Avon Park Library Library Columns

Welcome to the New Decade by Vikki Brown

Vikki Brown

“Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it… yet.” – L.M. Montgomery

Just two weeks ago we entered a new year, but also a new decade. I see many people online talking about what has happened in their lives over the last ten years. I also began reflecting over the many things that have taken place in my life over the last ten years, and I am sure plenty of other people have similar experiences and life changes. I would like to share my experiences and ways libraries can help in case you are going through a similar situation.

Ten years ago, in January 2010, I became a first time mom to a beautiful baby boy. I began the new decade with the most life changing experience to have happened to me – up to that point in life. This was an experience that changed me like no other, and one I will treasure forever. This baby boy, not such a baby anymore, will turn ten years old in a few weeks. Wow, the last ten years have flown by and have been so much fun! I am sure I was not the only person to begin the last decade as a new parent, and I am sure there have been plenty of births already in this new decade. For some, even the prospect of becoming a parent is overwhelming. Let’s face it, kids do not come with manuals, but we do have a few resources that can ease the new parent’s and seasoned parent’s mind. The library has PLENTY of parenting books, but also on the library’s e-resource, Universal Class, there are parenting classes available to take for FREE. These courses are self-paced with lessons and instructors to assist you along the way. Don’t spend your time feeling frustrated – use the resources available to you!

Thinking over the years that followed welcoming my son into the world, so many other changes happened in my life, both good and bad. Not only had I become a new mother, but in 2013 I had another child. In September of that year, a gorgeous little girl blessed our lives after one of the most difficult years I have ever experienced. She truly was a ray of sunshine during a dark time. Not only was I blessed with two children in the last ten years, I have earned multiple degrees and held multiple jobs and positions. I have transitioned from working in retail to working in the school system, then onto my dream job of becoming a librarian. I enjoyed each job I’ve held and I have embraced the transitions, but career changes can be scary for some. Yes, you know that I am going to say libraries can help with that! The libraries have computers to use for research, take online classes, print homework pages, and for a multitude of other reasons. There are books-a-plenty for test studying and preparation, and even books on different careers that interest you. It can be helpful to research what you’re interested in doing to ensure you are fully prepared for a job in that line of work. Preparation can make change seem a little less scary.

Degrees, babies, and jobs are such magnificent occurrences to have happened throughout a decade, but decades cannot have high-points only. Everyone has low-points and moments of despair that will happen throughout their lives, maybe multiple times. I am not an exception to this rule, and I will be very honest with you all about the pain I have experienced this decade. I mentioned 2013 was a harsh year. It was harsh because in August of 2013, my mother passed away from lung cancer. My mom was an amazing light in the world and my hero. I had never experienced a loss of that magnitude before in my life. Grief was new to me, and grieving is such a painful and overwhelming experience. Thankfully, I am blessed with a great support system of family and friends that helped me and continue to help me with this process. Not everyone has that support though, and yes, libraries can help – in a way. As we always mention, we have hundreds of books in the libraries, and those books do include self-help, self-care, and coping with grief. The information won’t take away the pain, but you may learn how to process the emotions in a way that works for you.

I know this article is a little different. There’s a lot about me that I am sharing, and that may seem a bit weird. Sharing these experiences is to show how quickly life can change for us all. A lot can happen in ten years- one decade. Right now you may be living paycheck to paycheck. You may be eating “struggle meals” just to survive. You may not even know how you are going to get your next meal. I want you to remember, as Mr. Fred Rogers says, “Some days, doing “the best we can” may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn’t perfect on any front-and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else.”  We have tomorrow to do better. Each tomorrow is a chance to apply for that job, get that promotion, or take that class. In ten years a lot can happen. Today may be a struggle, but in five years you could be driving to your dream job in your dream car with that dream family. Use your next ten years to meet your goals and make those dreams a reality.