I turned 30 recently. I made a little list of things that make me feel 30. The past decade has formed me. I mean, good grief… so much happened. I met the love of my life, I moved in to my first apartment, I did the art student thing… I’ll stop there for a second. Hopefully as our online culture has progressed, graphic/web design majors are not spending more time with paintbrushes than they are with digital devices and industry software – although INCREDIBLY valuable and necessary to a career in visual aesthetics, fine arts should not make up the majority of a major that breeds a career in technology. Although, speaking of software, one should not put all their eggs in one basket. Remember flash? I took one 400 level course completely focused on Frontpage. FRONTPAGE. Useless. The professor even forbid me from just coding my projects in an HTML editor. “No, you must use Frontpage!” I think I showed up to that class twice a month. I say designers and developers should learn skills, techniques, and programming languages that will be foundational however the industry evolves. Though surely Photoshop is here to stay. Learn it.
Don’t get me wrong about fine arts, there’s nothing like a pencil and a blank piece of paper. I can (and have) spent all day in some of the best art museums in the world. Some of my best college memories were spending late nights getting lost in an art project. Being covered in paint. Stains on the carpet and then in my car from the still wet paint when I took it to class the next morning. Making photos of weird, beautiful things. The creative process is the most important part of any project. Can you tell a lot of my 20s were spent learning and growing in this field?
So back to where I left off (love, apartment, art student)… the last two years of college for me were easier than the rest, and the most useful. Art, design, and finally using some code for non-personal use. (We won’t go dragging up my old blogs.) I worked at the university part time for the continuing education department as a student designer/web developer. The CE department really had their own thing going on… their own courses, their own course registration mechanism and process… so their website required more than the quarterly update that say, the English department was probably used to. (I helped with their website, too… in return for course credit, score!) Anyway, I am so thankful for the student job. I built things and I made them look nice. That experience caught the eye of my first “real” employer – or it at least definitely helped. I remember my first portfolio – despite my original idea of a pink HTML/CSS portfolio, my old school graphic design professor convinced me a FLASH portfolio was the way to go. Luckily it wasn’t totally dead yet at that time when it came to web content. Pretty close, though. I’m tempted to share a screenshot… nah. Too embarrassing.
So I finished school, started working a big girl job and earning enough money to pay all my bills all by myself. Thankfully I was much better at salary negotiating at my second real job. I moved on to a bigger and better position at a young & hip tech company. I moved out of my first apartment. I finally lived in a new townhouse! It had a big kitchen, three bathrooms, and a second level with two bedrooms! I really didn’t need all that space, but it felt so good to earn it. I experienced corporate culture. I learned A LOT. A lot about myself, others, skill-wise… I gained invaluable experience and finally, in distant reflection I can take away the parts that were great in my first corporate experience and forget those that weren’t. Because who has time to sweat the small stuff? I don’t anymore.
Did I mention I married the love of my life in the middle of all that? Yes! Finally! Haha. Being eight years older, he watched me grow up in a way. I couldn’t have made it through my 20s without Wesley. Despite my academic and professional success, I was sad much of that time. My parents finally divorced, my mom soon remarried, and my dad died. I won’t go into the personal details of all of that, but it shook me to my core. It broke me. Nobody can understand what I went through except me. People hurt us. People die. Things go left unsaid and every little minute of every day counts for something and determines what happens in the next minute. If I could do some things differently I definitely would. If my brain worked faster I would have processed the things I was going through more quickly and reacted in a more articulate way in the moment(s). But it took years to realize how I felt about some things.
But anyway. My heart aches every day that my dad is missing out on being a grandfather. That is what hurts. The rest of the BS just kind of falls through the cracks. It’s easy to “brush things off” and not let things or people get to me as bad these days. I’m so glad, that shit can eat at you.
Fast forward to 30 and I’m a HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY wife and stay at home mommy to the most beautiful boy you have ever seen.
And I can end this there, because THAT is a happy ending to my 20s, my friends. And a wonderful beginning to 30. The rest of my life looks amazing.