My 20th birthday feels like so long ago. A lifetime ago, really. I can remember it very well (or some of it, anyway. Let's just say thank goodness there was no Facebook back then!) I have the fondest memories of my 20th birthday and my 21st and that time in my life. And I have the greatest appreciation for how much life has changed since then. My 30th birthday is going to look very, very different, but in the best way.
Because now I have this.
It’s amazing to me the amount of change and growth that happens between 20 and 30. It’s amazing how much we evolve, how much we learn about ourselves, and how much we go through. I felt so grownup at 20, paying rent in my first apartment. Looking back, I will still just a baby trying to find her way.
I'm looking forward to 30. (I'm happy to say there are no signs of gray hairs yet anywhere!) And I take into the next decade a wealth of knowledge I accumulated over the last 10 years, with still so much more to learn. I feel like I'm coming into my own, learning who I'm supposed to be - maybe who I've always been. There are layers to all of us and some of those layers run so deep that we don't even realize them within ourselves until life experience happens and peels away at them bit by bit. I think that's what our 20's is about. Learning who we are, what we really want and finding ways to make our dreams come true amidst setbacks and obstacles and unforeseen circumstances. And then, when those dreams come to life, giving constant thanks to the One who helped write the story.
So much life happened between 20 and 30. I received a college diploma, a marriage license and a love for country music. I was baptized, found my forever church home and had my fairytale wedding inside of its walls. I gained a life-long best friend that would later become my sister, saw my dream of pregnancies and babies come to life in my very own belly and was blessed with a work-from-home career. There were milestones like a first house and a first mortgage, that first ultrasound picture of my baby, a first paid-off loan and a first mini-van. I gained a tattoo, a cat, a few stretch marks around my bellybutton and a love for White Zin. I've stood and cheered on the field of a national championship football game, done yoga on the beach while watching the sun rise over the Pacific Ocean, have traveled north, south, east and west and learned through it all that my most favorite places to be are on our very own back deck at 7:00 on a summer evening or cozied up under a fuzzy blanket on a winter's night on our brand new couch we were so happy to pay for with cash. It's been a monstrous decade.
And reflection is a powerful thing. It, in itself, helps us grow and learn and push forward. So - a few thoughts on what my 20's taught me. Just a few...
*Some things are worth spending a few extra dollars on. Like Starbucks. A bottle of good hairspray. A good pair of jeans. Nail polish. And cameras.
*There will never be a show to replace Friends. Long live Friends reruns.
*Being a mom will make you scared of things you never used to be scared of. Like flying. And rollercoasters. And rap music on the radio.
*I immediately feel better after I pray.
*The waters of life will never be completely smooth. You must take the good with the bad and let the good always outweigh the bad.
*Onions, garlic and spicy food, please.
*God knows me and my needs so much better than I know myself.
*I was always meant to be a mom. I was being molded and prepared for it my whole life.
*I am a work in progress. He is not finished with me yet.
*If I had to live anywhere outside of Iowa, send me to Tennessee. My 18-year old rap-loving self would be astonished at my 30-year old self. I'm a country girl at heart. Give me rolling hills, country music and a flowery dress under a star-filled sky. With a cold drink in a mason jar glass and a little Jason Aldean or Luke Bryan as the soundtrack.
*Giving birth makes you feel like super-woman. Whether it's a natural or C-section delivery. I'm grateful to have experienced both. Men can't give birth. Women are so cool like that.
*God has a sense of humor.
*I will never have the stomach I want. But I'm loved anyway.
*C-section scars are beautiful. It's one of my favorite features.
*All those times when I was young and complained about my mom listening to "oldies" music? My Pandora station is now filled with 80's, 90's and today. I get it now. (Sorry Mom).
*I like cats.
*My college years really were some of the best years of my life. But I would never go back.
*Happiness trumps perfection every time.
*The size of my house doesn't matter. The warmth and love inside of it does.
*Humbleness in yourself and in the people you surround yourself with is so, so very important. I don't want to be around those who judge or boast. I want to be around those who support.
*A Sunday well spent brings a week of content. Truly.
*To us, waiting is wasting. To God, waiting is working. And there is joy to be found in the waiting when we realize that the God who holds the stars in place is the same God that is feverishly at work on our behalf, pen to paper, writing the chapters of our very own story.
*There ought to be more dancing. It's perfectly acceptable to rock out in the car once in a while... and to embarrass my kids while doing so. "Mommy, people are staring!"
*My worth is not wrapped up in how many likes my Facebook picture gets or how many blog followers I have. But in the fact that the God who created the universe also chose to create me.
*God is not punishing you, He is preparing you. Trust His plan, not your pain.
*When He is silent, He is working His hardest. Be still and know.
*Relationships have ups and downs and love really is a verb.
Here's to 30 and 40 and all the learning and laughing and loving and triumphing and living in between. Let the adventures begin.
Photos courtesy of Darcy with At Play Photo. I recommend. :)