My 20s are ending, and my 30s are beginning. It’s true what they say, you never actually feel your age. Your spirit, demeanor, temperament, and personality pretty much stick with you (with some maturity and grace of course) but at the end of the day, no matter what age, you’re still you. I’m still that silly little kid who couldn’t sit still for a single piano lesson, but instead opted for a softball or soccer ball in the front yard. I’m still that girl that hates to be bored, still that type-A personality that would die if I didn’t color inside the lines, kills to-do lists, and feels so committed and loyal to those closest to me. With that, as I look back on all that was my 20s, I wanted to put some thought down on the development and maturity that came during one of the most pivotal decades in ones life…

  1. Take time to slow down. See the description of me above. That is still me. I have a hard time slowing down, and similarly saying no to things. But my hubby has a gentle way of encouraging me to close my laptop for a glass of red and episode of Friday Night Lights.
  2. Wear sunscreen and skincare. Girlfriend, lets not try to be 50 shades of tan like you aimed for in high school wearing SPF 2. Instead, let’s think about what you’ll look like at 40, 50, 60 without the proper skin care and protection. Like your skin now? Preserve it!
  3. Quality over quantity. In friends, clothes, shoes, and drinks! Those girls who were your best friends with at 20, are still your best friends at 30. Keep them close.
  4. Work out. Your metabolism isn’t what it once was as a college athlete. But do it for the stress-relief, stamina, your future children and health, enjoy your body changing with age.
  5. Remember that your family means the world do you. No matter what age. One of the things I’m constantly reminded of, and appreciated more in my late 20s, is the undeserved blessing of my family, immediate and extended, my upbringing, and being brought up in such a loving home. I still talk to my parents at least once a week, and don’t exactly see that slowing down anytime soon.
  6. Do not compare. You guys, the struggle is real. Anyone else out there deleted an account or two from your instagram feed because you found yourself in constant comparison of them and their life? I feel like I’m just finding my stride and confidence in photography style, but constantly find myself doubting it based on others work or success. Am I enough? Am I doing enough?
  7. Take pictures, lots of pictures. Even for yourself! They’ll be your memories of friends, travel, birthdays and weekend getaways forever. Mark III or iPhone, capture moments.
  8. Work hard, don’t settle. For me, I was lucky enough to find a job that fits my personality and majors in college. While shooting weddings and photography, I’m also a project manager by day. It’s the perfect fit my right and left brain, type-A personality. Find what you love, work hard at it (even if just to pay the bills) and take pride in your efforts.
  9. Live overseas. Living in London as a nanny from ages 22-23 was one of the best decision I’ve ever made. Even if you study abroad for a semester, JUST DO IT. It’ll open your worldview.
  10. Time flies. I swear it went from fast in high school, to faster in college, to fastest post-college. I can’t even imagine what it’ll feel like with kids growing before your eyes.
  11. Keep saving. It will be your down payment on a house; you know that thing you were raised in not having a clue about what a “down payment” was??
  12. Pray often. By yourself, with others, in public, in private.
  13. If you see an opportunity to be kind, take it. I will never forget a moment of walking around downtown Chicago in an absolute rainstorm, prepped with a rain coat and umbrella, and noticing someone frantically running across the street without either and thinking, “oh no! that stinks!”. I kicked myself the rest of the day. Not two days later another storm happened, same situation, and I gave my umbrella to a woman in town from Texas (ha!) on business. So simple, and hopefully it made her meetings a little less terrible and left her with a nice feeling about Chicago. Ask me if I would have done that at 22…
  14. Enjoy the journey of figuring it out. Life is not planned, nor should it be. If you would have told me at 20 that I would celebrating my 30th birthday in Austin I would have laughed, asked “why the *&$ would I be there?”, shrugged, and ran off to the next social event. It’s the steps in between the end points that make it all make sense, and so worth any struggles of getting there.
  15. Being alone is not only okay, it’s necessary. My 20s, early and late, were the time in which I needed to truly figure out, for myself, what I needed and was looking for in a spouse. Tears, doubts, and all. Not only that, but God was changing my heart and preparing me to be the best wife I’m capable of being for Luke. Had we tried dating from age 20-25, it wouldn’t have worked. It took TIME and needed to be the right time.
  16. Marriage is the greatest gift, and tough, and worth it. Work hard, give all of your self, all of the time. Laugh together, cry together, get mad, get snuggly, keep surprising, and keep trying.
  17. You love brussel sprouts, eat them! Figure out how prepare those delicious greens you used to hate, devour, repeat.
  18. Success is not found in a 9-5. In fact, success should not be found in just your job. Period.
  19. Furniture is expensive. And pillows! And rugs! Can I get an AMEN?
  20. Staying in on a Saturday is amazing. Don’t have FOMO, choose to stay in, and enjoy every minute.

In summary, I leave you with this video representing a piece of life in my 20s vs. what I look forward to in my 30s.

Literally, cheers!