December 29, 2014

Thirty

30!

I've been meaning to write this post since my birthday (Nov. 29th), but I haven't had time to just sit down and write. I've had a lot of feelings and emotions and thoughts both leading up to, during, and after turning 30. 

So today, exactly one month after my 30th birthday, I'd like to share a few of those thoughts; in particular, a few life lessons and reflections now that I'm at an age where I can give out my pearls of wisdom with some legitimacy. ;) And just for fun, I'm going to scatter photos of my 30th birthday celebration throughout this post. I wanted to do something befitting my entry into my 30s (OK, really, I just wanted to do something where I could dress up and go out!), but I didn't want to break the bank. So I hosted a sit-down, formal dinner (with chargers and place cards and Salvadorian turkey, of course) for 16 people at my home. And I took a break mid-prep to go to the temple. It only seemed fitting to start this new life chapter with a visit to the Lord's house. After dinner, we went downtown to see The Shakespeare Theatre Company's interpretation of As You Like It.


30th bday
Group selfie! It was hard to fit all 16 of us in the shot, but we got almost everyone. :)

I think the most important thing about turning 30 is I feel much more confident in who I am and who I'm trying to become. I often think of my various selves -- my go-getting work self, my goody-two-shoes church self, my big sister/protective over people I love self, my Gilmore Girls-Netflix-watching/cookie-baking/puppy-loving/squeal-when-I-see-a-cute-baby self, and at 30, I own and acknowledge all of these "selves" make up my whole self. I am who I am, I'm me regardless of where I am or who I'm with, and I like who me is (who I am?). :)

I feel more secure in my choices and life decisions. There’s a sense of validity and legitimacy that comes from turning 30 that you just don’t have when you’re 29. Or maybe it’s all in my head.



30th birthday!
Table 1 (clockwise, starting with me): Me, Nils, Stephie, Dennis, Jackie, Nicole, Joseph, MarĂ­a)

I'm also trying to "own" my goals. My chief life goal right now is to find my eternal companion, get married, and start a family. I have no idea how any of this is going to happen, but I have faith that it will, and I intend to do all I can to make it happen. (Hello, internet?) Whereas before, I felt embarrassed to admit that out loud -- let alone on the worldwide web; yikes! -- it is what it is. Evidence of this new mentality: a few weeks ago, we had our staff holiday dinner. We took turns sharing what our "magic moment" will be in 2015. I kindly informed my team they were all invited to my wedding in Utah in 2015. ;) They all laughed, but I was like... No, guys, seriously... I figure it can't hurt to put it out into the universe, right? (Also, if you're reading this, and you know any cute, single, eligible Mormon men interested in dating a mostly laid-back but sometimes sassy over-achieving Latina, by all means, send 'em my way!)



30th birthday!
Table 2 (clockwise starting bottom left): David, Michelle. Jeffie, Kevin, Roxy, Andrea, Jimmy, Caitlin

More pearls of wisdom -- Now that I'm 30, I feel more confident and comfortable in my own skin. And whereas a few months ago, I was really nervous and anxious and worried about being 30 years old, dude, I'm 30, and I'm going to own it.


Don’t get me wrong. I still feel the weight of societal pressure and expectations about where I "should" be by age 30. I mean, just a few days ago, I saw a photo on Facebook of a guy I went to school with.. A photo of him, his wife… and their FOUR children. Yep. Four children. Did I mention we went to high school together? :-/ And for some reason, at least five of my Facebook friends (who are my age or younger) have hit their respective 9-year anniversaries this week. Shoot, I have a friend my age who will hit her 11-year wedding anniversary next year! (So crazy!)

30th bday
Me, blowing out my candles on my 30th bday, with my family joining with their own cake via Skype!
But what I’m trying to focus on is gratitude for the experiences I’ve had, the places I’ve been, and the opportunities that have come my way in my 30 years on this earth. I have been so very blessed! 

I've gotten to travel, pursue my education, live in the capital of the greatest country in the world, serve an 18-month mission that forever changed my life, and meet and befriend and serve with so many wonderful people. I recognize that if my life had turned out the way my younger self had envisioned (married in my early 20s with a bunch of babies running around by age 30), I wouldn’t have had these opportunities. I definitely wouldn’t have served a mission, moved to DC, or even considered graduate school. I understand these were experiences I needed to have. I am who I am today because of them, and I wouldn’t change any of it.

30th birthday!
At the theatre!
I've also felt the desire to think more long-term about things like... retirement, savings, nesting, home ownership, etc. I'm not gonna run out and buy a house tomorrow or anything, but I'd like to make sure I'm making decisions now that will allow me to pursue specific financial goals in the future. I think that makes me officially an adult, right? If anyone has tips or advice on any of the above -- specifically re: home buying and/or retirement, please let me know! 

I'm excited for this new decade and all the adventures it will hold! Cheers to growing up! :)


PS Remember my goal to not shop this year? I put it on hold temporarily for my birthday. Because a girl's 30th birthday clearly calls for gold sequins, a sparkly bracelet, and new shoes, obvs. :D



gold sequins and all things sparkly
Most of these links are out of stock,
but in case you're curious --
Shoes | Dress | Bracelet (similar bracelet)
30th bday outfit
I failed to take a photo of my birthday outfit,
so I had to resort to a mirror selfie.
Please don't judge me!

December 22, 2014

Christmas everywhere


My little brother has a friend joining us for Christmas this year.  She is visiting all the way from China. She didn't grow up celebrating Christmas, and it's already been fun to have her around and share little details with her. Like this morning.

We were riding the Frontrunner down to Salt Lake, and one of the UTA workers came by to wish us all a Merry Christmas and share a little Christmas cheer via candy cane. Shirley (my bro's friend) was intrigued by the oddly-shaped treat and asked what it was. I explained that it was a special type of candy we eat during Christmas. I refreshed her on the Christmas story and the shepherds who received the glad tidings of Christ's birth.

It struck me as such a beautiful thing that even as we get our sugar highs this season, we can find Christ and the REAL spirit of Christmas everywhere we go. :)

PS If you want a quick refresher on the Christmas story, click here to read this beautiful synopsis. It'll fill your heart with gratitude and cheer. :)