A Decade of Growth and Change

Welcome back and Happy 2020! I hope you enjoyed your holiday(s). My last post, My Four Lessons of the Last Decade, was about the life lessons I learned. This post looks back at accomplishments and change. Now it’s the new year and a new decade. Time for new intentions. But before we make or discuss plans for the new year and new decade, let’s review the old year and decade. For me, it was a decade of Growth and Learning.

Image of gold 2020 against a brown background with Happy New Year message while we look back at a decade of growth and change.

The Beginning of the 2010s

In 2009, my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. My son was 30 years old and married for the second time. I had five grandchildren (two 9-year-olds, a seven years old, a six-year-old, and one one month old) and three dogs (8-year-old miniature schnauzer, a 7-year-old mixed breed, and a 4-year-old Yorkshire Terrier). a registered nurse at the local children’s hospital, I worked forty plus hours each week.

Writing was my weekend passion. I had been writing stories since 1980. Three stories for children and two science fiction novellas written in collaboration appeared in magazines.

I had written three novels and had begun the fourth. But it wasn’t right. By right I don’t mean perfect, I mean it was missing something. 

Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it’s a shield.

Brene Brown

The novels didn’t work. They were missing an ingredient or two. I didn’t understand story engines or story structure or pacing. I wanted my passion to be more than a passion, but I had a dreamer’s idea of how to be a writer. The business of writing? No clue what that entailed. I had no tracking system or any system for improvement or progress. No author brand, scant social media presence, and no website. I began the decade with a burning desire to learn and grow as a writer.

He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Last Year

In 2019, my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Our three-bedroom ranch home is now seventy-years-old. Remodeling projects have made it more suitable for a wheelchair-bound individual. 

My son turned 40 and is married to the woman of his dreams. I have eight grandchildren (a 24-year-old, two 19-year-olds, a seventeen-year-old, a sixteen-year-old, two eleven-year-olds, and a four-month-old). Some of you may have realized the ages don’t line up with 2009—Your right, they don’t. I include precious grandchildren-by-marriage. 

I have three Yorkshire Terriers (a 14-year-old, a 9-year-old, and a 2-year-old). 

And I retired from my nursing job two years ago. Writing full-time is a joy.

Image of a girl reading a book with stars and light streaming out of the book--much like me looking at my past decade of growth and change.

Growth and Change

One of my (our) challenges has been the many medical issues my husband has had over the past ten years. Those challenges are compounding. I sit in his room at a rehabilitation facility as I write this.

Over the past decade I learned about plot, story engines, story structure, pacing, and so much more. I learned to create systems for tracking progress, improvements, learning, and goals. I know that I’ve written more than one million words during the decade (no records for the first three years). 

I’ve refined my writing process and learned about self-publishing and marketing. I’m having moderate success with my two published books. The outline for book two of the My Soul to Keep series and I’ve written about 30,000 words of the first draft.

I have a social media presence, an author brand, and I blog regularly on my website. Blessed, I even have followers both on social media platforms and on my blog. *Yup, that’s you! Thank you.*

A Change of Perspective

Prior to completing my decade review, I had a poor opinion of what I had accomplished in the past. Tracking and reviewing has erased that opinion. Sure, I wanted to accomplish a ton more, but look at where I started. Without tracking systems, I would not know how much I achieved despite the many challenges I had. Knowing allows me to analyze what allowed me to accomplish things and what held me back Now I can see what areas I would like to improve for the next decade. And I’ve already started working toward another decade of growth and change.

There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.

Ronald Reagan

The two-word description for my past decade is Growth and Change. Have you done a decade review? What would be a two word description of your 2010s?


  1. I haven’t done a decade review, but “growth and change” works for me, too. My firsts book was published in 2011 – such a huge learning curve there! And lots of other changes too, especially in the past year. Curious what kind of systems you use to track learning and improvement? That’s always been a tough one for me. Anyway, hope your new year is going well, and I’m looking forward to you next book!

    1. I’ll bet you could use growth and change. You’ve had some big ones!

      I track learning and improvement on my bullet journal. I have a two page spread for each day. The first page (the one on the left when the journal is open) I record my intentions for the day, any appointments, and I have a spot to record “What I learned today.” It’s been very helpful. Writing down what I learned helps me remember it and gives me a place to go back and review it. Improvement is a little more difficult, but I count that as part of my “What I learned.” I include a how am I going to use this new knowledge in my journal as well. When I do my month-end, quarter-end, and year-end reviews I include this information. If enough people are interested, I could do a blog post about my bullet journal and spreadsheets.

      Thanks for your encouragement, Jennette. And as always, thanks for reading!

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