This is a big year. This entire 2011 has been an amazing year, and so, this post will be quite long. Just a warning. Feel free to grab a cup of coffee, or go to the bathroom before you read. xx
Today, I am THIRTY! And no, I am not crying.
I don’t think I said I was 29 enough this year. I think 80% of this past year I’ve been preoccupied with saying “I’m almost 30!” A former bride told me, “29 hurt more than 30.” I think she may be right. The reality may be that I was trying to secretly prep myself for a softer landing. I also think that I enjoyed telling people I was “almost” 30 because I liked seeing people’s reaction. Like when the UPS guy made sure I was over 18 (yes, we can all agree I definitely do but with PINK sweats, paired with a Valley voice, and no makeup, I can totally look young), when I still get hit on by college guys (then again, what do college guys NOT hit on?), or when I buy chocolate covered espresso beans at Trader Joe’s the cashier tells me they will be great for my late night studying.
When you’re in your twenties you think thirty is like death and your life is over. First, let me encourage you to stop thinking that way because if you freak out now, you’re going to give yourself a heart attack before you can even turn thirty. Plus, you have so much baby fat in your face in your early 20s that it’s nice when you finally get rid of the youthful chub and settle into your refined facial features. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m beyond convinced that the next 20 years of my life are going to be amazing. The big dramatic days are over, you’re financially secure, you have a solid career, and your security comes not from the approval of others, but who you know yourself to be. You become more comfortable in your own skin. You’ve created a strong core group of friendships. And, if you’ve endured enough, you’ve learned from your mistakes, especially the big ones.
How do you recap a decade of your life? 10 years is a long time. I enjoyed internships at NBC in Burbank, Extra in Glendale, CA. I graduated from the best college ever at 21, lived in LA and worked for The Sharon Osbourne Show and E! Entertainment. I moved to Phoenix for The Arizona Republic, bought a townhome, went into marketing for five years, left corporate to pursue my dreams of being self-employed, bought a house, and after dating a ton of interesting Mr. Very Wrongs (just ask my girlfriends), I met Mr. Wonderful who I was convinced to the core from our first date that he was Mr. Right. The best part of my twenties were the relationships I’ve made, the vacations I’ve taken with them, and the heartache, trials, and triumphs that I’ve endured with them by my side. You can live your life but as the years roll by, you’ll want to look back and see genuine, deep, meaningful relationships with people who will help you remember. It makes getting older that much better – your friendships get older with you. Trust me.
So you want some 30-year-old advice?
- Trust not your heart which can be overly emotional, but your head when you look at the facts.
- Be wise about your time and who you give it to.
- Open your ears to hear from those who are the closest to you, and take only the guidance from those who have the same moral compass as yourself.
- When you really want nothing to do with someone, be honest to make it clear and stick to it. Honor your time and theirs. Mr. Right can’t find you if you’re too busy spending time with Mr. Wrongs.
- Often that difficult news to hear from someone that may break your heart will actually be a decision you would have made yourself, had you been given enough time and clarity. So, accept it, and move on to find that perfect happy ending. You will one day be thankful for God’s protection and sovereignty.
- Forgive those who haven’t asked for forgiveness, immediately apologize when you’re wrong, spend less than you make, do what you love and every day love with every ounce of your being, and when you can’t take the weight of the world, get down on your knees and pray.
- And every morning when you wake up, be thankful you have another opportunity to do it all over again.
I thought I’d freak about turning 30 like Rachel on Friends on her 30th. Nope, no freakouts, no tears. God and I didn’t have a deal like Joey. Just curling my toes in the sandy beaches of Maui with some girlfriends – to kick of my thirties enjoying the best part of life – making memories with those you love and who can remind you of how far you’ve come.
You know, I’m still 29 in Guam.
My first yearly reflection started when I was in Honors English at the age of 15. Then I picked it back up at 19 and decided that every year before my birthday, which is not too far from a New Year anyway, I would reflect. The letters have been personal, though I’m excited to share them with my future husband Benjamin, I wanted to share this one to the world because this was the best year. I also want to inspire you to do whatever it is you dream of. Make it big. Oh, and please know I am writing to myself, and I am very blunt with myself. Please excuse my transparency and please know I do go on a praising Jesus schpeel :)
Reflections of a 29-year-old…about to turn…3-0!
November 14, 2011
I’m glad I stopped the “Oh my gosh I’m getting old” first sentence ritual for these reflections. I guess this time I could give myself a free pass but for the most part, it seems as if everyone else around me who is getting older is also getting better looking.
First, um, can we say what a year? WHAT.A.YEAR.
Let’s start with the fact that I prayed to get fired from my corporate job. Who does that? Of course, I did. For a long time, and I just couldn’t do it. How could I leave such a seemingly secure job that I was favored in, making a great amount of money, working only 32 hours, 4 days a week for the same pay, with benefits. Yes, thank you Rachelle for giving me the guts to go in and ask for it at my four year review. Rocking that schedule for a year helped me build Diana Elizabeth Photography and Silver Spoon Studio. Then the shift started, people started to leave, new CEO, and I wanted to jump ship but was asked to stay put. So resentfully, I did, and waited as I saw top management say, “Peace” and take off to other ventures. Every one at CRS knew I wanted to leave, and so I prayed harder. God, please just get me fired. You do it. I have no guts. Even if you gave me guts, I can’t leave a good paying job, especially in this economy, that would be so stupid of me. My Christmas cards even announced to everyone my crave for free-things, freedom and the opportunity to jump and take my businesses full time. Never would I have known the Lord was indeed setting me up to do so. Then in the middle of an interview, on my day off, being asked by Stephanie at HerExchange what my 2011 plans were I replied, “To quit my day job and work for myself.” The phone rings. And, bam! Wipe out with severance. Cheer! Really, let’s think about this. Who prays to God to get fired from their job, then gets it with a severance? And then, makes 1.5+ times more doing what I love? Really.
Ok, then the year kinda started off sucky. I know what I’m talking about. I felt distant from the Lord, my own fault. I kinda felt like I jumped out of the box, walked around the block and then lost it. I asked for my closest friends to pray for me, I didn’t know where I was going or what happened. How did I get so lost? I remember one telling me I didn’t have to earn my way back into the Lord’s presence. You just go. I didn’t understand it, and because I didn’t understand it, I stayed at a stand still. But, you know once Jesus claims your heart, you know the emptiness and the lostness you felt when you didn’t know Him at all. And so my heart longed for it. I prayed for things to go away, for Him to help me, and for strength to keep going and my self pity to go away. To stop focusing on myself and to focus more on Him. And then, He did. He held my hand, brought me up and held me. And during this time, I cried a lot. I cried because I felt lost, empty, sad, angry about a multitude of things. I almost thought I was depressed for a little while. I even told a friend that if something bad were to happen like if my parents got sick I would be ticked and I wouldn’t even praise God. I know, awful to admit and even more painful that I knew that. But that’s what happens when you don’t have the Lord to lean on. Life gets that shizzy. And after years of following Christ, you don’t understand how to give grace or what Christianity is about until you fall yourself. Had I tried to be perfect for the rest of my life, I would never have the compassion towards those who have or will stray. Because until you’ve been there, you’ll never fully understand. Thank you Jesus for not giving up on me. Better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere.
I was at Bayside Church, my family’s home church when I had a divine encounter with the head pastor, Ray Johnston. Once he found out my age, he asked if I was single. I confirmed, and then I told him my current situation. Oh the dreadful dating, but I always said, it’s gonna take a great man to beat having no man. I questioned if I should settle. I think that’s what also lead to my dreadful depressed feeling. I thought I’d have to with my options. Then Ray told me, no. Don’t settle, he told me. The right guy is coming, you’ll meet him this summer. I went home with more hope than I had for months. And then, Jesus started giving me the strength to move forward and dispose of those who were making me spiritually sick.
Easter. Praising Jesus with one of my best friends Rachelle and her boyfriend Charlie. And by now, you know the story. Enter Benjamin into my thoughts. Easy, happy, fun, but it’s not necessarily just about how I felt when I was with him. The older I get the more I realize the feeling I have and if I concentrate too much on just that, I’m being selfish. But Benjamin made me better. He made me stronger, he allowed me to glorify God better. And our relationship did too. We remained pure, he could lead, and he was a man of God. Oh, and did I mention he’s just like dad? Seriously thank you Jesus for an answer to prayer! I hated all the guys who told me guys like my dad didn’t exist anymore (and plus, how much of an insult was that to themselves to openly admit they weren’t hard workers, investors, or providers? Losers.)
Then the house. Oh, the house that if I could make a tiny model of it and hug it, I would. That was sort of a weird Taboo reference. Not like that. I love my house. I had my eye on it for months before it finally came on the market. Then, the night before I had already schedule an appointment with Kat, up it pops on MLS. First house we see, BAM! Thank you, mine. I love my neighborhood. I love my neighbors, and I genuinely love and care for this home.
Six months after our first date, Benjamin and I will be husband and wife. The older I get, the more I realize the less you dream about the perfect wedding, ring, proposal or dress, and the more you begin to dream about the man you will marry. His character, his solidity in the Lord, the value of his word, and the way he cares, and wants to provide and lead his family. I would wait 29 more years for him because he really is that perfect for me, it’s not about timing of when I thought I should get married, but finding that perfect compliment, the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. I know it sounds silly but I finally realize at this age, the person you decide you want to marry is the person you truly love most in the world. Amazing. And, the older I’ve become, the more I have understood myself. That time can do so much. It can heal you to be stronger, better, and with plenty of rest, you can feel even more alive than you have ever felt. Time gives you opportunities to learn more about yourself. To make mistakes and quickly learn, to understand that those time suckers and wasters are just that – and to be with people who are intentional and pursue a relationship with you.
With photography, I’ve taught three online workshops, shot 10 weddings and I can’t begin to talk about how many portraits, probably 50 at least. Just this week alone I’ve shot 16 sessions, a crazy demand for holiday photos and engagements! The best highlight career wise has been shooting for PHOENIX magazine, especially their cover and cover stories for the June issue. What a blessing. I owe so much of this year to Rachelle, for the introduction, the guts, and praying for my future husband.
This year, 29, was the best year of my life. Hands down, I honestly mean it. It started off rocky, I made BIG mistakes repeatedly and I felt distant from the Lord. But you know what, your favorite year or life or memories doesn’t mean it has to be perfect all the time. This year, the moral of this year if you will has been that God has taught me to wait on Him. I finally got it after I won the house bid. After so much anxiousness of trying to make it all about my time – from leaving corporate, finding the right guy, finding the perfect house when every one on the market seemed snatched up, I finally got it. After the house, I got it. Jesus, I get it. Your timing is perfection and I never fully understood it until now. This year has been a gift, Lord. You have taught me to trust you even when I didn’t feel like it or genuinely didn’t. You never gave up on me, and I know first hand that even when one of your sheep is lost, you search for that lost sheep. Thank you for finding me again, realigning my heart, and thank you for providing me with all that I need and more, giving me more than I deserve when I don’t deserve anything at all, and trusting me with what you have given me. I am moved to tears for the overwhelming amount of gratitude I feel that if you were to take it all away, I could praise you with all of my heart.
Diana, 29 still in Guam
Diana Elizabeth actually looks at celebrities her age and older like Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lopez and says if they look good at that age – bring it. She is fully aware they have help. But then she hopes the fact that she’s Chinese that will help too.