This hashtag has been going around on Twitter for the last few weeks, and I feel that a picture, or 140 characters would not be nearly enough to sum up what #2006vs2016 means to me.
When 2006 started, I was living in Japan, doing the third year of what would be 4 1/2 short years culminating in a B.A. in Japanese from University of Hawaii. Soon into the year, I got engaged to my long time, long distance boyfriend. I also lost my future father-in-law in a tragic accident, and the resulting stress made my already overworked system break down, and the anxiety and depression I had been wrestling with since my early teens went into over-drive, and I started having regular panic attacks. I made a trip back to the US to reset my visa before staying in Japan for the summer. Over the summer I found Youtube and began what would come to be known as "vlogging". After summer, I went back to start my 4th year and started living off-campus with a few roommates.
I was 19 turning 20, engaged to a man living in another country across the ocean, a full time student with 2 jobs or more, dealing with what I thought was just a bad reaction to stress and grief.
In 2016, I am in Hawaii after a few amazing years living in Japan. My husband and I have been married for almost 9 years now and we welcomed our second child in March. I work part-time for one of the biggest Japanese tourism companies in the world, at an easy low-paying job with benefits. The hours work well with being a full-time stay at home mom, and when the kids get older I will work at another place or two again. I also live in a condo we own, and we rent out our bedroom........to one of my roommates from 2006, who sadly never took the advice and opportunities given to him way back then and is still paying for bad decisions he made and continues to make regarding his finances and his own physical health.
I have been working on my anxiety and depression as much as I can with the help of therapy, supplements, and living a healthy lifestyle in general. Getting diagnosed with C-PTSD and really finding a root cause has helped a lot.
The past 10 years have been amazing, and I am excited for the next 50, or 60, or however many more I have left.