Ghostwriting doesn't always come easy — it can be difficult contributing to work without receiving credit. SHANNA HUNTER/THE VARSITY

Every so often Instagram has a new hashtag, a trend that suddenly transforms into an international movement, or maybe it’s the other way around. Who knows?

From influencers, who receive tens of thousands of likes for a picture of breadcrumbs, to those whose followers barely number in the three digits, all post some visual content pertinent to the trend. One of the latest trends is the #10yearchallenge, and it really is quite self-explanatory: post two pictures of yourself in the same frame or post, one taken recently and the other from 10 years ago.

I’m not quite sure what to make of this challenge, but as I go through old albums and scroll through past photos with people who I am barely in touch with anymore, I am seized by a lasting feeling of disenchantment.

Ten years ago, I would have sworn on my mother’s life that I’d never sell my authorship cheap.

Ten years later, I’m a ghostwriter penning personal statements for suckers too rich and vain to get into college by themselves, and I have been selling my writing for a bargain.

It takes precisely 10 years for me to navigate from point A to point Z, and I don’t see a chance in the next 10 years for me to alleviate my predicament. I am as hopeless now as I was hopeful 10 years before, and I’m slowly but steadily coming to terms with my utter disappointment.

Coming to terms with my disappointment is really just me accepting that there has never been a day where I was near point A. So while I may not have climbed many rungs on the ladder to my American dream, a few steps back from X to Z is a lot less of a bummer than the skydive we take as we gear toward 30 and are still just as miserable.

Not many of us can afford the disappointment to begin with. And if we’re being real, I didn’t become a bestseller. True. But I’m still writing. I don’t get to sign my name under the title. Also true. But at least I get paid per word.

So, if you know anyone who still believes in the myth of the college degree, send them my way. I just lit my last joint and turned the grocery money I made off my last client into a puff of smoke.

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