Have you seen the posts where people are sharing pics of themselves 10 years ago and today? With the end of a decade, everyone seems to be doing a reflection. 

It’s a great idea, reflections on the past year and setting intentions for the next. I know I benefit from looking back to make sure I’m going in the direction I want

I set out to do one of me 2009 vs. 2019 too but was quickly reminded of how sad I was back then. Can you see it?

me, ca. 2009This was a business headshot I found from 2009. I don’t have many. I’d lost 2 hard drives to Mercury Retrograde between 2008 and 2010 so I don’t have many pictures from that stretch. I’ve gotten better about saving files in 10 years, I’ll say that!  

The smile and crinkles around the eyes are making the motion of “happiness” but the eyes can’t lie. There’s an intensity that seems to say “see me”. I had a lifetime – at least 20 years – of pretending things were “perfect” – an Instagram life before Instagram existed. 

Authenticity and vulnerability were not valued in 2009. 

Back then, I was married with two small kids, a student for the first time since the 90’s, and smack dab in the middle of my divorce. 

Besides losing images from that time frame, my memory from 2008 and 2010 is also a blur. I was drinking – often day drinking – thinking it was fun. Looking back, I was pretty unconscious about my dating and choices of men then too. Seeking the attention of men who weren’t at my level but whose approval and attention I seemed to care about. In hindsight, I was deep in numb mode. I didn’t want to feel sad even though I was mourning the life I thought I’d be living. 

I learned you can’t selectively numb your emotions. You end up numbing them all. 

I got that through therapy. and getting a positive result from that. Initially, I was scared of my future. I told my therapist that I felt like I was teetering on a fence. One side had huge spikes that would impale me if I fell over on that side (representing divorce). The other had huge, gaping holes that would also injure me (representing my life and marriage). She suggested our work widen that fence to a wider, more stable wall and then gradually ramp the wall down. That way I could walk down and navigate myself on either side I chose. 

It’s great when you have a therapist who “gets” you. 

Then my divorce was finalized. That brought single mom-hood and dating. I earned my Master’s and a Doctorate in a challenging yet rewarding field where I feel I’m living my purpose. That work helped me get much better at my own boundaries and stopped giving so many fucks.  I published a book that helps folks break down “The Talk.” Attending Burning Man helped me to find myself more, accept my less than femme style and get rid of high heels. I also found great new friends and a community. My relationships with my children are by far the best I could imagine. I’m sober and loving it.

And I found a partner that I love …even though he makes me *so mad* sometimes. But we’ve gotten pretty good at repair. Another lesson from the past 10 years? Fxck those Hollywood endings. Nothing is ever that perfect. They end the story there because they don’t want to explain how tough relationships can be. 

Not too shabby for 10 years, right?

Lanae, HeadshotFor comparison: here’s a more recent business headshot:

I don’t wonder what life would be like because I know there wasn’t any going back. I feel kind of like Neo in The Matrix – I’d unplugged and even though life wasn’t always as tidy as it once was, I don’t want to be a battery that feeds the unconscious folks. My goal is to help wake others up. 

It’s easy to see the changes in appearance over ten years. I may have more pounds on my frame than I did back then. I also have more silver in my hair. That’s okay. I’m surprised that I’m not threatened by either of those things. I’m happier now embracing the silver fox, wise witch, and crone in me. 

This next decade, I’m not going to focus on age, instead, I’ll focus on experience and wisdom. I’ve got lots of those now. Look out, 2020! 

So I turn to you:
  • Tell me your big lessons from the last 10 years? 
  • Where have things changed in your life? What’s the same?
  • What are you proud of?
  • And where do you want to go next?

Please comment below and share the answers you’ve unearthed. I’m excited to read them. 



p.s., if you’d like to work with me in the new year, to lock in 2019 pricing.


About the Author

The MamaSutra

Dr. Lanae St.John is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sexology and certified sex coach with a background in sexology and a passion for helping people improve their sexual health and relationships. She is the author of "Read Me: A Parental Primer for "The Talk"" and the upcoming "You Are the One: How stopping the search and looking inside will lead you to your romantic destiny," and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the field. Dr. St.John aims to share her knowledge and expertise in a relatable and approachable way through her blog on themamasutra.com.

  1. Well hello beautiful, you looked good 10 years ago and you look even better now. Silver hair or not you’re scrumptious 😍.
    So, I’ve been clean and sober the past 10 years, except recently I started drinking again, not bad, went through a break up, not happy about it.
    What changed is I’m a little more responsible now. I wasent very responsible before, I was pretty much a knucklehead. I’m still working on me though. Major things that have changed are erectile issues.
    I’m proud of the accomplishments I’ve made. It took a long time for me to learn.
    Where I want to go now is learn how to get my dick working again.
    In love and lust

    1. Thank you for the compliment. And congrats on getting sober. Don’t be too hard on yourself since breakups suck. It’s kind of like mourning for me. At the same time, make sure you stay conscious about your drinking – for now it’s probably numbing the pain but know you prob have to move on at some point.

  2. Hi! Wow….the past 10 years….2010 I separated from a relationship that was unhealthy in that it wasn’t “going” anywhere, literally…he died a year later from undiagnosed stage 4 lung cancer….yea, I know…”WHAT”.? For the first 4 years of widow-hood I focused on finishing my BS in clinical psychology, and my MSW….somewhere in there I built friendships with women “who filled my bucket”, and encouraged me to grow. In year 5 I learned that I am attractive to men in academia! (Men with goals, a future, and who can hold a conversation!!)…In year 6 I found a man that is intelligent, handsome, and supportive of me…..we are getting married next year. I have 3 grandchildren now…I am prayer, my body is soft in places…I can’t say I’m not insecure at times- I am working on accepting my physical self this year…I have succeeded in life in areas that my mother said I never would (that’s another story and the next stage of my therapeutic journey.
    My biggest lesson is that I am able to be happy without a sexual/romantic relationship…however, I have learned that it is not my role to “give” without reciprocity- that the give/take makes me a better, healthier woman…
    My life has changed in many areas- this past year especially.
    I sold my house of 15 years, and now rent. I left agency practice and am fully committed to private practice, and I am succeeding!
    I am reconciling with my son’s, and am in love with my grandchildren. I have forgiven my dead spouse, the father of my children, and myself for not knowing what I was doing as a young wife and mother.
    I am saddened that my relationship with my Mother is the same….and that I didn’t notice how bad it was- how toxic.
    I am most proud of the professional success I have found, and how it will allow me to continue growth- professionally, internally, and spiritually (I am partnered in a holistic wellness center that encourages growth, relationships, self love).
    I want to marry my best friend, help raise my grandchildren, CONTINUE on my spiritual journey, take a few trips and begin my DSW.
    (Sorry so wordy…I didn’t edit because I need this to remain open and honest)

    1. Wordy? Oh it’s wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences over the past decade. WOW! And congratulations for all that growth and awareness and resolution. I’m wishing you more and more love and grounded growth.
      So much love to you, Brenda. Happy Mew Years Eve!

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