Today I say farewell to what has been the best decade of my life thus far – GOODBYE TWENTIES. The ways that my life has changed in just ten years is crazy. From transferring from Uconn to UT, moving from CT to TN, three spring breaks, graduating college with honors, working in the real world, getting married, becoming a teacher, traveling to Norway, taking FOUR cruises, buying a house, having a baby… the list goes on and on and on. I feel accomplished and proud of my achievements, grateful for my adventures, but a bit nostalgic. As a way for me to say farewell, I’ve taken a long trip down memory lane.
This is 20
I entered my 20s a wild, hot headed, immature girl who had just moved away from everything she had ever known in CT to be with the love her life in TN. In New England, things were SO different. The way people talked, the way people dressed, the way people drove. My world literally flipped upside down when I moved from North to South and I suffered (in a good way) a little bit of culture shock. Transferring from UConn to UT was a monumental change in my college experience. Uconn’s campus was small, football games on Saturdays were watched from the dorm, and we had to drive 20 minutes to go to Taco Bell. At UT, I could walk to Taco Bell after the huge football game I watched on campus and sometimes had to drive to classes. On my 20th birthday, my boyfriend took me to a fancy dinner and bought me a beautiful ring. He threw me a birthday party – my first real college party in MY honor – and all my new friends were there.During my 20th year of life I met two of my lifelong best friends: Kara and Katie. I had more fun than I ever thought possible at the University of Tennessee. I experienced football and tailgating in the South, took college level dance and drama classes, and decided that I wanted to be a blonde. There are so many memories I have from my time at UT that it would take me days to list them all.
My 21st birthday was what everyone wants their 21st birthday to be like – lots of legal celebrating. My roommate and boyfriend threw me quite the party and then took me out at midnight. I’ll never forget that birthday because I was pretty much the last kid to turn 21 in our group of friends.
I graduated from UT in December 2007 – I was 22 years old and still a baby. We celebrated that birthday with as much grandeur and excitement as the last two.
I was nowhere ready to be in the real world, so I hung around campus, working at a private school, until Brandon graduated. Then we packed up all of our belongings and moved to Atlanta to be grown-ups.
Living with my boyfriend was exciting… and in just a few months he popped the question while we were on vacation with my family in Cape Cod.
This is 23
By the time I turned 23, I was planning my wedding to Brandon – the boy who I met when I was 17 years old on my Senior Spring Break. I also figured out I wasn’t meant to be a blonde.
My 23rd year of life I was hired at a real office and worked a real big girl job. I remember complaining how long my work days were. I seriously didn’t know how much my life would change and it’s funny to think back on how easy everything really was. Brandon and I had fun on the weekends going out in Atlanta, traveling to visit our family and friends, and planning our wedding. When I turned 24, I celebrated my last birthday as a single girl and was not one bit sad about it. I was ready to be a wife!
On October 17, 2009 I promised to be Brandon’s lovely wedded wife. We were married on the beach in Destin and celebrated for four days with all of our most loved family and friends. This was a HUGE milestone in my twenties.
We honeymooned in Maui – an island we had always dreamed of visiting together. Someday we hope to go back, but I am so grateful that Brandon and I spent a whole week in paradise.
A few months after we became husband and wife, we moved to Maryland to embark on a new journey. I was hired to teach first grade in Baltimore City and made some pretty amazing friends through my teaching program. I spent my 25th birthday surrounded by these wonderful girls, being wined and dine by my mom and husband, and hanging out with my nephews on a pirate ship.
This is 25
During my 25th year of life I learned what it was like to really be a teacher. The job I had dreamed of was more difficult than I could have ever imagined. At my school I met someone whom I will forever call my best friend.
Brandon and I traveled to San Francisco and we met up with my best friend (since HS) and her now husband in Napa Valley. Our first trip to California would be one we never forget as we took a party bus through Napa tasting some of the best wines I’ve ever had.
By my 26th birthday, Brandon and I were renting an actual house together. It was fun to have more than one floor to live on and I think we felt a little more grown up when we had to buy a lawnmower. We hosted friends and family as much as we could and loved to take them around Baltimore and Washington, D.C. One of my favorite visitors, someone who has always made it a point to come where ever I am as often as possible, has always been my Mom. She has had more adventures with me in each place that I live than anyone I know. She also never misses my birthday.
This is 27
Around the 27th year of my life, Brandon and I decided it was time to think about having a baby. I think I celebrated my 27th birthday thinking that it could be my last as a baby-less girl. My Baltimore friends, amazing husband, and Mom took me out for a fun night in the city.
Our furbaby arrived, Mcmuffin, and made our little family of two feel like a big family of three. With more personality than we ever thought a cat could have, Muff brought quite a bit of joy, laughter, and sneaky habits into our lives.
Before we knew we were about to get pregnant, we planned a trip to Norway to visit a couple we met during 2011 on our adult spring break cruise. Taking a trip to Europe had always been on my bucket list. We had the most incredible adventure and promised each other we would someday return with our children to visit our friends in their beautiful country.
In April of 2013, Brandon and I found out we were expecting a little bundle of joy, scheduled to arrive just before Christmas. At the end of May, we packed up our belongings and headed back to Georgia. It was time for another change in our lives.
We bought a house the month before I turned 28. Buying a house was scary, but a liberating feeling knowing we were no longer paying rent for something we didn’t own. I celebrated my 28th birthday with a ginormous cupcake, mounds of Italian food, and a prenatal massage. Everyone treated me like a Queen since they said once our daughter was born, there would be a new Princess in the house.
I never knew how much I wanted to be a Mother until I finally became one. When Annabelle Claire was born on December 13, 2013, I felt my heart double in size. Her birth was an awakening for my mind, body, and soul. I saw the world in a new light that shown brightly from our sweet baby girl.
I feel that I’ve grown older more quickly since she entered my life but in the best way possible. I’m more patient, more kind, more wise, and more thoughtful. I’m also more tired and tolerant of smells and loud noises. I appreciate the little things – like a snuggle or a kiss – and I relish in the quiet moments where Annabelle, Brandon, and I are together.
When I turned 29, it was the first birthday I had spent home in a long time – our celebration was low key, but totally amazing. Brandon made me feel so important, with lots of presents and dairy free cupcakes. My Mom and sisters sent me all sorts of goodies in the mail and my new friends at school decorated my classroom. That weekend, Brandon took us to our favorite Mexican restaurant and Annabelle couldn’t have been more excited to eat beans and rice.
My 29th year has been quite interesting. I taught first grade at a new school – a private school that’s everything I ever dreamed a school could be. I have made SO many friends since we moved to Georgia that I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. One of these friends is someone whom I know will be a forever friend. She has helped me through some difficult times the last few months and I am deeply grateful for her in my life.
Things have changed a lot in my life over the last 20 years. There have been instances I will never talk about, but those experiences have shaped me into the woman I am today. Life is filled with disappointment, but its always overflowing with amazing opportunities. I am blessed to have a handsome, hilarious, loving husband who takes care of Annabelle and me like we are the most important people on this planet.
I am beyond lucky to have a family that loves me for me. They are there when the world seems to be falling apart. Over the last ten years, my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins remain to stand by my side. There are so many of them that they couldn’t fit into one picture… so add about 15 people to the one below.
This is 30
Truthfully, I don’t want to turn 30 but it’s going to happen whether I want it to or not. I have to put on a brave face and enter my 30th year with confidence that I can do and be whoever I want to be. I have high hopes that wonderful times are a comin’ since everyone tells me their thirties are better than their twenties. We shall see though… I’ll check back in ten years and let you know how they compare.