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?