I am turning 30 next week! I have a lot of feelings about that and things I want to do in my 30s, but I’ll save those for another post. Today, I wanted to take a moment to appreciate my 20s, all the amazing things I did, the places I saw, and the people I did them with. It was an amazing decade, and I’m so thankful for it.
Your 20s really are a period of self-discovery. I tried new jobs, fell in love, learned so much, grew up as I moved out on my own, and figured out who I am and what I really want out of life. Because of the amazing experiences I had, I feel like I’m going into my 30s self-assured and confident in who I am. I’m ready to enter my 30s, but I will always look back on my 20s with wonder and ask myself if I really did all of these things.
My reverse bucket list for my 20s:
1. I rocked 5 deployments. Every time Nick left, I would do something for myself. Once I got an awesome new job, another time I started my Masters degree. There were many beach days, some tears, lots of takeout, and many hours spent emailing Nick on his submarine. But I finished each one stronger than before, more confident in myself, and a lot more grown up.
2. And I hugged Nick tight when he came home.
3. I hiked all over Hawaii.
4. I celebrated the holidays in Denmark with Nick and his sister. We got the full hygge experience, drinking hot chocolate, sitting outside to eat dinner and drink wine while cozied under blankets, lingering in cozy coffee shops, and walking all over Tivoli.
5. I took a road trip through New Zealand with Nick for our honeymoon.
6. I went wine tasting in Napa to celebrate two years of marriage with Nick.
7. I PCSed with Nick three times in three years: to Hawaii, then Connecticut, and then back to Hawaii. This is us 5 days after we got married, PCSing to Hawaii.
8. I walked on a glacier.
9. I got to ride a real live working submarine and see Nick in action.
10. I watched more sunrises than I can count.
11. I started this blog that I have come to be super proud of. Because of this blog, I’ll have more pictures of myself than I’ll ever need. Thankfully, I have a great blog husband who doesn’t mind.
12. I hung out with sled dogs in Alaska.
13. I met Nick right after I turned 20. We got married 5 years later.
14. I got a bachelor’s degree in English. This is a picture of me working on my senior thesis, which I wrote about Harry Potter and will never stop talking about.
15. I got a Masters degree in Health Communication. I lived at home so I didn’t have to pay rent, so I was able to pay for that degree without taking any loans and I am really thankful for that.
16. I went to Mt. Rainier.
17. I pretended I was a Hogwarts student, drinking butterbeer and walking around Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. I couldn’t get Nick to dress up, but he still humored me and played along!
18. I hiked in Yosemite National Park and then at night I saw more stars than I’ve ever seen in my life.
19. I surprised my dad in New York when I was supposed to be in Hawaii.
20. I planned a surprise birthday party for Nick.
21. I took a road trip through Washington and Oregon with Nick and walked in a real, live rainforest, the Hoh Rainforest.
22. I went with my mom to visit one of my best friends in Bulgaria.
23. I got paid to write. I studied English in college. You know how people say that an English degree is kind of pointless, like you can’t really get a good job with it? It’s a joke I heard a lot in college that always annoyed me, but I just had this idea that I would get some kind of writing job after college and I never really worried about it. I’ve gotten a couple of writing jobs since then. I’m proud of myself for actually being able to do that, thanks to my English degree, which taught me how to write, analyze, and think about things for myself, and of course, all of the coffee.
24. I learned how to cook. The very first meal I tried to make had to be thrown out, but since then, I’ve made some pretty good stuff. Baking is my favorite, for obvious reasons.
25. I slept in a treehouse in Kauai.
26. I swam with Hawaiian green sea turtles.
27. I went on trips with my entire family. We went to Washington, Virginia, and Disney World. I feel like once people get older they don’t go on as many trips with their whole family so I am really thankful for those trips. Here’s my brother and me in Washington.
28. I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and saw Starry Night with my friends.
29. I hiked 12.1 miles on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
I’m so lucky that my husband loves new adventures and traveling. Many of the things I did on this list were things I did with him, and most were even his idea! He always has something up his sleeve, some new place to go or thing to try. I am so thankful that I met Nick when I turned 20 and that we’ve built a great life together.
There is a theme to this list. The things that I remember from my 20s are the experiences I had, the trips I took, and the people I did those things with. Of course, I’m proud of academic and professional accomplishments, and I’m thankful for my degrees. But those are just a few items on my list of 29.
There’s so much more to my life than those things.
I want to remember this going into my 30’s. I want to remember to take the time to go on new adventures. I want to remember to turn off the TV and get outside. The things that matter most to me and are the things I’m going to pursue throughout my 30s. Hiking, new adventures, learning new things, exploring, time with family and friends — those are the things that I want more of in my 30s.
What are some of the awesome things did in your 20s?