I turned 30 today. I know, I know I don’t look a day of 25. You’re too kind. Anyways, I have put together a list of 30 important events that happened in the last 30 years that made me who I am today. They are presented in chronological order.I can’t wait to see what the next 30 years has in store for me.
1: Born at Home: My mom likes to dance to her own beat and decided that I was going to be born at home with the help of midwives. My grandmother did not approve and left before I arrived. Everything was perfect and my mom still advocates for it.
2: Grew up in a Cookie Store: My parents owned a cookie store in downtown Atlanta when I was born so they did the only thing they could, drag their newborn to the store where I hung out in the back room for a couple of years.
3: Became a Big Sister, Twice: At the age of five my mom gave birth to my brother as I watched and then when my sister came along less than two years later, I decided I was done witnessing births. They are still two of the most amazing beings I know.
4: Conducted The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: My elementary school when twice a year to The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and they always had a couple of kids get up and conduct. So once, my music teacher was asked if she had any students that would like to do it and she asked me. It was terrifying and exhilarating even though I’m not sure they were even remotely looking at me.
5: Stayed up late making books: It may sound strange but some of my fondest memories are of me staying up past my bedtime in my room making books. I would use construction paper, images from my highlights magazine and ribbon to fashion little flip books. This was surely the beginning of the rest of my life making things.
6: Lived with a family in Lima, Peru: For one month the summer between elementary school and high school, my family stayed with friends in Lima. It was my first out of the country experience and I learned more than I can express in this post.
7: Participated in Stunt Night & Float Building: In high school, I was involved in class activities that allowed us freedom of expression and competed with other classes. This is where I first learned really how to cooperate with others and be creative as well.
8: Went to Hawaii with my parents: Hawaii is both lovely and beautiful, but the part about this experience that mattered was that both of my parents, who had not been married for many years, went with me. It really taught me what love, maturity & respect are.
9: Visited Paris instead of the Olympics: The summer the Olympics came to Atlanta, my mom put us on a plane to Paris. Maybe we missed out on something wonderful here but touring the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Giverny, & the Normandy beaches made it all worth it.
10: Close-Up, Washington DC: As a junior in high school, I was able to participate in a program aimed to teach young people what government is really about. I participated in debates, tours, lectures & roomed with kids from around the country. It was the first time I actually felt proud of my country.
11: Attended every game Peyton Manning played his senior year: So maybe you don’t know that I am a huge University of Tennessee fan and was long before I attended the school. On the weekends that I spent with my dad in the fall, we would often go to the games in Knoxville and everywhere else in the south east. We also went to The Fiesta Bowl the next year when The Vols won the national championship.
12: Yearly family getaways in Pigeon Forge: For many years now, I can’t remember how many, my Dad’s family has rented a cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for us to spend one weekend in the fall together. Not everyone can make it every year, but we all try to. It’s a lovely time to eat, shop, catch up & watch football.
13: Placed my own prayer in the wailing wall: My high school graduation present was to spend a month in Israel with my best friend who went every summer to visit family. We toured the Old City and visited the wailing wall. I just wish I could remember my prayer.
14: Spent a day on the beach in Tel Aviv: Some days are just so perfect that they stick in your memory forever. While visiting Israel, my friend and her friends from Tel Aviv took me to a cafe on the beach where we sat in the sun and ate french fries until the sun went down.
15: Left home to make new friends: It may sound trite but the friends that I made in college are some of the most creative, caring, warm, intelligent, glorious beings on earth. I am still close with all of them and one is now my sister in law.
16: Met a guy named Vince: For those of you that don’t know, Vince is now my husband, but that part comes later. I met Vince my first semester in college at a party. We stayed up until 9am talking and we haven’t stopped for the past 11 years. He was and is the most interesting person I know.
17: Found my calling: When I arrived on The University of Tennessee campus, I literally had no idea what I wanted to be. I had always had a interest in art and being creative but I didn’t really think that I could parlay that into a career. Once I found graphic design, it was over. Not only did I find my true passion, I found other people that shared my love.
18: Visited artists studios in Central Europe: Through The University, I went on a trip named Blood, Iron & Velvet that was for art, architecture & theater students. We traveled around for about a month and were granted access to some of the artists studios. Seeing artists in their space and hearing them speak about their work is inspiring the say the least.
19: Experienced recently communist countries: Communism fell in central Europe in the Velvet Revolution in 1989, so being there fairly shortly after the fall gave great insight into the transition that can’t be taught from a book.
20: Road the train through the Alps: After our school trip was a over, a few of us traveled to Switzerland for a few days. The best way to get there was an 8 hour train ride through the Alps. The scenery and the color of the lakes refuse to leave my mind.
21: Visited Peggy Guggenheim’s house in Venice: Vince and I took a trip to Italy shortly after we graduated and one of my favorite museums was Peggy Guggenheim’s house. During her life, she had collected a piece from every major artist of the 20th century. This was when I realized that my education had worked and I could name each of the pieces.
22: Camped on a hill overlooking Florence: It’s hard to pin down the best parts of a trip to Italy since they were really all the best but camping above Florence was special. Florence itself has a lovely energy and the camp site were we stayed allowed us amazing views and great friends to meet.
23: Bought a House: Well, it’s really a condo, but it’s all ours and we love the freedom to do whatever we want to it.
24: Started my own Company: It’s been and is hard, tiring, trying and uncertain at times but I love every minute and all the ups and downs. There is nothing else that I would rather be doing.
25: Exhibited at the National Stationery Show: The show is one of the most terrifying and fun experiences of my life. I look forward to going again this year and growing my business. It doesn’t hurt that it’s in NYC. Designing the booth is super fun too.
26: Got married: I honestly never thought I would get married which in why I resisted it for a long time. But really I never thought I would meet someone I would want to spend so much time with. Once that theory was proven to be incorrect, I really had no good reason not to. And I got to do it my way.
27: Summited the highest point in Puerto Rico: We visited Puerto Rico for our honeymoon, it is my family’s homeland after all. We were given the tip by the guy that runs The Rainforest Inn to hike through mud and rain forest to the top El Toro where we were literally in the clouds.
28: Became an Aunt: That friend from college that I mentioned is now my sister in law gave birth to my first nephew, Rowan. He’s super cute, fun and a genius.
29: Hiked in the Grand Canyon: I will have to admit, I didn’t think I was going to be that impressed with the Grand Canyon but let me tell you, it is Grand. I can’t wait to go back and hike all the way to the bottom and spend the night. It is really magical.
30: Heard the Dalai Lama speak: My mom gave us tickets to see the Dalai Lama when he came to Emory University recently. It’s amazing to be in the presence of someone that is so intelligent and kindhearted at the same time. His energy permeated the room.