An Ode to My Twenties & 30 Things I’ve Learned Since Turning Thirty

I turned 30 last Wednesday and I decided to reflect and list thirty things I’ve learned over the years. I’m not going to lie I have been so down about saying goodbye to my twenties. They were filled with pain, heartache, growth, new life not just in giving birth 5 times, but new life for me as well. I’ve been stretched and pulled in many different ways. I walked a thousand different paths in trying to find myself.

I flailed and fought through college in a career path that wasn’t for me. I learned quickly in A&P after poking and prodding with a cadaver whose name I cannot remember that the body had way too many body parts and muscles, and bones that I care to even begin to try and name. I realized that path just wasn’t for me. So I dropped out, cue the violin music and feeling like a failure. I couldn’t quite figure out what my “calling” was. “Oh you are still young it will come to you.”

However, you can imagine the confusion and devastation when it didn’t just “come to me.” I had a lot of heartache and pain. But through it I had my beautiful baby boy at 21. I then met my now husband 3 months later. Our small wedding on the beach was nothing short of a dream. Over time our family grew and grew. We went from a 2 bed apartment, to a 2 bed condo, to a 3 bed duplex with no yard for over 5yrs, to a now 5 room house and big fenced in backyard. We’ve learned the hardest most redeeming parts of what “not now, God has something better in store” really means.

I have started writing the hard parts, and being shamelessly open. I’ve been writing more and sharing my heart. I’ve met some amazing people in blogging community. I’ve written a few pieces in a women’s devotional Bible. I’ve had so many exciting opportunities that all have started from me stepping out of my comfort zone. I’ve grown friendships with women from all walks and stages in life via Instagram. Along with becoming a Knox Moms Blog contributor! I don’t know what my thirties will bring, but I do know that I’m going to give it my all.

I’m going to continue to step out of my comfort zone. I’m going to keep sharing my heart while pouring it into my family. I’m going to show my kids that life isn’t perfect, but it’s always a gift!

Thirty Things I’ve Learned 

1)God is constant, even when my faith isn’t. There have been so many times that I have doubted Him, but He never forsakes me. 

2)Let go of trying to live a life based on society’s standards. There are times when I would find myself basing my worth on societies standards. I have beat myself up over not being smaller and not “bouncing back” after having a baby.  

3)Stay in my own lane. Over the past few years as I’ve been blogging on Instagram, I would get so caught up on having the perfect feed. I would get wrapped up in what so and so was doing, and why my feed didn’t look perfect like theirs. I don’t have perfectly white walls, and brightly colored photos.

I  stopped comparing myself and just started staying in my own lane, doing my own thing. And let me just say it has been so freeing. As a photographer I love warm toned photos, and I started doing more of that. Even as a photographer when I stepped out and started doing photography in the community and booking a lot of events. I stopped worrying about other photographer’s editing styles, and doing photos the way I loved them.

Because it’s honestly like art and everyone’s photos aren’t the same, that’s what makes each photographer so unique. Someone may not like my photos and go for a photographer with more airy colors, or more darker ones and that’s okay. I’ve just felt so much better staying in my own lane, and staying true to who I am. That falls for the blogging world too. When I finally reached the courage to start this blog I had to stop comparing myself to bloggers who are extremely popular and have a lot more content. 

4)Anxiety and depression do not define me, and it’s okay to talk about it. For the longest I felt ashamed of these parts of my story. I felt like I would be judged and looked at differently if I talked about these things. But it’s so liberating to hear others say,” You are no alone.” And in sharing my story I hope others know that they aren’t alone either. 

5)I am more than my weight. I’ve been a size 0 to a size 12, but you know what I am STILL me. I am more than the numbers on the scale. 

6)People criticize what they don’t understand. I have had people on social media literally bash my family telling me I am selfish for having 5 children. I have also had people tell me to my face how sorry they feel for me, and that I’m crazy. It used to really bother me. But at the end of the day they don’t understand the love I feel for all of my children. And that’s absolutely okay. 

7)Block the negativity and let it go. This goes for online and in real life. So many times in the past I have held onto negative friendships that flat out drained me, in the name of “loyalty.” But I have learned to protect my peace and if it’s mentally draining it’s okay to cut it lose. Same for online when rude people say something I feel the need to reply. At the end of the day hurt people hurt people, and what they are dealing with reflects them and has nothing to do with me personally. So block, delete, and let it go. 

8)Don’t be afraid to unplug sometimes.

9)When I’m overwhelmed it’s okay to scale back. It’s okay to say no to things in order to say yes to other things in that specific season. I remember overbooking myself as a photographer, because I was afraid to say no. But in the process of saying yes I was missing out on that time with my family by spending more time editing and getting images to clients. I essentially had to reschedule sessions and not take on too much, even though I love photography. 

10)I am so much stronger than I give myself credit for. In my past, I’ve been through breakups mixed with stings of betrayal. I’ve been through hyperemesis in my pregnancies, and 9 months of er visits for iv fluids and 3hr iv infusions twice a week. I remember feeling like giving up so many times, and yet I made it through.

There were times I’d work my 12hr shift in the er then go across to the adult er dizzy and dehydrated for iv fluids. Now on the other side of it all looking back, I can see all of those hard moments walking up those mountains, only made me stronger. All those hard things have brought forth the most beautiful blessings in my life.  

11)My kids don’t see my imperfections they just see me, and in their eyes I am enough just as I am. 

12)Self care is not selfish. It’s so vital to practice self care. And it’s not always like in the movies with a spa day(that would be nice). Sometimes it looks like just getting out alone somewhere for an hour or two of quiet to refocus. Or sometimes it looks like going to bed as soon as the kids do, and not trying to do all the things. 

13)Do more of the things that I can’t stop thinking about.

14)Closed doors, actually lead to doors I am meant to walk through. Just stay patient.

15)Make time to write, it’s freeing. 

16)Life isn’t about having the most friends, it’s about having the ones you can always count on and holding on to them with all you’ve got.

17)Get outside for fresh air.

18)I know my kid’s love languages, so mine and my husband’s are just as important. 

19)Be more intentional with date nights in my marriage.

20)Take the vitamins, and drink all the water.

21)Take care of my skin and use facial moisturizers and cream, and for the love wash my makeup off at night.

22)Grocery pick-up is everything! It has saved me so much time and sanity by grocery shopping online and going to pick it up. My husband and I usually add things to the cart throughout the weed that we need. Then one of us just picks it up on the weekend. It has helped us out so much! 

23)Raise kind kids, because the world has enough rude people.

24)Don’t do every single thing for my kids. There are somethings they have simply got to do on their own and learn from. They are going to make mistakes, they are going to feel certain things, and I cannot shield them from that nor can I do everything for them.

Yes, I will stand by them because as a parent I am their advocate. Yes, if they have a problem in school I will go down there in a heartbeat if they’ve told the teacher and it wasn’t addressed or handled. But when it comes to responsibilities and certain things they have to learn those things, because I am not doing them any favors by doing every single thing for them.  

25)Say sorry when I’m in the wrong. Life is too short to hold on to pride.

26)Don’t be so quick to speak and have the last word…sometimes silence speaks louder.

27)Eat healthier but don’t feel like I’m a failure if I eat sweets.

28)I show up to work because that’s my job, so show up for myself like it’s my job. 

29)Be silly and have all the dance parties.

30) I am 30 and worthy! There are times when I have felt like I’m just not worthy of God’s grace. I’ve felt like I’m not worthy of 5 sweet babies. And when an exciting blogging, or collaboration opportunity comes my way I always second guess myself. I end up feeling like I’m not worth such big opportunities. But that small minded thinking is only limiting me. I am just as worthy as anyone else. So here’s to my thirties and whatever may come my way. Whatever doors God opens or paths He leads me through I am ready!

 I am worthy, and you are too my friend! 

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