Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking Back on a Decade of Change -- and, I Dare Say, Character Definition

In some ways I wanted all along and in some ways I never even saw coming, the past ten years have been the years that will define me. This decade saw me through a failed middle school attempt at popularity; a national tragedy; the death of a close friend; red hair dye and arm warmers; my first kiss; a summer on my own in Alaska; my discovery of the publishing world; a definitive week at writers’ camp; my first job; Shakespeare, Kesey and Stoppard; a growing social conscience; AP tests, SATs and college applications; close friendships and moments that tested them; declaring my major and deciding on a career; first love; first heartbreak; Fitzgerald, Flannery O'Connor and Toni Morrison; a semester of traveling in England and Europe; hurting and healing and finally finding myself all over again; graduating from college; moving to a new city without a single friend; meeting and learning from people whose backgrounds and beliefs and classes and cultures are totally different from mine; two fantastic publishing internships; Philip Pullman, J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins and Meg Rosoff; struggling and job searching and forging a new life for myself -- it was the stuff of a young adult novel, the roots and branches of my own coming-of-age story.

And it seems fitting that, after a decade in which I experienced my young life to the fullest and grew (often painfully and often wonderfully) to adulthood, I’ll be kicking off the next decade with yet another step towards the future I started to dream of at the very beginning of this one. I’ve just moved back to Baltimore, and next week I’ll be starting what I hope is a long career in publishing as an Editorial Assistant at a publishing company down here.

Like any great story, this decade has made me laugh and made me cry, and it constantly challenged me to redefine myself and my values, to learn from and to love those around me, to adapt to change, to grow through struggle and, most of all, to always hang on to hope.

That’s what I’m taking into this new decade. What about you -- what are your stories of the last decade?


  1. I loved the decade wrap up and the writing was honestly beautiful and heartfelt! Thanks for sharing and congrats on the new position!!!! I can hardly wait to see what the future holds for you!

    Wow - my stories of the last decade? Let's see. Much the same. In short - survived high school, went on to survive and thrive in college, made some lifelong friends, found love, survived a war in Iraq with said love, lost it when he came home, went through the darkest period of my life, changed jobs three to four times, found new love, had my first child, moved and finally found the courage to attempt to further my writing career. A good ten years but the next ten will no doubt put them to shame.


  2. Thanks for the kind words, Kristi, and for sharing your story. That sounds like one epic adventure! Congratulations on your child, your writing and your optimism.

  3. Seriously, Rachel, some days I feel the optimism is a curse!!! I can't help myself! :-)