This is 30 AF

As I’m inching closer to the end of my 20s, I’ve found myself reflecting back on my last few years and realizing how it’s shaped me into who I am today. I think I can confidently say that my 20s have served their purpose - I’ve done a lot, learned a lot, experienced a lot, seen a lot, and felt a lot.

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Thinking back to my college days at UNL – parties, football games, eating my weight in dining hall food, spending hours in the gym, working at the bar, all of this seems like a lifetime ago.

Then moving back to Omaha. Thinking of my beloved apartment – how much I loved living alone and decorating. And how I wouldn’t spend the $20 a month on internet, so I’d drive to the coffee shop across the street to use my laptop in my car.

I think back to going out with my best friend, and getting ready at her condo. And, of course, always ending our night at Village Inn, with some of Omaha’s finest at 1am, if she hadn’t performed her infamous Irish-goodbye.

Then there’s always the relationships - both the good and the bad. Experiencing different types of both love and heartache. It was messy and real, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way because ultimately, it resulted in finding my soul mate at age 29 and getting engaged a few short months later.

I’ve seen my family grow. I’ve gained a sister-in-law, two nephews, and two nieces and a few goldendoodles along the way. Welcoming Hudson into my life was hands-down the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m pretty sure it’s the same feeling new parents get when they have kids.

Oftentimes you spend your 20s thinking you don’t have your life together while comparing yourself to others. You want love, a good job, a house, and a baby, basically an all-around “perfect life.” I’ve realized, at least for me, you don’t get all that at once. You have to go through the hard times to find the good.

The best advice I can give is that you’re not alone.

Be young and dumb. I’ve had my share of dumb moments – from hanging out with random strangers on vacation (one of these many times turned into being a large part of my move to Chicago), drinking a little too much on occasion, and running three marathons within five months. These are the moments that you will look back on and laugh at.

Do things that scare you. Take a trip by yourself to another country. Quit your unfulfilling job and move to a new city. Jump out of a plane. This builds character and is quite humbling.

Be comfortable with yourself. Date yourself. Go to dinner alone. Go to a movie alone. Love yourself before you can expect anyone else to love you.

Listen to your gut. As much as we all try to fight it at times, our gut knows best. Don’t date someone out of comfort when you know it’s not right deep down. Don’t do something that you don’t feel is right. Your gut has an eerily accurate way of just knowing.

Find what you love and make time for it. I spent a very large part of my 20s in jobs I hated. If you find yourself in that type of situation it’s even more important for you to seek happiness through hobbies or side jobs. I volunteered, started a blog, dabbled in photography, tried every type of exercise out there, I immersed myself in everything to find life outside of a soul-sucking job. If you’re really lucky then you will soon find a job that will marry both, your career and your hobby.

Surround yourself with those who lift you higher. I’ve heard you turn into the average of the five people you spend your most time being around. Keep friends around you who are motivating, inspiring, positive, challenge you in a good way, and are overall adding value to your life. I’ve had some downright sucky friendships – people who drain your energy through negative energy, or who you have to walk on eggshells to not upset. Those are not good relationships to be in. Friendship is something we get to choose. Choose wisely.

Let go of those who don’t serve a purpose in your life. People come in and out of our lives for a purpose – and some are meant to serve that purpose and move on. It’s not worth your time to force relationships of any kind to overstay their welcome.

When you think you've done all you can, let go and leave it up to higher powers (God, fate, whatever you believe in). This may sound cliché, but it’s so true. I’m not saying just don’t try or to give up. But I can name instances with jobs, relationships, projects, and even in running, when I’ve repeatedly given something my all and as soon as I lighten my grip, it all works out. You can only control so much, and some things are just out of your hands (and this is coming from a Type-A, super control freak).

Like I said, my 20s have served their purpose, I’ve grown up and learned a thing or two in my old age. Now, let’s celebrate. Cheers to the birthday weekend.