30 before 30 – things to be proud of

Tomorrow is my 30th birthday. At the moment, I feel pretty okay about that. No doubt it’s a big milestone, but I also don’t think 30 is old anymore. I never made a list of things I wanted to do before I’m 30, either, so there’s no sense of a deadline hanging over me. My 20s were huge in terms of personal growth – I feel like I’m coming out of them a totally different person in so many lot of ways. But I still like to celebrate birthdays in the same way so tomorrow will be a quiet day, with a proper celebration happening in May – a trip to Warner Brothers Studio, which I am way overexcited about!

One thing that seems to be remaining with me from my 20s to my 30s is an occasional lack of confidence. So, though I didn’t make a list of things I wanted to do before I turned 30, I would still like to make a 30 before 30 list – things I have accomplished or am proud of in other ways. Some are funny, some random, some serious, but all are important to me. I’ve found this a great way to put my life in perspective, and I hope it might inspire you to do the same. So, without further ado, in no particular order:

  • Become an aunt, twice.
  • IMG_3190
  • Fallen in love & gotten married.

    Dumbelton wedding May 24, 2014, in Mountain Grove, Mo.
    Dumbelton wedding May 24, 2014, in Mountain Grove, Mo.
  • On a related note, planned a handmade wedding from another continent. And made a wedding cake. And catered for 40 people.

    Dumbelton wedding May 24, 2014, in Mountain Grove, Mo.
    Dumbelton wedding May 24, 2014, in Mountain Grove, Mo.
  • Gotten over my fear of public speaking
  • Made croissants from scratch.
  • Used a recipe that has only a list of ingredients.
  • Helped build a house.
  • Travelled to another country for a job interview (and not gotten the job).
  • Held one of the jobs in my list of all-time dream jobs.
  • Arrived in a country without knowing where I was going to live.
  • Survived a sexual assault &, a few years later, revisited the area where it happened.
  • Marched in at least 3 domestic violence/sexual assault awareness events, 2 in the US and 1 in the UK.
  • Grown & donated my hair to Locks of Love at least 3 times.
  • jens ponytail cut off
  • Bought a house.
  • Spent several months researching & writing my MA dissertation in the Duke Humphrey’s library at the Bodleian.
  • Danced next to one of Babbage’s difference engines.
  • P1050865
  • Maintained deep & meaningful friendships across several countries & 2 continents.
  • Learned a second language (German).
  • Knitted a lace dress & worn it in public.
  • P1170731
  • Stayed overnight at a convent (visiting family).
  • IMG_0690_1
  • Sung as part of a small ensemble at a performance of Handel’s Messiah.
  • Drawn a picture that is still hanging up in a public place. (A picture of grapes & wine that I was paid $5 and is still on display at my mom’s workplace.)
  • Travelled to 8 countries and 11 of the U.S. states.
  • Learned to love being by myself.
  • Literally had my life saved by a church; I was severely depressed for part of university & there is at least one specific moment I am 99% sure I would’ve attempted suicide if I hadn’t had a friend from church I knew I could call. I consider myself extremely lucky.
  • Met Neil Gaiman twice.
  • P1150481
  • Gone overseas just for a concert (Arcade Fire in Berlin).
  • P1030630
  • Taken part in a falconry demonstration.
  • falconer
  • Taken 2 writing classes with one of the poets I admire most.

Oh, and I’ve had to wear coordinating outfits with my sister:

me&Stef

I guess that’s not as much as some people have done by the time they’re 30, but it’s not too bad, really. There are still a lot of things I’d like to do in the next 10 years – lots more travelling, lots more adventure and maybe even growing our family.

 

 

5 thoughts on “30 before 30 – things to be proud of”

  1. Happy birthday for tomorrow!!!!! 30 is not old in the slightest. 😃 As a woman it is an amazing decade. You are so lucky to just be starting it. I am about to turn 40 (but still don’t care). Getting older is a beautiful achievement. Each year that passes I am more “me” and more unapologetic for being me. Life is beautiful (even when the immediate is frankly shitty). So beautiful stranger, welcome to the 30s club 😃

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  2. You’ve done lots of amazing things!!! A very happy birthday to you! I’m 35 now (gloooooooooooom!) and it’s not soo bad!!
    And yay for the Hallelujah (I played the Messiah recently!) and also for the church!!x

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  3. Jennifer, I learned so much about you from this post. You are so incredible. And that dress you knitted, wowza. SO BEAUTIFUL! I know I am late on the birthday train but I am so happy to know you.

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