wail in the background as they’re being escorted to general pop.

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        anonymousse October 18, 2019, 12:10 pm

        Ha, don’t Jr.

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        Bittergaymark October 18, 2019, 3:02 pm

        Sadly… Trump would have secret service protection. Even in prison.

        Frankly? It astounds me nobody has just killed that entire fucking family. Wipe them out. All of them. If there were truly any heroes left, it would have happened ages ago.

        Sigh…

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    csp October 18, 2019, 7:47 am

    So there are somethings that have changed a lot but a bunch of things that have stayed weirdly the same. Like I am married to the same guy, live in the same house, have the same job. If I am honest though, I do look back at a decade of continuous employment and go Where did all my money go?

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    000 October 18, 2019, 11:17 am

    I like this site because your advice often involves very blunt, come-to-Jesus statements. I enjoy this tone and the comments that tend to flow from it! One idea I’ve seen is to take advice that’s posted elsewhere and respond to the LWs differently. I suspect you’d get a lot of mileage out of, say, Dear Abby.

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    SpaceySteph October 18, 2019, 12:00 pm

    The title of this post gives me anxiety. I definitely feel like the last 10 years have flown by and how am I SO OLD?

    In 2010 I started dating my now-husband and bought my first house. We got married, we sold his house, we sold my house, we bought OUR house. I changed jobs (slightly). We had a kid. Now we’re expecting another. We don’t have any of the cars we started the decade with. I definitely don’t fit in any of the pants I started the decade with either.

    This decade was BIG. By the end of next decade, I’ll be about to have a teenager. Ack!

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      SpaceySteph October 18, 2019, 12:22 pm

      Thinking about it more, right before Christmas in 2009 is when my ex boyfriend dumped me. It set the tone for the entire decade but not the way I thought. I thought my dreams were dashed and my life was over. But while that life was definitely over, it opened up a totally different life and I love this one even more than the one I imagined with my ex.

      I guess if something big and dramatic happens this December for me or anyone else, I hope it turns out better than you imagined.

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  • Cleopatra_30

    Cleopatra_30 October 18, 2019, 12:01 pm

    Wow, just having that question posed really does make me think about what has happened in the last 10 years. I started my undergrad in 2010, graduated in 2015. Then started my career in early 2016 in a new province and city. Made lots of friends, had lots of great experiences, and learned a lot too. Most recently, having started grad school within the same decade is mind boggling to me. This included, again, moving to a new city and province. Lastly, having, what I envisioned as a fruitful, lasting relationship in 2017, and sadly ending it a month ago after moving to where I am now. A lot has happened, and being in my late 20’s I will have a lot happening again as I start into my 30’s with a grad degree, new career, new friendships, and hopefully new relationship.

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    anonymousse October 18, 2019, 12:43 pm

    Early 2010, I bought a house in OR with my bf of four years. We had moved across the country to OR together in January of 2009. Later on in 2010/early 2011, our relationship was on it’s way to being over. I moved out. I moved back in. I moved out again and we divvied up the house and pets for good. It’s crazy to think about how incredibly different my life was back then.

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    Peggy October 18, 2019, 12:58 pm

    Love all of the things offered on this site. Your advice Wendy,and all the comments and advice from others. The links are informative and I like all the political discussion when it comes up. It is all good!

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    Donna October 18, 2019, 1:24 pm

    Wow….I hadn’t really thought about it as the end of a decade. Let’s see….10 years ago, I was a hot mess of a mother to a two year old, lacking almost completely in self-confidence. At that time, I had been married almost 8 years to a guy I thought I was not going to be able to get away from fast enough (and feeling trapped with a two year old and no end in sight). I worked in a highly toxic environment that frequently brought me to tears, and a place I dreaded going into each and every day. Hmm…just to add frosting to the cake, my husband’s business had almost gone under the year before due to the wonderful recession of 2008. Looking back, my life pretty much sucked!

    Today, my daughter is 11 (the light of my life), and watching her grow up, along with growing up myself, made me see that I really didn’t want to run from my husband and my life. Gaining a ton of self-confidence and learning to use my voice helped tremendously with our relationship. I left that toxic job (after 15 years!!) and now I’m into Year 2 of a job I love. And our finances rebounded a little…although he incurred some business debt that he’s still paying off to this day, my husband has prided himself on never being late on a mortgage payment in the last 13 years, no matter where we stood financially. I’m much more confident and content with my life today. Each year since I turned 40 (4) has been better than the last. That’s a trend I hope will continue.

    FWIW, I love your letter posts.

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny October 18, 2019, 5:37 pm

    10 years ago I had turned 25 and started a quarterlife crisis! Haha. I recall just feeling really unsettled. I was single, had been dumped badly by a guy, and I mourned the end of that 2 month romance much longer than I should have. I was perpetually broke, paying too much rent but loving where I lived and doing my own thing in my big city. In hindsight I didn’t know what I wanted yet, out of life or my job or in a relationship. Since then, I took a lot of time for myself, dated a guy who was good for me at the time, but not good long term, ended that, almost moved away but instead moved back with my parents for 2 years, and decided couldn’t be bothered by men and instead did *ME* and traveled and worked out and focused on work and friends. Then moved out to live with my friend in the city, made my own space, tried dating. Wound up meeting my current bf the day after Christmas 2016. At this point, I’m comfortable with myself, know myself better, and put up with less BS than I did before. And am looking forward to making a future with the bf, renovating his house, making plans. So far (fingers crossed), so good. 😛

    Also Wendy, I love all of your personal posts. You’re such a good writer. 🙂

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy October 19, 2019, 9:56 am

    Thanks for your all comments -both about what you like from the site and how your lives have changed over the past decade!

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  • TheLadyE

    TheLadyE October 20, 2019, 12:25 pm

    Well – on Friday at 5pm I was let go from my job. I had been very unhappy there anyway, it was affecting my health (panic attacks, heart palpitations, etc) and things were not going in the way I wanted them to. It wasn’t a surprise, but it was sooner than I would have liked. I got severance. I’ll be ok. I kind of knew it was coming and have several things in the works.

    That said, in the last 10 weeks of this year I plan to:
    1. Find a new opportunity where my skills are appreciated.
    2. Get my second furchild – I already have her name and have some leads in the works for her, too. (She’ll be a little poodle or maltipoo like my girl Lottie was.)
    3. This already happened, but on Friday night I told my boyfriend I love him and he said it back to me! <3 It's the first time in my life a man has said he loves me.

    Damn, this decade, and this year especially, has been a roller coaster.

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      Kate October 20, 2019, 1:51 pm

      Oh man, sorry to hear that. I was laid off in 2017 and it was an emotional roller coaster. We all found new jobs though. Best case, you find one before severance runs out and bank the rest. Take care of yourself, you’ll have good days and bad ones. Could be a good time to get a new pup though!

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      • TheLadyE

        TheLadyE October 20, 2019, 5:19 pm

        Thank you! I honestly was already looking and have several opportunities in the works; I would have left as soon as I got another offer which should be within the next month if all goes to plan. Ironically an old coworker reached out a couple weeks ago and wants me to come work for her, so we just have to go through the formality of interviewing. I have a couple other lines in the water, too, just to be sure.

        I got 2 months of severance plus a quarterly bonus that was owed to me. What I’m hoping is that I can get my new little girl, spend a few weeks getting her acclimated, and then start at my new company. When life happens, it happens all at once!

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        ktfran October 20, 2019, 6:26 pm

        I’m sorry that happened LadyE. It sounds like you’re in a good place though and were ready for a change. I hope everything works out to your favor! Good luck and fingers crossed for you.

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      Ange October 20, 2019, 3:10 pm

      Damn LadyE that’s a few ups and downs all in a short time. I got made redundant from a job a few years back and while it’s a bit of a battering to the self esteem it sounds like it’ll be good for you in the long run. Good luck in the job hunt, hopefully something will pop up soon.

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