Your Second Decade – Ages 10-19

Young woman in starting position stance getting ready to run race on a track.

Young woman at the starting line of her adult life.

By Maureen Santini © Copyright 2018-2019. All Rights Reserved.

You’ve just finished writing about your first decade of life. Congratulations on beginning this journey. Let’s keep going.

The second decade of life begins in childhood and ends in adulthood. The ages 10 to 19 are formative ones, spanning middle school, high school and post high school.

The simplest way to cover all this territory is chronological. Divide the decade into specific years and write everything you recall about each year. For instance, if you were born in 1960, you were 10 years old in 1970. Begin there.

Middle School

In most cases, your first decade ended with fourth grade. Begin writing about your second decade with the fifth grade. For each grade, write as much as you recall about relevant topics including:

  • The name of the school, city and state, important teachers, coaches, classmates, events. The type of school – public, private, religious, home.
  • Your home address, city, and state.
  • Your main school activities, class subjects, projects, and interests. Did you like each grade? Why or why not? Do you have specific memories of things that were especially fun, rewarding or challenging?
  • Your main activities outside of school including playmates, home life, religion, games, sports, outdoor activities, television, movies, music, fashion and fads, idols, dreams, challenges. Write in depth about the most important of these and why they were important.
  • Your awareness of current events in your town, state, nation or internationally. Be specific.

High School

Most of us were about 14 years old as freshmen and about 18 or nearly 18 at graduation. For each year of high school, write about the same topics as above:

  • The name of the school, city, and state, and the type of school.
  • Your home residence address, city, and state.
  • Those who had the most influence in your life at the time including teachers, classmates, coaches, family members, friends, and others.
  • Your major interests and activities, trips, sports, class subjects. Which extracurricular activities did you participate in? Describe yourself as a student. Did you like school?
  • Your main interests outside of school including friends, home life, religion, games, television, movies, music, clothes, idols, dreams, challenges. Which new interests did you develop during this time? Which new skills did you learn? What was happening in your family?
  • Your health and preoccupations during this time.
  • Your awareness of current events in your town, state, and nation. Explain why specific events piqued your interest or concern.
  • Most of us began driving around age 16 and became legal adults at age 18. Write about your experiences driving, voting, drinking if applicable, and dealing with peer pressure and family expectations if any. Did you have a job during these years? Did you graduate from high school? If not, why not?

Post High School

After high school you may have gone to college or vocational school, entered the job market, joined the military, traveled or just hung out. Some of you may have married and had children during this time.

What did you do after high school? Write in detail about as many of the following as apply to your life:

  • College
  • Vocational school
  • Military
  • Job / Career
  • Moving away from home for the first time
  • Dating, marriage, and children
  • Travel

For each category, write the basic facts, dates, and addresses: where and when you were in college, vocational school, the military and/or the job market. Write about your areas of study in college, your vocational and/or military training. Write about your first jobs or your first travels.

Do you look back at these days with fondness, regret or neutrality? Why? Talk about the reasons you chose college, vocational school, military training, etc. over other options. Which considerations were paramount?

Write about your private life as well. Were you in a relationship? Did you marry and have children during this decade? 

In addition to the categories above, write about challenges, events or stresses that had a major impact on your life during this decade, including your health and welfare and that of your family and friends.

Now that you’ve jogged your memory, new insights are likely to arise. Keep adding to each chapter as they do.

Get ready to start writing about your third decade

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