Each December ahead of the new year, at least for the last few Decembers (as Instagram became increasingly culturally significant), people around the globe (me included) excitedly share a collage post depicting their “top 9” (or “best 9”) Instagram photos of the year. It’s just a nice lil year-in-review, based on most liked photos but some people also end up creating their own curated Top 9 moments of the year too.
Now as we close out a decade and enter into an entirely new one, I thought instead of sharing just my Top 9 of 2019, I would share what I think are my Top 9 Moments of the entire last decade!
Obviously this is a fairly high level list, and maybe not the best list for someone with a generally bad memory to attempt (me, lol), but I think it accurately represents the biggest highlights of my life from 2010 to now.
It is kind of weird when you sit down and try to boil down your top “moments” out of ten whole years. What did you do or what happened in the last 3,000+ days that was significant? That’s a daunting question.
If there was a theme to be gleaned, the last decade was a very defining decade for my family and my career.
When I think about the most critical or life impacting moments of the decade, for me, it was all about experiences. Nothing is about a material purchase (as much as I love buying clothes. And as much as I love food and eating, it’s not like one particular meal defined my decade. Though nothing being materialistic may change in the next decade if we get a self driving Tesla, or a teleportation device. LOL talk to me in 2029).
I’ve lived three decades now, and this last one was my most “adult,” my most independent.
Like, I could go out on a weeknight if I wanted to this decade, LOL literally this was such a change from the decade before it, especially coming from a strict Asian household!
But really, it was fun to reflect on the last ten years, and wonder what will come in the next ten. It reinforced a lot of values and “what’s important in life” thoughts I already had, and it also shows you that really, whats good in life is often quite simple. Doing this list reminded me of some amazing moments that have happened over the decade and got me excited for what’s to come in the 2020s.
I encourage you to reflect on your decade too!
So without further ado, here is:
Lindork’s Top 9 Moments of the Decade (2010s)
1. A Decade of Mike and Linda
The 2010s saw Mike and I move in together (2010), get engaged (2011) and get married (2013). We grew our family and our home, and we grew as individuals and as partners. I can’t imagine life without Mike and life has not been without him for the last decade. I think every decade on will be a decade of Mike and Linda, but this was truly a formative decade for us, navigating adulthood, careers, ourselves and each other, together.
2. A Near-Decade of Thor
I’ve always loved animals and my family had a dog while I was growing up (Poppy, a sweetheart), but cats were never a part of my life until the 2010s, which some people today would find hard to believe. My love of cats is newfound as of the last decade.
This was almost as much a decade of Thor, my beautiful, ferocious, chonky first cat, than it was a decade of anything else. She came into our lives in 2011 and life was changed forever. I became a full-fledged and proud of it cat mom / cat lady after we got Thor, a farm kitten from rural Alberta. I joke (am I joking though? lol) that Thor is my first born. When I hear of cats living over the age of 20, I pray my Thor will get there too. I love her kisses (which I affectionately refer to as “sandpaper kisses”), her instant purrs, and her feisty, independent personality, which requires us to vie for her attention and fully appreciate when she gives it.
Thor and the next entry of this list, Loki, very much influenced another decade defining moment that I write more about below (yes, the Edmonton International Cat Festival!)
3. Life with Loki
You’re correct, each of our animals will be taking a spot in this Top 9 Moments of the Decade list, lol.
Our family grew again in 2012 when we brought home our second cat Loki, primarily because we wanted a friend for Thor. I don’t know if we knew back then that our family would grow to include 4 animals in that decade alone but I’m so thrilled it played out that way.
Loki has such a personality—a playful, mischievous one that quite suited his name. He was also the cuddler that Thor was not. Curious, talkative, a talented jumper, and a serious sleeper, our Loki brings us heaps of joy on a daily basis. Every day of this decade I find myself having lively conversations with all my animals but Loki especially, because of how talkative he is.
4. “We’ll never not have a beagle.”
This past decade brought us Olive, our smart and sassy beagle. Mike has remarked numerous times over the years, “we will never not have a beagle.” Once your life is turned upside down by a beagle (lol), especially one like Olive, you’ll always want to have a beagle in your life.
Whereas cats—including our cats—are generally much more chill and easier to care for, bringing Olive into our lives in late 2013 entirely changed our day-to-day.
Today, going for long, daily walks with Olive is one of my favourite things to do and likely where I get the most exercise, fresh air, and clarity in my day. Naps are also better with Olive nestled in. She is a professional napper and a skilled negotiator (treats for whatever she has taken that she wasn’t supposed to take, lol). She is honestly too smart for her own good! And she’s absolutely a people person and perfect with anyone from kids, teens, adults to the elderly (I think she’d make a fantastic therapy dog).
According to Mike, “there is no life without Olive.”
We had a scare this decade where we thought Olive’s life might be cut short and remember being absolutely devastated at the thought that she might not be in our lives. (Spoiler alert: she turned out just fine! Thank you to Dr. Jennifer Marshall from the Edmonton Holistic Vet)
5. My sweet boy Artie
To round out our furry family, this decade in 2016 we adopted my sweet boy Artie from Zoe’s Animal Rescue.
Right when we adopted him, Artie developed a severe case of mange, a skin condition that saw him lose almost all of his fur in his first year, and be constantly itchy. It was a tough year for my sweet boy.
I still remember taking sweet Artie for walks and having people look at him in fear or disgust, because of how horrible he looked due to the mange. “What’s wrong with him?” “Is he contagious?” people actually asked us.
My sweet boy Artie fully recovered from the condition (again, thanks to Dr. Jennifer Marshall at the Edmonton Holistic Vet, we could not recommend her enough for saving our babies this decade!!!!) and is such an important part of my life (when he had mange and when he recovered from it). But even as he grew out of his mange he began to develop an anxiety (maybe rooted from his mange) that we still try to alleviate to do this day. It is perhaps because I felt people shunned him in his first year, and that he can get so anxious, that I am so fiercely protective of him now but there’s nothing you could do to drop lower in my view than insult my sweet boy, lol. I literally teared up writing this section of this post thinking about sweet Artie. I just want him to have the best life and I hope this next decade we’re able to help his anxiety.
Artie gives the best hugs, has the sweetest personality, the sweetest face (his smile! his nose!) and is so aware of his surroundings (almost unfortunately to his detriment sometimes). He is so funny, so sweet (how many times can I call him sweet?) and so special. He loves water, snow, food and adventure.
I feel so fortunate this decade brought me my sweetest boy.
6. Unexplained Infertility and Adoption
This decade saw Mike and I attempt to have a baby and fail, utterly, monthly, for years, with no explanation as to why. This was the decade where I opened up about our Unexplained Infertility struggles we faced.
Our inability to have children for half the decade continues to be a gigantic source of sadness for us, honestly the biggest challenge we have faced and continue to face, and a significant low point of the decade, however important for me to include as a top “moment” of the decade as it has significantly affected our life and the trajectory of our lives, and I don’t fully believe in a bad way. I do believe everything happens for a reason and perhaps the next decade will bring more clarity to this struggle.
By opening up about our infertility struggles, I have had the opportunity to connect with so many people who have struggled, are currently struggling, or aren’t struggling but have become more aware that loved ones in their own lives may be struggling with infertility. It’s become a topic I am passionate to talk about and raise awareness for. Being open about our infertility this decade has been therapeutic for me, but I believe comforting for others too. There is an honesty and better understanding all around that’s come from talking about our fertility issues.
Just this past year in 2019 is when Mike and I finally decided to start the adoption process. That’s huge.
As we head into the next decade, I wonder how our family will grow, how adoption will go, and whether we may still conceive naturally. Regardless of what’s to come, our infertility journey has certainly been a huge “moment” of the decade.
It is also worth noting in this section of the list that although this decade did not give us our own baby, there was no shortage of babies that came into our lives. Mike and I love being aunts and uncles to quite a number of lovely kids, and there’s no doubt our family, extended family, and friend family, has grown this decade, even if it wasn’t quite how we pictured it would going into the decade.
7. Building a Career and a Business
The 2010s were when I started, grew and changed my career. I started working in the media / journalism industry as a reporter / producer before shifting to social media marketing / communications. All the while, this decade saw my blog grow, become more focused, more specific, more strategic (still fun! lol) Over the last 10 years I worked in newsrooms, the public sector and the private sector.
Over this decade I met and learned from some of the smartest people in the industry, had great mentors, worked with amazing companies and contributed to some awesome projects, shared my knowledge with others through training and conference presentations, launched exciting projects of my own and learned a ton about marketing, communications, social media and myself.
Finally as the 2010s came to a close, this 2019, I started my own business!
And I’ve had a wonderful time so far developing social media strategies, delivering training, doing paid blog and social media partnerships, running events, and just having the freedom to create and build on ideas. I am thrilled this decade saw me turn my hobby, my passions—social media, blogging, even CATS—into a career.
I feel like I’m in a solid place with my work today, and have lots of plans for this next decade (and I’m sure a lot of plans that I am yet to have!) I can’t wait to see what the 2020s look like for my career.
8. Instagrammable Walls and the Edmonton Cat Fest
Worth having its own ‘moment’ in this little decade-in-review is two big ventures I started in the last decade.
One—a never-ending quest to find and photograph Instagrammable Walls, something that started as a way to get cute photos of myself in front of cute backdrops (lol), has grown into a greater appreciation of the arts and artists, discovery and exploration of where I live and where I travel, and becoming a freelance tour guide hosting events and walks and meeting the loveliest people!
Two—in 2014, I started the Edmonton International Cat Festival, the only event of its kind in Alberta, celebrating cats, cat culture and cat people, raising money for cat rescues. When it started, it was the only event of its kind in Canada! I’m so proud of how this festival has grown, and the impact it has had. This decade, thanks to a-meowzing attendees, partners, sponsors, committee members and volunteers, $112,000 raised from the annual event has been donated to Edmonton cat rescues.
Who knows how the Cat Festival will grow in this next decade!
9. “I’ll never rest till I’ve seen all I can see.”
This decade was most certainly a decade of unforgettable travel experiences for me.
Reflecting on this now feels quite special to me because I literally wrote a blog post in 2009, as I entered into the 2010s decade, saying how much I loved the lyrics to Brendan James’ All I Can See, in particular this part:
Those who journey can easily understand,
the more they see the more they’ll learn,
the more that they will be.
So this I swear to you, and this I swear to me,
I’ll never rest till I’ve seen all I can see.
No, I’ll never rest till I’ve seen all I can see.
This decade I travelled across Alberta, across Canada, to the United States, the Caribbean, Mexico, and outside of North America to Europe and Asia. I very much believe in the value of experiences and exploration and I feel so fortunate these last 10 years included so many trips—many really in my Alberta backyard (and still there’s so much to explore!), as well as many beyond the province.
I don’t see the next decade being any different in terms of how much value I place in travel and time I hope to spend exploring. There is still so much of the world I want to see (and so much food I want to eat!)
Like I said, it feels weird to try and consider what 9 things were significant throughout the span of 10 years. This post does not tell you about all the laughs I had with dear friends, the new friends, the friends who are no longer friends, the silly fights Mike and I had, or the rise and fall of my old yellow Volkswagon punch buggy vehicle (lol). It does not discuss the challenges and changes to Mike’s work schedule (Mike was actually out of town a fair bit for work this past decade), nor does it reflect on all the food I ate and loved. I do not write of all the family dinners (though if this was more than a Top 9 list, the birthdays, the Thanksgiving, the Christmases, the just-because gatherings would certainly make the list). It doesn’t talk about all the great books or articles I read, deep and thoughtful conversations I had, how many text messages I sent, or life advice that has been shared to me or that I shared with others. It does not reference board games nights, an immense amount of hours spent binging television, or constantly losing my ID and credit card (sometimes I think it’s easier to go sans purse and just stuff the important cards in pockets. This is always a mistake). I also don’t talk about how much of the decade was spent napping, or how many times I wrote “lol”, lol.
If I was recounting each month of the past decade, we’d certainly dive into more of those details, but when I just sat down and thought, what nine things—who or what—had the most significant impact on my last decade, I think this post sums it up fairly well.
I think My Top 9 is also shockingly simple.
Or maybe it’s not shocking that it is simple.
There’s a reason why they say life is about “the simple things.”
This decade has been, for the most part, really good to me. I know that is not the case for many and I remind myself every day how lucky I am. My life is not without its challenges, but I am so grateful that when I look back on 10 entire years, what I see, what comes to mind, what stands out, is happy, is healthy.
If my next decade year-in-review looks pretty similar to this one—that I had great times with family (furry and otherwise), that I got to travel and explore, that I grew my work and got to be involved in fun, meaningful projects—I’d be pretty pleased.
I wish you the very best in 2020 and the 2020s.
Thanks for following along on my adventures this past decade.
I hope you continue to in the next!