Today is my birthday. I’m officially 30. Turning 30 hasn’t been a huge deal for me. Since I was about 27, I really looked forward to being in my 30’s. Life at that point seemed to be going so slow and I imagined my 30’s would be more robust. I thought I would get married in my 30’s and potentially have kids in my 30’s. I thought my career would take off in my 30’s and I wouldn’t be as financially strapped. For the past 3 years, I couldn’t wait for this day. But today is just like yesterday and the day before that. Now that I am engaged, I will for sure be getting married in my 30’s. As for having kids, well, the jury is still out on that one. I’ve got to get through getting married first. I really hope my career takes off in my 30’s and with that, hopefully, there will be a little more financial freedom.
Although I really am looking forward to all the great things that will come in the next decade, I wanted to take some time and reflect on the past 10 years. As eager as I was to get the 20’s over with, I accomplished a lot and had fun along the way.
When I turned 20 I thought it was utterly depressing. I was no longer a teenager, yet I couldn’t legally drink. 20 was a blur as a Sophomore in college. 9/11 happened shortly before I turned 20 and that stirred everyone for a while, but we all got through it together. 21 came and that was quite exciting! I was the oldest of all of my college roommates, so that meant I was designated the one to purchase alcohol from the grocery store. My roommates and I had a great time together our Junior year. 22 brought Senior year and college graduation. We had to say farewell to our home in Granville, Ohio and move apart from one another to begin a new phase in life. I headed to Ann Arbor, Michigan to pursue a Master’s degree.
At 23, I struggled with the Michigan winters and the loneliness from missing my college friends that I took off and went to Jamaica for a week. A crazy and spontaneous act, but well worth it! After returning from Jamaica, I began to focus my sadness into running as a way to help me get through the dark cloud. I headed to North Carolina for the summer as my first year wound down and spent the summer lifeguarding on the beach with good friends that I had made in summers past.
24 brought a more fulfilling year. I moved into a house with four other classmates and I was super focused on my academics and my running. I started to enjoy Michigan more and took advantage of student life on campus. At 24, I received my first Master’s degree and at the very last minute- literally the week of graduation- I decided to stay for another degree. I spent my 25th birthday flying back from a department trip to Venice, Italy. 25 brought long nights on the 3rd floor of the Architecture building at Michigan with my 12 other classmates in the Urban Design program. It was a challenging academic year that forced me to put my running aside. 25 also brought me a second Master’s degree and my first real job. I packed up 2 months after my second graduation from Michigan and headed to Dallas, Texas.
26 was spent finding my way around my new home and making new friends in a foreign place. I made a good friend and roommate in an unexpected way and it gave me faith that in a superficial city, there are still down to earth people out there. 27 brought the recession and uncertainty of the future. (Perhaps this is why I had a strong desire to get out of my 20’s). I had to say goodbye to fellow coworkers as I gripped onto my job for dear life and worked on my professional development by taking and passing the LEED AP exam Despite all the uncertainty around my job, I found Nick.
At 28, my relationship with Nick grew and I moved in with him. We began our many travels for weddings. My graduate school roommate, Anna, got married in March. My other graduate school friend, Austin, got married in May. Nick and I went to Washington to visit his family and had our first international trip together to Canada. Work had become a little more stable, although my salary was still reduced. Still working on my professional development, I took and passed my AICP exam.
At 29, the economy started to balance out and the daily fear of if I would be next to be cut had subsided. I took and my last (for a while) professional exam- the CNU-A exam. Nick and I continued to travel- some for celebration of weddings like my friend, Caitlin, and his friend, Dave; some to visit family; and some for loss of loved ones. The biggest and best of our travels, though, of course was our first trip just for us- no weddings, no funerals, and no family time- just us, and that’s when he proposed.
In all, my 20’s have been very eventful. There was lots of laughter and plenty of tears. I had my heart broken more than I would have liked, but I also found my perfect love after all the heartache. I obtained 3 higher education degrees by the age of 25 and launched my career in a new and strange place. As eager as I was for today, the day I finally turn 30, I look back and see how much I’ve done and I know that had any of the past 10 years been different, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Now, my life is far from perfect, but I am blessed to have so many loved ones in my life and to have the support from Nick, my family, and my friends as I make my way along this journey. Thank you all for being there along the way!
From my 20’s to my 30’s, here I come!