Turning 30: December Edition

While a lot of people make the “30 Before 30” list, I never made one. I have a bucket list that I feel is sufficient and don’t need to add yet another To-Do List to my life.

When I was a teenager, I had everything mapped out, and then this funny thing called Life happened. Basically, I wanted the American Dream: A house, a husband, and 2.4 kids (whatever that means). In Junior High, the BFFO and I actually created little books made out of magazine clippings of what our lives would look like by 30. We created floor plans of our dream houses, and then decorated those rooms. We even added pictures of kids playing outside in our perfectly manicured back yards. I think part of the plan was living next door to each other, too. Clearly, all of this worked out perfectly. (I hope you noted the extreme sarcasm dripping from that sentence. If you didn’t, we probably aren’t friends.)

When I turned 26, I had this mini panic attack. I hadn’t accomplished ANYTHING. I started putting pressure on Señor about marriage and kids. Ultimately, this led to our demise (well, it was partially to blame) and we broke up. After about a week Señor realized he couldn’t live without me because I’m so amazing. Well, that only a half truth. I also read a magazine article about not putting so much pressure on yourself about turning 30 and it’s perfectly fine to not be super accomplished. So, that helped some – because what guy wants to date a neurotic mess?

I digress.

After reading that oh-so-official Glamour article, I lightened up. A little part of me still wanted to be able to be married by 30, but I knew it would be okay if that didn’t happen. As I got a little older every year, I became more okay with it. I met people who had waited to get married, waited to have kids, and it was totally okay. They weren’t social pariahs. They were financially stable. They had traveled. They had acted foolishly. And then, when they were ready to settle down, they did. And, because they had waited, they were happier.

Now here I am on the heels of 30, and I’m so thankful Señor stood his ground and didn’t give in to my neurotic fit of needing to be married ASAP just to appease some social stigma. Instead, we took the time to talk, and both agreed that the most important thing to us is to buy a house. We want something that is ours, which has a yard for Houdini and the kids to run around in, as well as space inside for everyone to retreat to when we don’t want to be near each other. And while this isn’t the most traditional route, and some people may frown upon it, oh well. We know what is best for us. Plus, neither of us can fathom the idea of dropping $20k on a wedding while still living in an apartment.

In the end, when February rolls around and I turn the big 3-0, all I ask is that we’ve started the home buying process. Oh, and for health and happiness and all that good stuff, too.

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Turning 30: November Edition

Things I’m Glad I Did Before I Turned 30

Most people look back upon their 20s with a little pink in their cheeks and exclamations of “I can’t believe I did that!” You won’t catch me doing that very often. My 20s were a decade of memories and times I wouldn’t change – even the bad ones. I’m a strong believer in “Everything happens for a reason” – even though that reason isn’t always revealed right away. I like silver linings. I like a happy ending.

So, let’s look back at my 20s and discuss what I’m glad I did before I turned 30.

 

Vegas.
I mean, come on. Vegas requires energy for long nights that turn into early mornings multiple times in a row. It makes me tired just remembering that trip. But, it gave me a closer relationship with my cuñada and her now hubby, as well as Señor. This was our first big trip together.

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50oz. drinks with my cuñada

 

 

Serial Dating.
While I only had 2 serious boyfriends before Señor, I did date a few other guys along the way. Each one taught me a little bit more about myself and what I truly wanted in a man whom I would eventually want to settle down with.

Love & Laughter.

Love & Laughter.

 

Moving Across the Country, Just Because.
Summer 2007: Most of my friends were graduating college, but I had taken a year off so I still had at least one year until graduation. I decided to find a job anywhere but the Midwest for the summer, and ended up in Tallahassee, Florida. I enjoyed myself so much down there, that I decided to apply for entrance to Florida State University, was accepted, and attended for a semester. It was too damn hot in the winter and I missed my family, so I said “Peace Out”, packed up my Cavalier, grabbed my cat, and drove back to Sweet Home Chicago. I fondly call my time at FSU my “semester abroad”. It’s deep south – an hour from Alabama and 20 minutes from Southern Georgia. It don’t get more southern than that. (Yes, I did that on purpose.)

F-L-O-R-I-D-A S-T-A-T-E!
Florida State! Florida State! Florida State!

 

College Nicole.
There’s this mythical creature whom Señor and I fondly refer to as “College Nicole”. She was really cool & hip. She liked to participate in Thirsty Thursdays despite a Friday morning physics class. She partied ‘til 6am on the weekends. As President of her dorm, she helped her friends sneak a pony keg up the back entrance for an end of school year party. She would drink ‘til she was warm so she didn’t have to wear a coat to frat parties. Her proudest achievement during college was the weekend of two birthday parties and Tour de Franzia. There are so many more stories about this mythical creature; we would be here all day. Needless to say, College Nicole evolved into Responsible Nicole, and Responsible Nicole realizes she just doesn’t rebound as easily as she did during her run as College Nicole.

Tour de Franzia 2007.  Yes, that is a bag of wine.

Tour de Franzia 2007.
Yes, that is a bag of wine.

 

Made New Friends.
You won’t stay in touch with a lot of your high school friends. Facebook doesn’t count. If you can’t call them up on the phone without it being awkward, they’re not really your friend. The friends I made in college were people who didn’t know my entire history, people who took me as I was. They dressed up with me for theme parties and took me to see bands who would later invite us to their after parties in their hotel, then grab a cab with me at 6am. They are the ones who would later ask me to be in their wedding and share with me the good news of a baby on the way.

Danielle's wedding. November 2013.

Danielle’s wedding. November 2013.

 

Something Reckless.
I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane and IT. WAS. AWESOME. Later, I would learn that this adversely affected my life insurance policy. Luckily, I was still young enough to get a decent rate.

Skydiving. Summer 2009.

Skydiving. Summer 2009.

 

Finished College.
College requires a lot of time and effort. I’m too tired for all that right now, especially with my full-time job. Just the thought of pursuing my Master’s makes me tired.

Graduation Day! May 2011

Graduation Day! May 2011

 

Got Comfortable.
I’m very comfortable in my own skin. I own my quirks and force find people to see them as endearing. I also just don’t give a damn what most people think. I was so glad to find that comfort in my 20s – it’s so important for growth.

Awkward.

Awkward.

 

Life Changing Trip with the People Closest to You.
My BFFO, her hubby, Señor, and I went to California for a week. We met up in San Francisco and drove down the Pacific Coast Highway to LA to attend the 10 year vow renewal of a good friend. It forced us to be in close quarters for multiple days, to be budget conscious, and for the BFFO and I – to be spontaneous. It was the best trip of my life, and I’ll never regret who I spent it with.

Chinatown - San Francisco

Chinatown – San Francisco

 

Cleaning House.
Sometimes, you have to change your life in drastic ways. And sometimes, that means ending relationships you have come to realize are no longer fruitful, but hurtful. One day, I hope to reconcile with one of these people when we are both older, wiser, and able to accept fault.

Chuckin' Up the Deuces.

Chuckin’ Up the Deuces.

 

 

I had so much fun going through pictures to share here. It was so hard to pick only one picture for each mini-story. Lots of good times with great people. But I’m looking forward to more good times with great people, especially the ones here ❤  Bring it, 30s!

Orleatha & Chris' 10 Year Vow Renewal - California Road Trip. May 2013.

Orleatha & Chris’ 10 Year Vow Renewal
California Road Trip. May 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RIP College Nicole.

 

 

Countdown to 30: October Edition

Please pay close attention to this statement: I am closer to 30 than I am 29.

In less than 4 months, I will hit the big 3-oh. I have told Señor on numerous occasions that I want a party, and I want him to plan it (or at least confer with my party planning BFFO), and I have been telling him this since I turned 28. He kind of brushes me off, but hey – all I want is a birthday party. It’s not like I’m giving him the ring ultimatum. (But a ring on MY THIRTIETH BIRTHDAY?! Now that would probably be the best 30th birthday EVER in the history of birthdays. Just sayin’.)

I digress. Back to the topic at hand…

As a tribute to my waning 20s, I want to cover some things in this blog before I turn the big 3-oh:

  • November: Things I’m Glad I Did Before 30
  • December: Things I Want to Do Before 30
  • January: Things I’m Proud of Doing Before 30
  • February: Things I Look Forward to in My 30s

In this particular blog, I’m going to go over my 20s timeline – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Early 20s (20-23) 
This was a rough time in my life. I was just out of the teen years, and still “finding” myself. I had gone away to college with the intention of reinventing myself from HS me. I drank and partied college-style, I had two on again-off again relationships (not at the same time!), and I moved to Florida to get away from Boy #1. I also had my first, and only, Summer Fling.

Mid 20s (24-26)
I was starting to get smarter, wiser, and I grew some lady cajones. I told Boy #1 to take a hike, I was tired of his games. I was told to take a hike by Boy #2. I went back to school and completed by Bachelor’s. I met Señor – and fell in love – despite swearing off guys with a heavy history. I started my first real job.

Late 20s (27-29)
Here I am. I’m on my 4th job since graduating college. I live with Señor and have part-time kids (stepsons) and a full-time dog.

I feel like I am about ready close the chapter of “finding” myself, and start writing the next chapters during my 30s, building upon the foundation I have laid out these past 9 years.