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A New Decade Begins – Hello, 2020! Let’s Embrace the New while Staying Wise of the Past

By Elizabeth Dunkel December 01, 2019 Mindset

Have you considered that our upcoming new year is 2020? It has quite literally snuck up on us! We are entering a new decade.

Remember when it turned 2000? Can you believe that it’s now 20 years later? Wow!

This is not just another “New Year.”

Now. Is. A. Good. Time. For. A. Significant. Pause. Let me tell you why.

Looking Back So You Can Look Ahead with Joy and Energy

We tend to bunch everything together in “the past.” But looking back is an important way to live your best life and to prepare for the future. It helps you see themes, accomplishments, and challenges in your life.

Looking back creates gratitude for all you have done, which we always seem to take for granted. So, let’s take the time to systematically review your last two decades.

You Did All That From 2000–2010? Wow!

You’ll be so surprised when you review the decade of the 2000s. Sit down with a cup of tea or coffee. With the help of pen and paper, think about your years between 2000 and 2010.

What did you do? What happened to you? How would you characterize these years for you? You’ll be absolutely amazed when you ponder and make a list of what happened in your life during this time.

I Was Blown Away!

For me, as an older mother, these were the joyful and tumultuous years of graduating my kids from high school and their entry into college.

These years were filled with all the joys, challenges, and pressures of high school life and graduation, testing, essay writing, college applications and acceptances. Followed by tuition challenges. Did I mention I was exhausted?

As If This Were Not Enough!

This decade was also when both my parents passed away; all the care and the sorrow. Then I dealt with the dissolution of their estate, selling the family home and all that entails.

Oh! “And” I also got divorced! And, I built a house! All this whilst the stock market crashed! Ouf! Now that I look back, wow – what a decade! It is only by sitting down and really thinking about these years that I suddenly look back in amazement.

I bet your 2000–2010 decade is equally the same, filled with huge, important events. Make your list and appreciate yourself, celebrate yourself.

Now, What Happened to You 2011–2019?

How would you characterize for you, the years 2011–2019?

I thought I would be “free” with my kids in college… Not! This was the decade when my job was phased out, and I had to figure out how I would earn money until I arrived at official retirement age.  

I soul searched and went back to school to get CELTA certified by Cambridge University to teach ESL. I checked myself into a dorm and earned the certificate as the oldest student in class. I faced ageism when applying for teaching jobs, so I started my own tutoring business.

Meanwhile, mothering took on a new meaning when both my adult children faced significant mental health issues in the guise of serious depressions.

But wait, there’s more! After 10 years of living in the house I had built, which I thought was my forever retirement home, I realized I wanted – needed – to move away from the foreign country I was living in. I sold the house and moved back to the United States.

It’s so easy to say those words now, but the reality of pulling this off, was HUGE. In 2019, I began a new life as a single woman, knowing no one, in Chicago. Another WOW!

Take a Breath. Here Comes 2020!

Yes, dear friend, 2020 is our new year and new decade coming up. With all you have learned about your past, it’s time to look and dream on.

2020 seems like a portent. It’s a cool looking number, a beautifully round number. It’s not just another year; it’s a new decade and a new generation. We are out of our teens now, forever. Let’s give it some importance.

My Theme for My New Decade? Harmonious 2020! What’s Yours?

Let’s define our decade before it defines us. In the 1900s it was “The Roaring 20s.” The 30s were about the depression. The 40s: war. See how important decades are?

Considering everything you experienced and accomplished in the last two decades, decide what you want for the next one. I feel I was buffeted about by life events and milestones in the past. Now, it’s all about ME in my wise and elegant years.

I want to live in harmony. I want to live my authentic self. I want to feel free and simple. I want an uncomplicated, rich life, filled with art and culture. I want to travel easily and lightly with a carry on and merge with the world.

My Meditative New Year’s Eve 2020

Fortified with the knowledge and appreciation of my rich past two decades, I’m ready for 2020. I want to be joyful, not fearful. I want to be peaceful and inspirational, not agitated and worried.

I don’t know what exactly I’ll be doing on New Year’s Eve 2020, but as I think about my last two New Year’s Eves, I see how they both led to this one.

On New Year’s Eve 2018, I hosted a dinner party for my kids and friends, all of whom were leaving the town and country to move to new cities. I was the only one left behind. In 2019, my New Year’s eve was a pensive, at home evening, gathering strength for my own big move ahead.

Make Affirmations, Not Resolutions

I have no plans for New Year’s Eve usually, because I really don’t like it. I think it’s a false holiday. I prefer a quiet day with lots of meditation. If I’m home alone, I’ll cook something lovely for me, like silky scrambled eggs topped with sour cream and caviar.

I’ll make a lovely mocktail with sparkling water and fruit. I’ll light candles all around the flat and watch the city celebrate outside my windows. Maybe I’ll stay up all night and read a very good book and go out for a bracing, fresh walk on New Year’s Day.

I do know that making friends in 2020 will be my goal. We are always creating a new life aren’t we, even if we’re in the same place. I want to write a new book. I want to travel. I want to take my health back into my own hands.

All good things. Reading, eating, loving and laughing, knitting and walking. Life is short and precious, my dear friends. Godspeed into our new decade!

Dear Sisters! Do share your observations about your amazing past two decades and any affirmations for the one ahead. I just know you will embrace yourselves all the harder when you take a good look back. What are your affirmations for a beautiful new decade of precious life? Let’s chat!

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The Author

Elizabeth Dunkel is a writer and novelist who recently moved back to the U.S. after living in Merida, Mexico for 25 years. Elizabeth is the proud founder of the Merida English Library. As a Cambridge CELTA certified teacher of ESL, she considers herself not just a teacher but a dream maker. “Teaching English empowers people to reach their dreams.”

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