What Was Your Most Defining Moment of the Last Decade?

By: The Unsettled Team 

Happy 2020! 

As we jump into the new decade ahead, over at Unsettled HQ we reflected on the decade that was, and the millions of defining moments that thread it all together…

“My most defining moment of the decade was learning how to become myself again. After the unexpected loss of my dad in 2017, I was aimless. It’s like the loss of a limb; something I could live through, but would never be the same. I began to run again, one of his favorite past times as well as my own, but was never efficient enough at it in the past to stick with it. Fast forward to now, I have completed 7 half marathons in 6 different states with a goal to hit all 50, half marathon number 8 coming next month and my first full marathon coming in October. I am incredibly proud, as I know he is. It’s bigger than just the movement of running. It’s where I feel I am myself, free, powerful, whole, once again.” – Taylor Floeck, Unsettled Head of Community 

“I think walking away from my original career in the fashion industry was the most defining because it created a huge space in my world for me to recreate, reinvent, and redefine the course of my life. It happened early in the decade and therefore has been key in defining the years that have followed. From there, there have been so many important and life defining moments, big changes, tons of learning and growth, and of course incredible experiences. Amazing to see where life takes you and I’m ending this decade in a different world than the one I started it in.” – Lala Franklin-Apted, Unsettled VP of Experience

“I look at the last decade the same way I look at my life. I have a guiding philosophy in life and I can tell that this philosophy has resulted in thousands of little decisions and moments. Over time, like say the last decade, these small moments add up to my life story more than any one big moment or decision. These micro moments tell the real story. It’s where the beauty lies. But if I had to choose one of those moments, it was back in the British Virgin Islands nearly 6 years ago…on what turned out to be our first Unsettled trip. When we hosted the sails on our boat, and turned the engine off, guided by only the wind at our backs, I knew that moment would create more meaning, inspiration, and momentum into my life than I’ve ever felt.” – Michael Youngblood, Unsettled Co-founder

“January 2010. I landed in Sydney, Australia with four suitcases, no job, and no permanent address. All I had were dreams, my passion, and work ethic. That moment, now 10 years ago, completely changed me. Just like any other passionate 20-something, in the past decade I cultivated a life I don’t need a vacation from anymore. And which is probably why I’m here posting this live as Unsettled’s social media director, and working remotely from an island in Europe. In 10 years, I’ve had a professional, cultural, and structural change — right from understanding what it means to be a brown woman in a first-world country, to understanding that working in an industry that aids the problem of waste isn’t actually an end goal of mine. And finally, understanding burnout by experiencing it firsthand in a high-profile media job in Dubai, and getting out of it voluntarily. In this past decade, my hobbies became my hustle, my private became my public, my mornings demanded a routine, and I felt real pressure to take my probiotics. But it also gave me my fundamental values — what do I want out of work? What do I want out of my relationships? How do I want to define my homebase? How do I want to spend 47 hours per week in the name of work? My life trajectory has taken a 360-degree flip in the last 10 years, so defining one moment doesn’t actually do it for me… but I am often taken back to that day in Sydney in 2010, when I knew I had no home, no agenda, and no real “5-year plan” in place. Yet I managed to chase dreams, work hard, be kind to strangers, and really understand what it meant to be a good human in this era.” – Shitika Anand, Unsettled Director of Social Media 

This one was definitely a decade plenty of mini defining moments, where I was thinking I was going one way and then realizing half way through I wanted to go in a completely different direction. But as a sum of all of those mini moments I came to the realization that what I was actually doing was making use of my own freedom to choose what kind of life I want to live and how I want to live it. And that the tools and ingredients needed to design it already existed in me and were a combination of choice, intent, will, and letting go. There was nothing more defining than acknowledging that freedom, holding on to it, and actually using it.” – Clara Mastronardi, Unsettled Experience Leader

Wow, what a decade! One of the most defining moments of the 2010s for me throws it way back to August 2011 when I decided to move to New York City to begin my MFA in Musical Theatre Writing. It still surprises me to this day that I did it. Beginning the course truly cemented for me that it is through the written word, I can make a tiny contribution to humanity and transform those confusing, challenging, and painful parts of the human experience into art. Moving to NYC was also a fundamental realization for me that “hey, no one knows you and you could be anyone.” I think I have been in love with that feeling ever since.” – Naomi Matlow, Unsettled Associate Editor & Writer

“My most defining moment was right in the very beginning of the decade. It was August 10, 2010 just a few days after my 23rd birthday, when I boarded a plane with a one-way ticket to Tanzania. I had just quit my first job out of college (and only real job to date), and set off in pursuit of my dream of becoming a photojournalist. What I thought would be perhaps a 4-6 months journey across Africa ended up being four years, and shaping my worldview and career. It felt like my first “adult” act of stepping completely into the unknown – with no real contacts, not a lot of experience, and not much more than an ambition. That approach, and the confidence I built by figuring out how to make it all work, became what informed and drove the rest of the decade for me.” – Jonathan Kalan, Unsettled Co-founder

What was your most defining moment of the decade? And how do you want to define yourself in the 2020s?

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