Reflections on 2010: A Decade Ends With the New Year

Group of people with champagne cheersingAs the year draws to a close, I find myself reminiscing about the end of 2010. As well as its personal impact, the end of 2010 is also the end of the first decade of the 21st century. I feel like it has gone by quickly. But I know that in reality, one year is the same as the next in terms of the actual passage of time. The human perception of the amount of and speed with which time passes changes as we age, with the varied evolution of our circumstances and our sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.

Personally, the year has been one of full of changes that have brought greater fulfillment, understanding, and satisfaction. I have experienced change in my relationships, my work, and my spiritual connections. Unlike other years in my life, this particular year has not been punctuated with a great deal of loss. For all of this, I am truly grateful.

The decade is a different story. The first decade of the 21st century, also term the “oughts,” has been marked by huge losses, roller-coaster professional issues, and some gut-wrenching uncertainty what the universe expects of me. Both of my parents crossed over to the afterlife after long illnesses. Both of my godparents passed on within two weeks of one another. I witnessed the violent death of my first puppy. There were significant upheavals in my finances and my personal life. I made some new friends and lost or let go of others.

It was not until the 2nd half of the decade that I was able to come to terms with these losses and begin to figure things out. The answers were always there. I just had to find them. I got a new puppy who is now almost four. I clearly formulated my approach to treatment and was able to create my website. I did a great deal of work finding my ancestors and coming to terms with my personal family history (both processes are ongoing).

Most importantly, I engaged more fully with my religious and spiritual paths, namely my involvement in Yoruba priesthood. I deepened my relationship with my spiritual guides (the Orishas and Eguns, as they are called) and learned how to connect with them in a way that honors them and serves me. I accepted the spiritual responsibility that was expected of me and felt honored to be chosen.

When I reflect upon more universal milestones of the last decade, some make me laugh, others make me sad, and yet others leave me in awe. I am thinking in particular of the near-panic about Y2K, something that makes me laugh in retrospect, as well as September 11th, that still fills me with sadness, and the election of Barack Obama to the presidency that leaves me in awe with great joy. The wars we are involved in as a country make me angry and the significant unemployment and poverty cause me great distress.

I recently started working with an extremely depressed teenage client. What do you say to an adolescent who spends each day thinking about suicide? All I could guarantee him of was that if he kept deciding to live, ten or twenty or thirty years from now he would look back on the time when he thought about ending his life. Any regret would be overshadowed by gratitude that he did not because of how much he will value his life experiences since.

What helps me look back on my life with all of its ups and downs and gains and losses is to be grateful for all of it. I wouldn’t want to have missed any of it. So to all of my readers over the past year, thanks for following my column and a special thanks for those who have shared your own thoughts. I send wishes that your year ends full of peace and gratitude. See you in the New Year--inshallah (Arabic for “God-willing”).

© Copyright 2010 by Kalila Borghini, LCSW, therapist in New York City, New York. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Sapphire

    Sapphire

    December 13th, 2010 at 9:01 PM

    I wish you all the best for 2011 and beyond, Kalila. What a tumultuous decade you experienced! I normally only look at my life from year to year. When I do the same as you I can see how vastly different the life and perspective I have today is to the me of a decade ago, and for that I am extremely grateful.

  • Kalila Borghini

    Kalila Borghini

    December 14th, 2010 at 5:17 AM

    Thanks Sapphire. Peace amd blessings to you for the New Year as well.

  • townshend

    townshend

    December 14th, 2010 at 5:47 AM

    Time has really flown by!
    I remember vividly the scares we all felt at the turn of the new millenium- was power going to fail and all that? It was a scary time- glad many of us have made it through safe and sound, with many good years still to come!

  • Calum

    Calum

    December 14th, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    My condolences on your losses, Kalila. To lose so many dear one in such a short space of time must have been very hard to bear. And the poor puppy too! How tragic. I’m glad your decade improved as the years passed.

  • destiny

    destiny

    December 14th, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    It’s funny how years fly faster the older we get, isn’t it! I don’t know where 2010 went. My New Years resolution is going to be to lift my head from my desk more, enjoy my friends and family more and remember that work is simply a means to an end.

  • JaKe

    JaKe

    December 14th, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    Every year is a mix of the good and the bad but some have more of good and some have more of bad. It can be difficult to choose the perfect year in a decade but what we can do is be thankful to god for having let us see light this decade and pray to Him to bestow us with the same the next decade :)

  • Lacey

    Lacey

    December 14th, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    I’ll say a prayer for that young lad. FWIW I don’t think he could be in better hands than yours, Kalila. Your compassion always shines. Bless you and have a fantastic 2011.

  • Kalila Borghini

    Kalila Borghini

    December 14th, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    Thank you all so much for your comments thus far. I appreciate your input and in some cases your blessings.

  • Colin

    Colin

    December 14th, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    I’ve let go so much in the last ten years. Toxic people and places, jobs I hated, old ways of thinking, and just today I finally dropped the last hanger-on. When I reflect I’m quite proud of myself! None of it was easy but I did it. Life is so much better and simpler now. Thanks for the post! It gave me the push to look back.

  • Jacob

    Jacob

    December 15th, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    Wow! You have made enormous personal strides in the latter half of the decade. Congratulations to you Kalila. That’s no mean feat! :)

  • David Cooper

    David Cooper

    December 15th, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    Thanks for sharing your perspectives; they are truly interesting and thought provoking. Let mine and others’ prayers walk with the young man you are working with. May your journey and attendant experiences continue to enrich your life and inspire you to a deeper understanding of the path you’ve chosen. Peace.

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