Monday, September 14, 2015

Tired, Hired, & Admired: What I "knew" about myself at 30 when I was 18

As I come up on my 30th birthday, I can't help but reminisce about how much I've always looked forward to being 30. Opposite of most people, I couldn't wait to grow up at age 18.  I was tired of high school life.  Not like most people my age who just wanted to "break free" from their parents- my parents are great.  I was just itching for what came next.  I'm one of those people who always has a plan, always has a list, and always looks ahead.  It's one of my biggest strengths and at the same time, something I have to constantly remind myself to temper. One way that I've found to help appease this urge to always be moving forward is to take a moment to look back.  Look at where I was, where I hoped to be, and how far I've come.  Even if I'm not exactly what or who I always thought I would be by age 30, I am awfully grateful and proud of these 30 years.  Here's what 18 year old Ashley, in all my infinite wisdom, "knew" about me at 30: 

high school graduation
18 years old

1.  I will be married.  I've always wanted to be married.  It was never a question in my "life plan" for myself.  Lucky for me, I found the important part of the equation, the guy, early and will get to celebrate our 10th anniversary in my 30th year of life. He's the first person I want to talk to when something exciting happens, and the first to high five me over even the smallest victories.  He's seen me cry, supported me through pharmacy school, two rough pregnancies, and two crazy toddlers.  If I got nothing else right, I'm glad I was right about this one.

9 years later...

2.  I will have kids.  Or at least one, I don't know, kids seem hard.  I knew I wanted them, but wasn't always sure what kind of mother I'd be.  Would I be able to handle more than one by age 30?  On the other hand, I've always wanted to be done by the time I was 35.  I guess I just liked the idea of being a younger mom because I had a young mom.  Even then I knew that children would be exhausting and I needed to start sooner rather than later!

3.  I will have a career.  By my senior year of high school, I was confident that I wanted to be a pharmacist.  I had no idea what the true roles of a pharmacist entailed, but I liked what I'd seen, read, and been told so far.  I knew that by 30, I would be settled into a job where I was making a difference as a health care professional.  Not everyone knows exactly what I do as a community pharmacist, but I am reminded daily by my patients that I am impacting their health care and lives in a positive way. Working in a retail setting sure isn't glamorous or easy, but I do feel like I am doing work that is worthwhile, especially since I get to work with students and help shape the practice of future pharmacists.

4.  I will have a house.  I know some people that love apartment/condo living, but it was sure not for me.  I always wanted to be settled in a house by 30 (granted, I didn't expect to be in my "forever home" by now, but I'm sure not complaining!).  The white picket fence is still in negotiations...

5.  I will have a nice car.  Mind you, for me this meant "not a high school car" but I'm pretty sure I wasn't excited about a minivan just yet either.  That dream/reality came a little later.  My minivan was always supposed to be my 30th bday gift since that's the month I would've paid off my Mazda CX-9 (now that definitely would've qualified as my nice car - I loved that thing!).  But, as my lack of luck would have it, the Mazda broke down and we decided to go ahead and take the jump into the land of the minivan.  And I've never looked back...

6.  I will have the coolest, grown-up, close-knit group of friends. As in, we could be our own sitcom.  Obviously.  Our friends are the best.  And most of them are grown-ups now, or at least working on it.  Either way, they are awesome and I am so so grateful for them.

7.  I will feel comfortable being my age.  This one's a little harder to explain, but I never really felt like I was very good at being my age when I was in my teens and twenties.  I didn't really like and appreciate a lot of the same stuff as my peers.  I just kept thinking, "man, I will be so much better at my thirties than these years!  I know I can rock the soccer mom stage."  To be honest, I think this will absolutely hold true.  Not that I'm the perfect 30 year old mother of two by any stretch, but I finally feel comfortable in my own skin.  I can relate to people my own age and they to me.  I just hope that in 10 more years I'm as badass as all my friends in their 40s.  Talk about having it together and not taking crap from anyone.  That must be a 40s trait...

8.  I will have a golden retriever.  As in the whole white picket fence, golden retriever prancing around the backyard while the kids play fantasy. Through a series of events over the past couple years, we are actually dog-less.  And honestly, I want to stay that way for the time being.  Don't get me wrong, a beautiful golden retriever or a wrinkly little bulldog pup can bring me near tears on the right day.  But we have no where near the extra time needed to commit to a dog right now.  Or the trust to have one truly be a part of our family with kids at the stages ours are.  I know, I know, your dog would never dream of hurting your baby - it's the best babysitter/pillow/photo prop ever.  That's just not for us - after a dog's bitten your baby, you will never risk it again either.  I am confident we will have more fur-kids down the road, but not at 30.

9.  I will dress like a Limited model at work.  I have always loved dress clothes, especially really nice ones.  I bought one really awesome pinstriped suit for pharmacist interviews... and haven't worn it since.  I haven't even set foot in a Limited store for many years now.  Not for lack of still liking their clothes - I still wear tops that I bought there a decade ago, but I just can't bring myself to spend that much money on something as silly as work clothes.  Instead, I buy a couple pairs of the same black pants from JCP in whatever size I happen to be that month, and rotate accordingly with the same seasonally-appropriate 5 or 6 tops. Top it off with a white coat and a nice pair of comfy black shoes that I will wear literally until they break or wear through.  Pretty lame, right 18 year old self?  Welcome to motherhood.

10.  Thirty, flirty, and thriving.  Remember that Jennifer Garner movie, 13 Going On 30?  Well, I always loved corny chick flicks (something that definitely hasn't changed between 18 and 30) and thought the tag line "thirty, flirty, and thriving" was great.  What a glitzy way to describe 30! Now that I'm actually approaching 30, I have to say my motto is more like "tired, hired, and admired."

-Tired - I have 2 kids under 4 and a full time job I commute almost an hour to each way.
-Hired - I have a job, it pays the bills, and I'm reasonably happy with it.
-Admired - I have an awesome husband who tells me I'm beautiful and that he loves me daily.  I have two daughters that hug and kiss me before bedtime every single night.

Who needs "thirty, flirty, and thriving" when you've gotten tired, hired, and admired?  What more can a girl ask for?

In the past decade, I've gotten married, met my BFF, graduated and got licensed as a pharmacist, had two beautiful little girls, bought two houses/two cars, became an aunt to 4 nephews and 1 niece, visited 12 states, saw the ocean for the first time, started this blog, and laughed 'til I cried more times than I could count. Sure, there were some not so good times, too, when we clung to each other and our friends/family for support.  As Shawna and I were reflecting, it sure was an eventful decade of life.

All in all, 18 year old self, you weren't too far off.  I know you're a perfectionist and close doesn't count, but don't beat yourself up - you never could've imagined it would be this good.  Or this hard. But mostly good.

Cheers to 30 years!


Mama (That's what we mostly go by now, 18 year old Ashley.  Definitely an upgrade from the nickname your college teammates will give you next year... but that's a story for a different day.)

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