People keep asking me how I feel about turning 30 and every time they ask, I always wonder if they are actually talking to me. 30. How did I get to be 30? It used to seem so old, so mature, so accomplished. But in the end, I think I am excited. I already feel nostalgic for the decade that was my 20’s. It was filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Life changed more dramatically in that 10 year period than in any other stage of my life so far.
I started my 20’s in college, carefree, on my own but still very much a kid. I was working but other than a car payment, the majority of my earnings could be spent on incredibly over-priced sunglasses, fancy handbags, and endless meals out. In terms of actual responsibilities, I had very few. Go to school, get good grades, show up at work, pay a few minor bills. My relationship with Kyle took off when I was 20. We were officially a couple, said “I Love You” for the first time, celebrated several firsts and were very much inseparable.
Looking back on my twenties makes me even more excited for my thirties. I have a clean slate, an entire decade to change my life. The transformation, events, and changes in my twenties were huge and I can only imagine how different my life will be ten years from now.
A friend of mine from high school, Julie, turned 30 a few days ago (Happy Birthday Julie!) and she posted a list of a few of the significant things in each year of her life thus far. I was amazed reading through it that she could vividly remember so many things from her childhood and from each year in general. I thought there was no possible way that I could do that but I kind of wanted to try. So here we go…
My First Birthday. Pictured with my Great Grandma, Camilla and my sister, Erin.
Year 1: I was born 6 weeks early. I was tiny and weighed only a few pounds but I was ready to get things started. I have been excessively early to things ever since. Lack of punctuality is likely one of my biggest pet peeves.
Year 2-4 (Because I just can’t be certain when things happened way back then): I pooped in my closet. I’ll never live this down so I may as well put it out there for everyone. I was supposed to be taking a nap and under strict instructions not to leave my room. So I did the only normal thing a logical child would do, go to the bathroom in my closet, walk out of my room (which was what I was trying to avoid in the first place) to the bathroom to get a towel, use towel to cover up said bowel movement. I vividly recall making friendship ice cream in preschool. That consists of putting ice cream ingredients in a coffee can and rolling it back and forth with a partner. Years later my best friend and I did the same thing in high school, except in the front yard along the side-walk. I had a mullet during this time frame which continued, as pictured below. I also loved to play and was VERY good at Memory.
Year 5: I started kindergarten. I used to wipe my cheek emphatically each time my mom kissed me before sending me off to class. I still do that to my husband. I got in a LOT of trouble for telling my best little friend that our teacher didn’t like her because she was black after she complained that she didn’t like our teacher. I had no idea what I was saying but I still am ashamed that I said that to her. It has always proved to me that kids pick up what they hear. I lived with two progressive and not-in-any-way racist parents so be careful what your kids are exposed to. My parents also got divorced and my life would change dramatically over the next few years.
Year 6: 1st Grade. I had Mrs. Jory. I remember painting pictures with my Grandma. I still have the pictures.
Year 7: My second grade teacher was Mr. Starr. My memories of him are similar to Robin William’s character in Patch Adams. He was full of life and loved baseball cards. I recall watching movies about Johnny Appleseed. I cheated on a spelling test by looking at the recycle bin to make sure I had the correct spelling of the word ‘white’.
Year 8: This was the first year I had the teacher that no one wanted – Mrs. Spano. She probably wasn’t that bad but she seemed really scary at the time. My dad got remarried and my step mom had my little brother Joey around this time period. Tether ball was the coolest game ever and my grandparents even put a pole in their back yard. We’d spend countless hours playing.
Year 9: We moved from our apartment to a house in central Phoenix. This also meant we had to switch schools, which was terrifying. I remember going to the school to get registered only to run into a 4th grade teacher who insisted that I be in her class. She was wearing bright red Reebok high tops and had red curly hair. I’ll never forget Mrs. Irwin for making me feel comfortable and secure in a new world. With the help of my Grandma, I made a killer Arizona Fair project and won the grand prize. I’d also meet one of my best friends – Andrea. She didn’t like me initially but I had no idea. My stepmom had another son, Billy.
Year 10: My friend Andrea and I spent all of our free time together. We spent long hours jumping on trampolines, convincing her mom to let us get pet mice and eating pizza. Our 5th grade teacher was in her first year as a teacher and even at the young age of 10, we were big pains in her ass. I still had really unfortunate hair. I decided to stop eating red meat at this point due to my love for animals. My mom made me continue to eat chicken so I would get ample protein during my growing years.
Year 11: I think I finally started wearing a bra at some point during this year. Not because I needed one but just because it seemed like time. I think I also started wearing deodorant. I went on a trip to California with the school band. It still stands as one of my fondest memories.
Year 12: There’s a good chance my sister and I were still playing with Barbies at this point. We’d spend hours playing with them at my Grandma’s house which was always a fond memory for her. I don’t exactly recall when we stopped but I do recall thinking we were probably too old to be doing it. I got the most intense sun burn of my life during a ski trip. Who thinks to wear sunscreen in the snow? Literally layers of my face peeled off, it was swollen and I was miserable for days.
Year 13: A turning point in adolescence from super awkward child to probably even more awkward teen. This was the first time that my friend Andrea and I didn’t have all of our classes together which was perhaps a good preparation from completely leaving all my friends behind in high school.
My 8th grade graduation.
Year 14: I’d switch schools again leaving all my friends behind in a super vulnerable period of a teenage girl’s life. What’s worse is I was headed for an all girls Catholic high school filled with children from wealthy families – we were not a wealthy family. I wore men’s tubes socks. I have no idea why. I met another of my very best lifelong friends in Spanish class – Jessica.
Year 15: After a year of awkwardness and figuring out where I fit in among smart, talented and rich girls, I had a solid group of friends I felt comfortable with.
Year 16: I became a legal driver. My friend Jessica and I spent as much time together as possible. She would frequently spend the night at my house during the week and my mom would call us out sick on Fridays. We’d tell her mom that it was just a retreat day or a mass day. There was a doughnut shop on my way to school and I’d stop several times a week to pick up a dozen to share with my friends. What I’d give now for a high school metabolism.
Year 17: My mom got remarried. It had essentially just been her, my sister and I for the past 12 years. She got married on the same night as homecoming so after the wedding I quickly changed into homecoming attire. It was Halloween-themed and two other friends and I took our costume inspiration from the Limp Bizkit Nookie video. It came complete with red Yankees hats and khaki pants. This was likely back in a time when MTV actually played videos.
Year 18: I graduated from high school and entered college. I packed up my things and headed to Tucson to attend the U of A. I still remember showing up at the dorm and walking in to the tiny room. That tiny room would be the catalyst for one of the best time periods in my life thus far. It didn’t matter that the room was miniscule as it offered a huge new opportunity to be on my own for the first time ever. I’d meet the two people who would eventually introduce me to Kyle and I would grow up quite a bit. I ate hundreds of Jack in the Box tacos during this year of my life. I never gained the freshman 15.
Year 19: I moved into an apartment with one friend from high school and college and two girls we had never met before. One of those girls would later be a bridesmaid in my wedding and one of my best friends. I bought my first car, had a job, and was feeling a little bit more like an adult. This is the year Kyle and I started to be more than friends. This would mark the year that I started eating red meat again after getting a job at a steak house. I instantly wondered why I gave up bacon all those years ago. My mom and stepdad moved to Kansas City.
Year 20: Kyle and I officially became a couple and did obnoxious things like hold hands across the table at restaurants. I had a random but pretty serious health incident at the end of the year and he proved how amazing he truly is in that moment. He spent several nights on a ragged hospital cot all during final exams just so I wouldn’t be there alone. Other than Kyle, my Grandpa was the first to show up at the hospital after I had been admitted. He cried when he watched them put an IV in me. Not one of my friends came to visit despite me being there for several days. It was a turning point for me in terms of who really mattered in my life.
Year 21: I celebrated my 21st birthday at a dive bar with Kyle and Amanda both of whom had fake IDs. I was still recovering from surgery and didn’t last too long or drink all that much. Kyle and I got our first puppy – Charlie. We paid entirely too much and bought him at a pet store – something I would never do today but a purchase I’ll never regret.
My 22nd Birthday.
Year 22: Kyle won a trip to Cancun playing online poker and we took our first official trip together. I graduated from college, gave away a ton of stuff, and ventured off across the country with Kyle. He would be starting chiropractic school in Iowa. It was a big move in many ways. We had a house, lived together for the first time, got another dog and tried to navigate the more intense world of graduate school all the while being thousands of miles from home. Despite the fact that I was no longer a student after leaving Tucson, I still thrived in the school routine with Kyle being a student. Comprehending that actual people don’t get winter break was hard, and still is.
Year 23: After a tireless job search that came up short, I decided to enroll in a program to learn the ins and outs of running a chiropractic clinic at the same school Kyle was attending. I met some amazing girls, learned a lot about things I never thought I would, and finally felt somewhat settled in Iowa. Cadaver lab rocked my world and reminded me why I originally pursued an Arts degree.
Year 24: We continued to make updates to our home. Unexpected things like mold and major water leaks made us wonder what we were thinking buying a fixer upper with a student budget. I thought about leaving Iowa several times. It was an exercise in compromise, patience, and understanding.
Year 25: My friend Andrea’s brother unexpectedly passed away. Although I hadn’t seen him in years he was like a brother to me growing up. It made being so far away really hard. It was the first really significant death in my life. The sadness was balanced with the joy of getting engaged. Kyle planned a beautiful engagement complete with my parents at a Japanese garden in Illinois. Kyle also graduated from chiropractic school, we sold our house, and moved back to Arizona.
Year 26: This was a big year. We decided to set up practice in the small town of Camp Verde, a place I never thought in a million years I’d live. Our dog Lily passed away. A few months later we got married surrounded by our family and friends in Sedona. Our wedding planning process raised thousands of dollars for charity and our marriage started with the promise to dedicate a portion of our time to others, always. We also started volunteering with Camp Soaring Eagle – an organization that would truly change our lives for the better.
Year 27: We moved from Sedona to Camp Verde into a new house and officially felt settled since we left Iowa. Our stuff had been in storage for over a year so it was fun to unpack and feel like we were getting a bunch of new things. We adopted a new dog – Woobie. We started fostering dogs with a local rescue. I also officially began my career in freelance writing – something I never thought I would do.
Woobie joins the family.
My first press trip to the Domino’s Pizza headquarters.
Dexter – one of our foster dogs
Year 28: My Grandpa passed away after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Watching someone die is truly humbling and gave me an entirely new outlook on life. Just after he died, we found out my Grandma had pancreatic cancer and a terrible prognosis. My sister and I did partake in a very fun photo shoot though thanks to The R2 Studio.
Year 29: This was easily the worst year in my life so far due to the passing of my Grandma. Losing my Grandpa was hard but losing my Grandma shook up my life at its core. She was a very integral part of my life and I still sort of wonder how life can go on without her. Having such a hard last year of my twenties makes the transition into the 30’s that much easier. On a positive note, our business really took off this year and we finally felt like we were making progress!
Tomorrow I’ll be 30 and let’s hope I have even more exciting things to share next year!