30 Before 30

It hit me this past weekend that I’m almost 30. For so long, 30 seemed old. Now it’s kind of the new 20 (but you go to bed earlier and can’t drink as much). It’s funny that at 18, I thought I would have been married for at least 5 years by now, and have a couple of kids, living in Raleigh, NC, and have a house-full of dogs, too. Even at 22, I thought I’d have kids by now.

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But we don’t. Instead, we have our two furbabies that I treat like kids (we celebrated Tucker’s 8th birthday this weekend with a trip to Petsmart for new toys that he picked out, a big belly rub and cuddle-sesh mid-morning, a long walk with the whole family and then cupcakes after dinner).

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At almost 30, I think we’ll definitely have a kid by the time 32 rolls around for me (35 for my husband), maybe even two – but we’re not in a hurry. First we want to travel more, starting with our European vacation this summer and South Africa next spring. Knocking a few more things off the list before we change up our lives completely.

birthday1I have always LOVED celebrating birthdays (or any other random holiday, or reason I can find to celebrate). Some of my favorite birthdays have been spent having large gatherings with friends, or visiting beaches with my husband (this year we did Key West). I was inspired by a few lists/challenges I’ve seen others doing to knock things off of a somewhat “bucket list” before they turn 30.

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Emily Thomas, author of Em For Marvelous is doing a 60 before 30 list. Some girls I went to college with are trying to rack up 30 race medals before they turn 30. I think I’ll stick with being my random self and doing just 30 different things before I turn 30.

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30 before 30

  1. Do 3 more 10k runs (equaling 30k) — 2nd goal? Get my sister-in-law to run one with me.
  2. Volunteer for 30 hours with a charity (or multiple charities)
  3. Do 30 hours of yoga
  4. Visit Paris
  5. Visit London
  6. Visit Ireland
  7. Foster (3) dogs (if I said 30, I might be getting divorced before I turn 30, so we’ll stick with 3)
  8. Go to Charleston
  9. Go to Savannah
  10. Read 30 books
  11. Write 30 blog posts
  12. Go on a tropical vacation (I’m thinking Costa Rica, Belize, Turks & Caicos, San Juan…)
  13. Take a cooking class
  14. Help 5 more items be crossed off the Pretty in Pink bucket lists
  15. Celebrate our two year wedding anniversary (and 6 year dating anniversary)
  16. Visit Tonya in Colorado
  17. Go zip-lining
  18. Have an album with our wedding/anniversary pictures created
  19. Run another half marathon | Hokie Half | Jekyll Island Half | Savannah Half
  20. Pay off another student loan
  21. Re-organize our master closet
  22. Get a porch swing (or my grandfather’s glider)
  23. Learn how to use my SLR in manual
  24. Learn how to do calligraphy (I have the class paid for, all the materials…. time?)
  25. See Florence + the Machine in concert
  26. Spend a weekend with my BFF Sarah
  27. Meet my BFF Brittney’s new son, Holden
  28. Go whitewater rafting
  29. Eat more tomatoes from our garden than the squirrels do this year
  30. Get my thesis published

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I know some of these items are technically already planned, and that’s okay. I need to follow thru with them. I’m excited to tackle these things in the next 10 months, and to continue working on saying ‘yes’ when people ask us to do things (instead of eating in our neighborhood and binge watching House of Cards), being more patient with people, trying to be more timely / not 5 minutes late to everything in life, and crushing it at work.

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The last one is tough for me because I’ve gotten in a groove and I feel pretty good at my job, I’m recognized for doing a good job and I’m in a good place. There have been some opportunities lately that I’ve looked into but they’ve all asked that I move to Boston if offered the job and I just don’t want to move to Boston. I LOVE Charlotte. I love our life here. I love our friends here. I love our house here. I love how close we are to both of our families. And I know that if I move there, I won’t have the chance to move back here and stay with the same company (most likely – things change!). NC feels like home to us. For the right opportunity, we might consider moving, but right now I’m in a good spot, and I’m okay. I don’t need a career change. So… yeah. Onto tackling my 30 before 30 list. I will update as items are able to be marked off.

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I’m still trying to raise money to help cancer champions mark items off of their bucket lists, you can read more and donate here. I heard about another lady in NC trying to do a similar thing (on a larger scale) and I am going to try to combine forces with her. Stay tuned!

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Love what you do

Finding happiness in your work may not always be possible, but it is definitely what we all want in our careers. From a young age, we desire success. We plan to be doctors, teachers, lawyers… or a veterinarian in my case. We talk about families, travel and our jobs, even as children. I remember playing “house” as a kid and pretending I had a job that I was coming home from. Most people work because they have to, but it’s nice if you can find a job that you love if you’re going to have to do it anyway. 

unnamed-3I watched the movie “Bounce” when I was younger. Yes, back when Ben Affleck was still a respectable movie star (before Gigli). I decided then that I wanted to be in Advertising when I grew up. I focused my undergrad on Advertising and my grad school on Communications. Luckily, I’ve been successful in my career and in finding jobs that align with my degrees. But it didn’t come without work. Growing up we weren’t rich, we weren’t poor either, but we certainly weren’t considered “well off.” I think that created a drive in me (and in my brother) that has helped our careers, shaped our personalities and made us who we are today. Having not been handed everything in life, I understand the value of hard work. I respect the power of networking and make every attempt to make valuable connections. Being ambitious (or aggressive in my career, as some have said), I am not afraid to ask to join meetings, groups, events, or set up time to chat about what a department or person does. It may seem bold, but it has only benefited me to this point in my career. I also believe in taking every opportunity I can to develop myself personally and professionally (i.e.: grad school, CCMP, trainings, reading influential books, etc.). 
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While I was in grad school, I was in a communication role and doing work that I wanted to do. However, I also fell in love with the power of social media and wanted to pursue that passion. Along with falling in love, I also fell into a position as a social media consultant. Having been in that role, I learned a lot about social media, how businesses use social media, how little some people know about social media and a lot about myself. I grew a lot from that experience and realized I needed to become more of a teacher than a do-er. I never wanted to manage social media for anyone but myself, but I do want people to understand the value of certain platforms and how it can help their company. I was incredibly busy at the point in my life, with grad school, planning a wedding, a full time job and consulting – but I was happy. I was doing what I loved. 

I’m always a proponent of doing what you love. I constantly send friends job posting that I think align with their career goals or skills. I review and edit resumes and cover letters for friends and family regularly. I try to help people make connections, do mock interviews or seek out opportunities to become qualified for their dream job. We all deserve to be happy. Being comfortable in a job can make it hard to leave. Being unsure of the future or fearful of a pay decrease can, too. I think happiness wins. Happiness trumps money. 

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It’s really easy for us to settle in life and stop making attempts to move forward. I’m sure I’ll get to that point in my career but I’m not there yet. Right now, I’m enjoying a corporate role in communications and my side gig of being a social media consultant within the community. Today, I urge you to look at what you’re doing and ask yourself if it’s what you love. If it’s not, take an hour this evening to search for your “dream job” and see what the qualifications are – and if you are missing more than 40% of them, set goals to get qualified. If you meet them and you have just been scared to jump, I say DO IT. It can’t hurt to update your resume, interview and see what’s out there. If you’re happier at work, you’ll be happier when you get home. It’s a win-win. Go out and aim for happiness! 

 

Happy, happy, happy!

We had a splendid 4th of July yesterday – despite the rain (and by rain, I mean torrential downpours, thunderstorms and clouds all day). We celebrated my cousin’s 10th birthday – and America’s at the same time! We have been doing a lot of celebrating lately – and I apologize that this isn’t really a “wedding post” but I had to share. My ever-so-studious fiance just finished 2 more classes through Northeastern University for his Master’s and earned A’s in both (brag!). And last week, I was offered a BIG promotion with my company, while staying in the Communications arena.

I had to wait to make the announcement – which was tough – especially since I wanted to shout it from the rooftop! I applied for the job on a whim, thinking I really had no shot, it was grades above where I was, I had just earned my Master’s which they wanted but I didn’t have a lot of post-Master’s experience to apply, and I had just been promoted back in December so another jump so soon was not realistic. But alas, I had all of the qualifications and apparently didn’t sound too much like Miss South Carolina in my interviews.

I am so excited for this opportunity and all of the doors that it opens for me, and for my future family. Overwhelmingly, people have been happy for me (lots of screaming, jumping hugs in the elevators at work and tons of text messages), but I did have one person tell me “Don’t expect to be Top 10 again.” We are fortunate at my company to still get bonuses and those are based on your rating for the year. Last year, I was a Top 10 performer for the company and man, it felt good. Disappointing to be told that when I just got a “dream job” and am over-the-moon happy. However, since I’ve been reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandburg, I feel empowered. I feel excited. I feel like I can do anything.

First and foremost, I am going to marry the love of my life and spend 11 spectacular days in Aruba with him. But then, we can focus on our careers and figure out where we want to be before we start a family. I’m not the girl who wants to be a stay-at-home mom (nothing wrong with it!). I enjoy working, and I especially enjoy new challenges and opportunities. My fiance is the same way and while he is knee-deep in his Master’s studies right now, he is well on his way to his next opportunity. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.

The next 43 days hold lots of last minute details, DIY crafts and collecting of RSVPs. Counting down!

Happy weekend!