On Turning 30 | May Self Portrait

Shortly after my 20th birthday I was a newlywed of two weeks and I was staring down into my kitchen sink. It was full of soap bubbles and dishes, and as my hands reached in for a plate I realized that I was an adult and the rest of my life was starting. Bad feeling. Subconsciously I started running numbers in my head trying to calculate just how many times I’d wash the dishes before dying. (Let’s see, 75 years x every day = depressing.) I’m roughly 3,500 dish washing episodes in now, and a whole decade has passed.  Yep, that’s right!  I turned 30 last week!  On Thursday! And it was kind of amazing! One of my friends drove here from Detroit Lakes with a beautiful Tres Leche Cake, I got to go out for dinner with my 8 year old and a toenail clipper (long story) after which I walked into a surprise party and cried my eyes out.

Anyway, there are so many liberating things I learned in my twenties. In honor of my birthday I’ll highlight a few below.

1.  Things will get old and you will throw them away

When you settle down and start making “grown-up” purchasing decisions it can be intimidating. I remember laboring over certain purchases not knowing whether to spend a lot or a little, what color to choose or … you get the idea. It felt like a big deal, but within a few years I was packing those items up for the thrift store or throwing them out. And I wondered WHY in the world I had stressed so much about that decision. Buy cheap things, they’ll last a few months. Buy expensive things, they’ll last a few years. It’s as simple as that. The house that Jonathan and I designed and built, staying up until all hours of the night putting in the entry way flooring… we thought we’d live there forever and greet our grandchildren at that door. Well, life changed and we put in on the market and moved.  Evvvvvvverything is temporary. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make decisions carefully, it’s just a perspective change that takes a lot of the stress out of life.

2. Being a mother is like dying

A bit of a dramatic statement, but when you are in periods of sleep deprivation (I’m not right now, thankfully) this feels entirely true.  You take for granted that your mom was “there for you” as a kid but you never realize how much she sacrificed for you. How much she sacrificed to even CARRY YOU IN THE WOMB. Mothering often forces you into doing the exact opposite thing you wish you could do at any given moment, 24/7.  And it feels like death. Eventually you learn how to make sacrifice a way of life. Sounds terrible, but it’s quite liberating. One of life’s greatest blessings is learning how to give.

3. Love grows roots

Romantic movies got nothin’ on marriage.  Commitment is worth every single tear of pain and growth as a couple. My man has my heart in a way he never did ten years ago.

4. Nature wins

Unlike a lot of kids, when I was young I had no time for nature unless it served my purposes. Swimming pools were better than lakes, sidewalks better than grassy fields. Bugs? Ew. I could get behind a good camping trip if it involved hot dogs and pancakes, but every flower and piece of grass looked the same and the sun either shone or it didn’t. My interest in photography has revolutionized my senses and I’ve developed a deep appreciation for the changing textures and colors of nature, especially light. I feel like my city kid eyes have been opened and it is so life giving! Who knew that the outdoors were so amazing.

5. Some things don’t change

After all these years, I still can’t stand to watch people brush their teeth. My biggest pet peeve. Guh to the ross.

And with that, my 30 year old portrait. Three cheers!

photographer self portrait

This is the continuation of my self-portrait series.
See other posts from the series here!


  1. Amber Langerud says:

    You are inspirational, thanks for sharing!

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