On June 12th 2009 I turned 30.
I feel a bittersweet twinge of sentiment when I reflect on the past decade-especially knowing that my twenties are behind me and I will never see them again. If someone heard me saying this out loud it would certainly not be in a somber tone.
My twenties were for exploring, growing up, making mistakes and repairing myself from them, experiencing things for the first time, being raw and vulnerable, taking chances, celebrating that I overcame my awkward and mortifying high school years.
Now that I am standing on the edge of my thirties I know more of what I want--even if my plans don't work out how I expected them to. I've learned that God has a plan for me and my way isn't always the best. I still plan on making mistakes because Lord knows I don't know everything and I never will. Mistakes seem to be the best thing that can happen to me. I have grown a little bit taller through each mistake I have made.
I remember being a teenager and my art teacher used my art as an example to the entire class.
"Amanda has her own style. She starts drawing and doesn't even worry about her mistakes. Instead she works with them and changes what would be an imperfection into something beautiful."
My high school art teacher read me pretty well. I look back on that now and see how much my painting and writing style applies to my life.
I've never been one to look back and regret anything or hate a "mistake" I made.
I am not really even someone who worries all that much because I know that in the end if I make the best of the present situation, it will all work out in some magical way.
(Even if I do cry a lot when something bad happens.. I let it out all out and move on).
So where did time go? I am now a thirty year old woman with a new decade to look forward to. A flawed, imperfect unsure thirty year old woman. Sometimes I still feel like a vulnerable infant when I stand in front of this incomprehensible world before me. At the same time I am really excited to see what this brand new decade brings as I climb uphill.
The Highlights of my Twenties:
..Lost somewhere out here in cyberspace now!
**Falling in Love for the first time.
**My brother's marriage to Courtney.
**The birth of my niece Gaia (who is now 2 1/2) and my new baby nephew Griffin just born last month.
**Getting the opportunity to give my grandpa Carl a hug and a kiss good-bye before he left this earth.
**My parents. Just for being the support that they are and always will be.
**Discovering my passion for cupcakes and displaying my love for art on cupcakes.
**Reuniting with so many of my friends from the past because the world is such a small place. Now they have become friends again to me in my present.
**Living in several amazing places in one decade:
Chicago-Short and not so sweet
Green Bay-Really sentimental memories there.
Los Angeles-I've never made a better decision than to move there. It changed my whole life and allowed me to free my true spirit.
Orange County: Working for Billabong, surrounded by opportunity, staring at the beautiful ocean, feeling the grains of sand between my toes
**Discovering Sushi. I don't know what I'd do without it now that I know how yummy it is!
**Traveling to Paris, Germany, Amsterdam, Iceland, Milan, Hong Kong
**Discovering personal trainers and fitness. I was the biggest clutz in my high school years. Now I can do pullups, pushups, squats galore, yoga, pilates, and would love to be considered an "athlete." This was probably one of my best decisions ever as well.
**The third year IMPD program at FIDM. I created a line of denim to sell at Wal-Mart and presented it to VF Corporation. I totally jumped out of my comfort zone to try for this opportunity..and I made it into the top 12!
**Finding and Sharing Love with all different people. I have found that I have a really generous sharing heart. I've shared this with other people and because of that I have established many interesting and fun relationships with friends from all over the world.
**Meeting Jack Nicholson when I first moved to Los Angeles. Face to face. Just me and him in the room. He was wearing his classic sunglasses, and he flashed his famous smile at me to say "Hello." To me, this was a sign I was doing the right thing.
**Living in Burbank, CA. Probably one of the most fun moments ever in my life.
**Walking down the runway as a fashion/hair model. Check that one off my list.
**I am so glad I learned how to enjoy my alone time. I used to never like being alone but now I treasure that small amount of time just as much as I treasure time with friends or loved ones.
**Becoming strong enough to know that it is ok to stand up for myself. I had a really hard time with this as a teenager and in my early twenties. Now I finally have a grip on it.
**Embracing my beauty-even if it isn't perfect. I will take what God gave me and embrace it. The best part..is praying for the inner beauty to shine on the outside.
This does happen.
**Meeting Ben Elgersma at my 10 year high school reunion. I never talked to him in high school. I was so glad I got the chance to know him for a little while after our reunion because he passed away in January of 2008 unexpectedly.
It really taught me the importance of paying attention to the person sitting next to you-because they could just be a treasure worth taking the time to know.
**Discovering Saddleback Church. I think this place will honestly help me set the foundation for my thirties-traveling to Thailand, singing in the choir, meeting amazing inspirational people who genuinely care for others.
**My Red VW Beetle Convertible. I am getting rid of it this August.. but I always dreamed of having this car and for the past 3 years I made it happen!
**Meeting my current boyfriend Dan. I had promised myself that I was not going to have a boyfriend for a good year because of my broken off engagement.
Then Dan came along and he taught me that things don't always go as expected.
I now know that it is possible to experience new love and it is ok to let myself be vulnerable. Even if I am still trying to heal a little bit from my past.
I could go on forever. But these are just some of the highlights of my twenties.
It's been amazing and I can't wait to see what my thirties will bring!
Some photos from my 30th bday celebration: