My Decade In Review – 2011 To 2021

My decade in review: 2011 to 2021 Mahevash Muses
2011: When I fell apart, had no hope, disliked myself. 2021: A stronger, hopeful, more self-appreciative me.

2011 to 2012 was supposed to be my final year of IT engineering. But given that I had repeatedly failed to clear engineering maths III, a second-year subject, that was not the case. In other words, I failed in the academic year I was supposed to graduate. While I was no topper, I had always managed to move on to the next semester, the next year. Until now. So yeah, to say I was distraught is an understatement.

Failing something I was least interested in felt like a slap in the face. And I tried so hard!

Maths was never my strong suit. I went into engineering because I wasn’t allowed to pursue my interests in psychology and English. They weren’t good options to pursue in the mid-2000s. Funny how psychology has blown up now, huh. Anyway, the plan was to complete my engineering so that I could figure out what to do next. That’s right. At the age of 21, I was clueless about what to do in life. Losing a year set me further back, making 2011 my worst year ever.

The photo on the left was taken sometime in 2011, and it signifies my inner turmoil at the time. On the outside, I was pretending like I didn’t care about anything. On the inside, I was immensely depressed and anxious. I still remember doing strange things like drinking iced coffee at 1 AM, writing disturbing thoughts in my diary, and listening to Adam Lambert’s first album. I truly believed I was screwed for life. To cope, I overslept, cried a lot, ate erratically…all this for a few months on end.

Academic failure feels like the end of the world. It isn’t.

Over time, I began to feel better. I found a great tutor and cleared the math paper in my next attempt. And with that, I was finally in my last year of engineering. It was embarrassing to be in a class of people younger than me, but I kept my eye on the prize: graduation. And graduate I did in 2013.

Of course, my challenges were far from over. I now had a bachelor’s degree in IT that was useless to me.

Given that I had no interest in Information Technology, I had to figure out what to do next. It was overwhelming to find something I was good at/interested in and paid decently. I was done compromising in life so it couldn’t be just anything. It had to be my purpose, my gold star.

ideal-job-venn-diagram

After a lot of introspection and some missteps*, I dared to go back to something I had long wanted to do: write. I decided to give it a shot. If it didn’t work out, I would at least have the satisfaction of knowing I tried.

* Due to social and personal pressure, I tried to utilize my engineering degree. Studied software testing, tried to enjoy my technical writing job…it didn’t work out. AT ALL.

Eight years later,  I am still writing.

On Jan 1, 2022, I completed exactly eight years of professional writing. When I began on Jan 1, 2014, I wasn’t sure what to write about. Today, I have well-defined niches and have authored two commercial books (the second one will be out this year). I also got the opportunity to contribute to the amazing Karen Hallion’s upcoming book!

Karen Hallion She Series Book About

I attribute much of my growth to 2017, a year when I continued to work despite a crippling setback. That became a turning point in my personal and professional life; the mix of trauma and depression made me fearless as a writer. It’s what pushed me to write about mental health, something I long wanted but never dared to do. It’s been a fun and bumpy journey, and I am glad I chose this path.

However, this doesn’t mean I have it all figured out.

I love writing but I want to do a lot more. In fact, I am working towards a second career to supplement my writing income. Writing doesn’t pay as much as it should, you know. But it sure as hell is satisfying when it means something to you. (Yeah, that was me throwing some shade at technical writing. It does not interest me at all.)

So that was my decade in review. Not bad, huh?

The point of this post? Nothing lasts forever in this life. Be kind to yourself, figure out what you want, try your best, and give yourself time. Things will get better eventually. I am living proof of that…and so is my 2021 photo above. Surely you can see a more sorted person to the right.

And how can I forget? Don’t believe the mean things college professors say. Quite a few told me I won’t amount to anything. Good thing I didn’t care about their opinion. NEITHER SHOULD YOU. Ignore your haters and do what you want to do.

5 thoughts on “My Decade In Review – 2011 To 2021”

  1. tough decade passed and made you strong physically, mentally and aided in more controlled decision making, hope success graph goes higher, and with new things coming your way.
    all the best

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