I have loved seeing everyone’s posts on Instagram about their Top 9 of 2019 photos and I thought it would be fun to round up the U Fam’s Top 9 of the Decade and to take some time and reflect on all of the changes that have formed us over the last 10 years. For some reason the start of this new decade has been mind blowing to me, more so than I can recall ever feeling about any other new era in the past, so this felt fitting. D and I were talking over the weekend about how monumental so many of the events were that took place over the last decade for us, truly I feel like from 2009-2019 we laid the foundation for the rest of our lives. From graduations, marriage, travel, and a baby… you can say we spent the last 10 years experiencing change and the highest of highs and lowest of lows. I have grown the most over the last 10 years, I have changed the most, and I can say whole heartedly I now know who I want to be for the next decade. 2019 was sort of a doozy, but what better way to ring in 2020 than a walk down memory lane from 2009-2019 as into 2020 we go!
1. College Graduation
D told me not to include this because it was technically Summer 2009, buuuut I am going to include it anyways because it WAS only 10 years ago. Also, college graduation for me truly was a pivotal point in life. I realized that when I set my mind to do something, I have the capability of making it happen and once I came to that realization I knew that more than anything else that I wanted to be a force to recon with. Before starting college I can’t even tell you how many people told me I wouldn’t make it… I was the first in my family to attend a 4 year university straight from high school so let me tell you, when I put on that cap and gown that day I knew that from that moment on I was determined to rock the boat in family traditions and do things MY way.
2. Move to Orange County (Dana Point, CA)
Again on theme with breaking family traditions; I grew up with grandparents, uncles, aunts, siblings, cousins, and generations of family living all within a 10 mile radius of each other. It was a silent code that we didn’t break that tie. But for whatever reason, I just knew I wanted a different life experience. I knew I wanted to live somewhere new and have to figure life out on my own, so that’s what D and I did. One year after my college graduation we purchased our first home (condo) in Dana Point, CA and have never looked back. THIS is home and THIS is where we have laid our roots. To this day I still miss this fist condo of ours (and our view) and I am grateful for all of the fears I faced in breaking the mold and venturing out into new territory. I can say without a doubt I would not be who I am today if I hadn’t made this move, as scary as it was at the time.
3. Getting Engaged/Married
I mean, this was a no brainer… have you met this guy?! We met in 2004 but took things at our own pace. We both graduated college, moved out, and started our careers and then got married in our own terms. We were engaged in 2010 and married in 2011 and its safe to say this was hands down the easiest decision I had to make in this last decade.
I love living this life with my best friend.
4. Starting…and leaving my teaching career
In 2009 when I graduated college I actually worked at a Behavioral Hospital leading group therapy with adolescents and youth for a year. I have two degrees, in Psychology and Child Development, and I thought I knew since my first year of college that all I ever wanted to do was become a therapist. BOY WAS I WRONG! After my one year stint working in therapy I just knew in my heart and soul it wasn’t for me. It was changing who I was as a person, making me more cold and negative, and I knew it wasn’t how I saw myself living my life. When I was in college I worked at a family owned daycare for side money and loved it so when I decided to leave the psych field I started applying for jobs at local OC preschools thinking maybe I would do it for a bit until I decided my next move. Before I knew it, San Clemente Preschool became home and after a few years teaching I then became one of the school’s Directors. Working there was some of the best days of my life, its where I met my core OC Family crew and realized my passion in connecting with children and families. After having Raj I went back for a few months and ultimately decided to leave this career to focus on our other growing businesses and being a mom, but there isn’t a moment that passes that I don’t contemplate going back, I loved it so much. Who knows, maybe it is or isn’t in my cards to return to this field but no matter what, I do know it was and will always be one of the highlights of my career!
5. Traveling (a ton)
Before being married I had never traveled outside of the country. Wild, right? We knew from the get-go that after starting our careers and being married that we wanted to spend the first few years of marriage before having kids dedicated to traveling. We took our first trip to St. Lucia in 2011, followed by Barcelona in 2012, London in 2013, Paris in 2013, Rome in 2013 and India in 2013. It was a busy couple of years and together we made some of the best memories. We always say now that even when we want to kill each other, we just think back to one of our favorite travel memories and know that in the end we started our marriage as best friends experiencing so many firsts together and to our core we will always hold that so close to us.
6. Ringing in our 30’s
Not in the same year, but over the last decade we both said goodbye to our 20’s and hello to our 30’s. For Darshan it was in 2012 and for me 2016… and what I can say is that hands down, I love nothing more than growing older. What a gift life is and yes that means welcoming the aging!
7. Launching my blog & starting our businesses
I launched my blog in late 2013 (originally South Coast Movement) and little did I know back then that it would become my full time bread and butter by 2017, wowzaaa and THANK YOU to all of you for that! But even before starting this journey, D and I actually started a few businesses prior and along the way since 2012. D started his car business back in 2012 and we haven’t looked back since. It has been incredible to see what he has built over the years and let me tell you, it hasn’t been easy. We have experienced the greatest of losses and the best of life lessons being in this business (both of ours) and it isn’t for the faint of heart. 7 1/2 years later and we finally feel like we are starting to gain some significant control of our days, schedules, and predictability. I have to say honestly that what I look forward to the most over the next decade is that we can now start to truly build upon this foundation we have spent the last decade investing into our businesses and truly enjoy the fruits of our labor and sacrifices.
8. SURPRISE!! Becoming Parents
I meannnn, talk about a freakin decade HIGHLIGHT!!
2014 brought to us the greatest gift of all: our little boy. This kid is the HEART AND SOUL of this family and if there is anything we did or didn’t do right, I honestly don’t care because THANK YOU 2014 for bringing the biggest blessing of all! Rajan, you are mama and daddy’s world and the best thing to ever happen to us!
9. With love, comes loss
Although most of our highlights a ton of positive life moments, it also came with some of the worst. Some too deep to share publicly, and some that changed our hearts forever. By far some of the darkest moments were the loss of my Grandma Esther and my beautiful cousin/sister Lina. I have lost a handful of family and people I have known in my life, but I can honestly say nothing rocked my soul more than losing these two (and my Papa Mike who we lost in 2008). Life is just so different without them, we really have and still are trying to learn how to do life without them and its been HARD. I live life daily just praying for them, talking about them, and doing everything in my my life to make them proud.
As we close the chapter on this decade, I say farewell to the years but promise to take them into this next decade and into forever in my heart and to cherish every minute spent in the last decade with them.
Cheers to the new decade!
As we close out this chapter, say farewell to the decade and ring in the new I just want to say how grateful I am for this life. Not the material things or the the way that we live, but literally just for each breath we are blessed to take. My goal for the next year and next decade is not to take a single day, moment, or person for granted. If the last 10 years taught me anything it’s that life can change in an instant both positive and negative. I want to say yes to more that I would typically be scared of and cherish every second because you never know when it can be taken away.
I plan to live and live HARD, I plan to love and love FULLY, and I plan to do everything in my power to remain grateful for what life brings my way.
Let us continue to build on the foundation we laid over the last decade and I just want to send a CHEERS to all of you and pray that you can find the greatest peace, happiness, and gratefulness for all what your life has to offer.