If you are even a minor participant in the social media universe, you have probably seen the recent #10YearChallenge trend going around where people post one photo of themselves from 2009 and one from 2019 to see how much they have changed.
I have not participated, both out of pure laziness and the fact that I have looked exactly the same since birth. If you think I’m being dramatic, please refer to the woman who recently recognized me from Kindergarten because I “look exactly the same!”
While my face may look the same however, there is still a lot that has changed. And so in order to slightly participate, I thought I’d look at the non-physical changes that 10 years has brought me.
1) Living on my Own
While still living with my parents 10 years ago, I assumed moving out would be just like Friends—we all thought that, right? And since I commuted to college classes from home, I didn’t have any reason to believe it would be anything otherwise. A few years later however, I would study abroad in Australia for five months and I’d learn a lot about living away from home, namely that it can be just like Friends—minus the huge apartment in New York for dirt cheap rent thing—if you live with the right people. Today I live with two great roommates whom I love and adore, and though I might be bias, I firmly believe we’d make a great cast of our own sitcom.
2) Paying Rent
Ahh yes, the only downside of living on your own are all the bills that come with it. 10 years ago I was spending all of my money on concerts, dessert, and shoes that I was probably never going to wear but thought I should buy just in case. Today I have student loan payments, bills and rent due every month. I’ve learned how to manage my money and don’t make nearly as many impulse shoe purchases, though I never say no to a good dessert splurge.
If you followed any of my 1000-mile running journey last year, you might know that for most of my life I was not a runner. I was thoroughly convinced that I didn’t have the lung capacity to do it, when in reality I just didn’t have the patience or motivation to actually give it a fair shot. Today I am in my fourth month of training for the LA marathon—a sentence that is slightly jarring to write—and I consider running to be one of my favorite kinds of exercise.
Ten years ago, I was very much afraid of cooking. Growing up, I had a series of mishaps in the kitchen and so I buried my fear of continued failure underneath a solid layer of self-deprecation. I was constantly bringing up the time I set the oven mitt on fire on Thanksgiving, telling people I couldn’t be trusted in the kitchen. After I moved out on my own however, I had to learn how to cook because I like eating and the survival benefits that come with it. Today I cook myself dinner almost every single night and I even have a series on my blog where I share cooking tips and recipes I’ve been loving recently.
5) Blow-Drying My Hair
19 year old me would be SHOCKED to find out that 28 year old me not only owns a blow dryer, but also uses it on a daily basis. I’ve always had thick, brown hair that has a mind of its own, and until I cut 13 inches off about three years ago, I always let it air dry with a little bit of mousse, before eventually braiding it or putting it up in a bun. Today I almost always blow-dry my hair and I even—dare I say it—like how it looks. Oh, 19-year-old Kim, we could have never imagined such a hair-acle. (Hair miracle. I’m making it a thing.)
If I were to venture a guess, I’d say I probably read about three books in 2009 and that’s a high estimate. Growing up, I hated reading books, especially those assigned in school. These days I am always reading a book, usually more than one at a time, and I even made it a goal of mine before I turn 30 to read every book on Time’s list of the 100 greatest books of all time—which are essentially all the school assigned books I avoided back then. Go figure.
7) Going it Alone
While I’ve always been a shy person, I used to blatantly hide out from the world behind friends, family, television and movies. I would never even think about trying something new if I didn’t have someone by my side at all times. Today I go to museums on my own, I see movies on my own, I volunteer on my own. In general, I’ve realized that I am fully capable of taking on the world on my own. That doesn’t mean I don’t like having friends and family by my side, but that I feel confident either way.
While it doesn’t feel like I’ve been blogging for ten years, it’s weird to think of a time before my blog. I mean, where was I putting all of those thoughts that were running around my head? They’ve always been there, so what the heck was I doing with them back then?!
9) Getting Published
In 2009, I was just starting to realize that writing felt good, but I didn’t have any plans to show my work to other people, let alone submit it for publication. As of today however, I have been published almost 20 times, both online and in print, and have been paid for my writing.
10) Being Myself
When I look back at photos and videos of me in 2009, I can almost feel how uncomfortable I was in my own skin. Sure, I was just out of high school with absolutely nothing figured out, as we all are, but the insecurities are almost palpable. That’s not to say I won’t feel the exact same way in ten years when I look back at my 2019 self and all the insecurities she’s desperately trying to hide, but I can confidently say that I’ve come a long way. In the past 10 years I’ve learned A LOT about myself and how I fit into the world and I can only hope I keep learning as the years go on.
I think the most important thing we can all take away from the 10 Year Challenge, whether you participate or not, is that we are still here. Each day, each year we are changing and learning and trying our best, and all that matters is that we keep trying our best.
A lot can happen in 10 years. Let’s hope we all have (at least) ten more.