I happen to love the humor surrounding the 'this is 30' hashtag.  I'm honestly in shock that I'm writing this blog post tonight.  I can still vividly remember my 13th birthday party in the small town I grew up in called Goodwine.  At that time, my parents were still married and both worked for Standard Register.  I had a handful of girls over for a slumber party and my parents surprised me with a 15 gallon bag of white and hot pink confetti from work.  (Yep - terrible for the environment but it was 2000 ... did people really care back then?)  We had the BEST time under the streetlight at the end of our lane ... having a confetti party.  I think that confetti was stuck in the pavement for years...

I've come a hell of a long way in my life.  So many women fear turning 30 like it's this terrible scarlet letter we wear ... THIRTY.  Honestly, I am stoked about it.  I had to grow up so young - that I've felt older than my years for two third's of my life.  It's nice to finally 'be older' and really be as old as I feel.  Also, I met my now husband when I was 23 and we started dating when I was 24 (I think...).  At the time he was 46, then 47.  It is great to enter my thirties because now I'm not that 20-something new wife ;).  And, I have heard a million times that the thirties are truly the best decade - so I'm excited!! 

So in honor of leaving what was a fabulous decade ... I hired my fantastic SIL, Kara Evans, to capture a 30th birthday 'cake smash' style photoshoot.  Why?  Because, well, why the f*ck not?!  I am in love with this one beautiful life and I am not going to let a birthday ... a turning over of a decade ... diminish my celebration! Also in honor of turning over a new decade, I wanted to take a moment to write a letter to my 20 year old self ... because I wish someone would have told me these things ten years ago.  Maybe this will reach a 20-something like me who needs to read the message.  

dear 20yrold me.jpg

Stop being so mad at everything.  Your life, your parents, your challenging upbringing, your student loan debt - being pissed off won't make it go away.  Just forgive and move forward.  

Please, oh please, slow down on the spending.  I get it - you want to 'keep up with the Joneses'.  AKA the hip, popular, basic girls of Lincoln Park.  You don't need to charge those boots, charge that bag, charge that night out at the bar, make just the minimum payments, buy that brand new car on payments for 5 years.  YOU DON'T.  You'll leave your twenties barely making a dent in your student loans and you won't have had that brand new car for years but may still be rolling that negative equity over. 

Stop thinking that you deserve a promotion because of 'time served' at a company.  You have to EARN that promotion with your contributions to the company.  That being said, don't let corporate walk all over you.  If you have reached the end of your upward movement at a company making valuable contributions then ... leave it.  You'll make more money if you leave and if they really miss you and need you back, they'll have to put their money where their mouth is.  

Save your money.  You should have a few grand (minimum) in savings (not to include your retirement investments) by the time you hit 30.  If you don't start now, you'll never get that much either.  Trust me!

Take girls trips.  They fill you back up.  

Take romantic getaways with your S.O.  They fill you back up. 

Take a trip alone.  They fill you back up.  

Say no if you can't afford it.  Nothing sexier than a woman with no consumer debt and a nice savings account. 

Skip the bread in the basket before dinner - you don't need those carbs.  But, never skip the wine.  

Don't move right in with your S.O.  Let there be courtship.  Besides, there's nothing better than 'going home' for a few days when they start to get a bit too comfortable.  

On that note - I know you wanna move in together, get wife'd up and have babies.  But, just slow down!!! You have so much time for all of that.  Don't be so quick to give up that name you've had all your life - it means something to you too.  

Buy yourself a stationary bike for all that DVR catching up on ... 

Enjoy all the alone time that you can.  Polish your nails while watching TV because you can.  Whiten your teeth on a Tuesday night ... because you can.  Take a long bubble bath with a book, a few candles and a bottle of wine ... because you can.  Go for a long run along the lakefront ... because you can.  Go out on a Saturday morning with no plans but to pop into some boutiques.  Meet some girlfriends for brunch, then boutique/bar hopping, then out for a night out ... simply because you can.  Before you know it, you'll be a wife, dog mama, business owner and a new mom - you'll desperately miss alone time. 

If you hate your job - change it.  You spend most of your life at work ... so if you don't at least LIKE what you do then you're in for a long ride.  

Be different. 

Go take your grandma's to lunch and don't rush them.

Stop worrying about what you look like naked.  Have sex with your S.O. with the lights on.  Get a little bit adventurous in the bedroom.  Life is toooooo short for vanilla sex.  Be fun, spontaneous, curious, and confident.  He doesn't notice the cellulite and rolls - trust me.  

Apologize to your new sisters-in-law when you hurt their feelings.  So what that you didn't grow up with sisters and you didn't join Greek life in college and you don't really know how to handle a bunch of women.  That isn't a free pass to be a bitch to your bro's wives. ;)  

Understand that some friends come to stay and some friends go - and that's ok. 

In every experience - you win something or you learn something. 

Don't waste a fortune on a wedding - the marriage is where you should really invest your time and effort. 

Try your best to be ready and 'try' for a baby.  You're never ready to become a parent - but you're a hell of a lot more ready if you plan and then try.  

Do not, and I repeat, do not dye your hair every color under the sun.  Yes, it's fun to try on different looks - but you fry your hair going from black to brown to Gwen Stefani platinum and back.

Lastly, remember that you are one badass GirlBoss.  The world needs you and the unique gifts that only you have.  Grow yourself and share those gifts with the world.  We need the incredible and unique you.