I’ve always been the type of girl who loves her birthday and although this is a big one, I’m just as excited as ever! What can I say… I am childlike in my excitement for celebrations, and any reason to eat cake is a good day in my book (ever wonder why I became a wedding photographer? Haha!) I know a lot of people who have dreaded their 30th birthdays, but I honestly haven’t had any anxiety about it at all. I actually think my 30s are going to be the best years of my life, and I’m really excited to keep enjoying my youthfulness, to soak in this season, and to try not to rush it! I felt like my 20’s were full of adventure and hustle, and while there is not a single regret I have about my 20’s I am excited to enter my 30’s more grounded, confident, and grateful. In honor of this big birthday, I thought it’d be fun to do a little recap of the best things that happened to me in my 20’s, as well as some goals I have for my 30’s.
Best parts of my 20’s
– (2008) by far the best thing that happened in my 20’s was that I started dating John Mallory right around my birthday. Every single good thing that has happened in the last 10 years is thanks to that!!
– (2009) learned to make and decorate elaborate cakes – and quit when I decided it didn’t bring me joy
– (2010) graduated college and landed a great job at Sells Agency as a graphic designer
– (2011) got engaged underneath a Christmas tree, aka my happy place
– (2012) married to the most wonderful man in the world one hot July day
– (2013) started my photography business officially
– (2014) was able to go full-time with my business and quit my day job
– (2015) traveled to all over the United States and even to France & Ireland for work! Huge dream of mine!
– (2016) bought the home we wanted to start a family in
– (2017) got pregnant and had Jack. I truly believe I was made for this role, and being Jack’s mama is one of my life’s greatest blessings! I am determined not to take one minute for granted.
– (2018) learned that it’s okay to slow down and soak in every moment
Miscellaneous things that brought me so.much.joy in the last 10 years:
Our honeymoon, just us. Witnessing both of my sisters get married to wonderful people. Becoming an aunt (twice!). Going to Hawaii with my family and swimming with sea turtles. Exploring New York City with John. Dancing all night to Taylor Swift during her 1989 tour. Perfecting the art of making my grandmother’s caramel cake. Going to the Christmas tree farm every year and picking out the most beautiful tree. Our trip to Hilton Head in 2016. Countless game nights & dinner dates with our best friends. Hosting an impromptu snow day party for everyone in our neighborhood. Wedding & baby showers for loved ones. Learning to like red wine. Holding a sleeping Jack in the hospital room with twinkle Christmas lights’ soft glow. The year we decided not to have phones in our bedroom, and we spent every evening talking about our day before bed (can we do that again?) Making dumplings. Telling John I was pregnant. Telling our families we were pregnant. Watching Parisian chefs cook our dinner at Frenchie one evening in Paris with John. Starting a book club that still meets once a month. Learning to be okay and (mostly) confident with who I am. Nursing Jack and watching him fall asleep in my arms.
Things I hope for my 30’s
– that John & I will continue to date each other, to romance each other, and to make each other smile every day. That we will not forget that the most important relationship in every family starts with the parents, and that we will continue to put each other first. I hope that we will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary with SO MUCH JOY AND LOVE (and maybe an incredible trip) and spend lots of quality time together.
– that John & I will complete our family in whatever way feels right. That we will raise our child or children with patience and love, and teach kindness above all else. That we will fill their childhood with magic and memories and traditions so that they always feel like home is the best place to be.
– that I will continue to find happiness and joy in my job, and that I’ll be open to change even when it’s hard. This year I’ve embraced film and it’s been such a sweet & unexpected path to explore. I hope I continue to keep an open mind with business in my 30’s and that I will continue to have a part of me that’s separate from my “wife/mama” self.
– that I’ll slow down and cherish the moments, big and small. That I won’t hustle as hard, and instead will spend time with the people who matter. That I won’t stress as much about petty things, but instead will be grateful for the things I do have. That I will remember “everyone’s definition of success is different” and that my definition of success is this: to be able to have a meaningful, joyful job that allows me to stretch myself creatively, that creates friendships with so many wonderful people, that helps support my family, that allows me to see and explore the beauty in the world, and that still gives me freedom to spend time with those closest and of upmost importance. I hope that I remember that it’s not about how many features I get, how many weddings I book, how “popular” I am, or how many likes I receive – but that I will be content knowing I am doing beautiful work that will be cherished for generations, and that still gives me the flexibility I desire.
– that I will put my health as a priority, making time to eat well and work out. That our family will live a healthy lifestyle.
– that I will cultivate my relationships with my friends, remembering that every girl needs her girlfriends. That I will be a good friend to the people who count on me, that I may give good & fair advice and always be available for someone who needs a shoulder to lean on.
– that John & I will continue to be financially responsible. That we will pay off our credit cards every month, make payments towards our retirement and children’s education accounts, and that we will make wise decisions about the health of our finances.
– that I will cultivate a set of recipes that my kids and husband love, that I can make easily and well. I’d be nice to be better in the kitchen in my 30’s!
– that I will stretch myself to DO more, SEE more, EXPLORE more, LAUGH more, BE STILL more, and LOVE more. The best is yet to come!