#10 Year Challenge – Reflection on a Decade

I am loving looking at the 10 year challenges that have been popping up on social media over the past week. What isn’t entertaining about looking at how goofy some of your favourite people looked a decade ago? I wanted to take part, but I wanted to do something a little different – I wanted to evaluate how much I’ve changed since 2009. Be prepared for something gritty!

Here’s me now…

Or back in summer of 2018, so not too long ago.

And here I am at 16 years old!

Don’t I look exactly the same?

Except, I definitely was not exactly the same. This time 10 years ago, I was mid-way through my last year of secondary school. I was studying for 11 GCSEs, one of which I didn’t even have a lesson for! I was also learning AS English Literature because, well, Literature is my thing.

Despite being quite academic, I wasn’t a great student. I rarely did homework, and I never turned up to school in time for form time. I spent a lot of time wandering the corridors, and I used to aggravate other people in lessons for my own entertainment. Due to years of meanness and borderline bullying from others my age and older (in some cases a full four years), I had a violent streak which carried through with me until I was well into university. At home, I clashed with my mum all the time, and ignored my brother. I was also way too busy hanging out in the local shopping centre with my boyfriend, who was a year older, to bother with my family.

I also had a complete inability to maintain friendships. A group of peers had decided I couldn’t be in their group anymore (for reasons I never knew), another group of peers took me under their wing, but I never really fit in (thanks for all the party invites though – they were a blast). I did have some friends in the others that didn’t really fit into either group, but we grew apart quite quickly after school. I walked home alone most days. I didn’t want to go to the prom but was convinced by one of my teachers on the last week we could buy the tickets.

With all that came a total lack of interest in exercise or personal development, an enjoyment of arguing on Facebook and Mayfair cigarettes, a desperation for attention, and a total resentment of myself.

Here’s the power of hindsight, sometimes I wish my life 10 years ago had been different. I’d have worked harder. I’d have put more effort in with people. I’d have been less angry, less quick to attack someone – verbally or physically. Where most people have close friends from school, I don’t – I have acquaintances who, for the most part, I wish I’d had better relationships with.

But, back to the now. With a new haircut and some bold lipstick.

I’m an educator, a homeowner, a happy daughter, a happy girlfriend, and a new dog-owner. I finished my degree in English Literature and earned a PGCE. It’s been three years since I smoked, I’m learning to kickbox, and ironically, I’m significantly less likely to throw a punch if I’m angry – as in it’s not going to happen. Now, I have friends I can rely on, who I will be there for whenever they need me. Now I don’t hate myself.

Related: Why you should consider training to teach

I’ve come so far in a decade, especially in the last two years, that sometimes I barely recognise myself. Perhaps if I’d been a better 16 year old, I wouldn’t have been such a comfortable 26 year old. As Scrooge says at the end of A Christmas Carol, ‘I am not the man I was‘, and that really resonates with me. I’m proud of myself.

So, over to you. How far have you come in 10 years? What makes you proud of your 2019 self?

Related: 25 Things That Make Me Smile



  • Caitlin Brant

    You’ve grown so much in 10 years! It’s inspiring! We are a similar age and when I think back to how I was at school, what you said is really relatable. I didn’t show up for school sometimes either and didn’t take homework seriously; now I am looking for work after completing my master’s. Honestly, I think my life has gotten more uncertain as time has gone on. Consequences to my actions are so much more obvious as well as harsh.


    • George@BritVoyage

      Thank you. I really appreciate your lovely comments and I’m glad I wasn’t alone. I think uncertainty is an effect of our time now unfortunately. Think about the days when people used to just be able to walk into a job at 16 or not have to work unpaid for experience. I don’t think I’ll ever leave teaching, because there’s nothing else I am experienced enough to do.
      I think life is designed to turn out all right in the end, plus you completed your master’s and that is amazing!


  • Artisan Traveller

    Huge respect to you for how far you have come in the last 10 years. I was a bit of a happy-go-lucky kind of person in my school days. I only really now have discovered the drive to actually go and achieve things in life. I don’t regret those days as they were a lot of fun but now it’s time to really make things happen.

    • George@BritVoyage

      Thank you for your kind words. It’s funny that when we’re told we need to take our lives seriously, we don’t, but when no one’s on your case every day, showing that they’ve got your back, you start to realise!

  • blacktulipbeauty

    Seeing and reflecting on self-development is the best when it’s uplifting! I’m only 22 so obviously I’ve changed an incredible amount since I was 12 haha but I honestly feel like I’m in a stage of my life where I’m constantly evolving and bettering myself. A part of me feels like I’ve a lot to learn still but the other part is very proud of how far I’ve come! Congrats on your progress πŸ™‚
    Alice Xx

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