It’s hard to believe I’ve already reached the end of thirty, and I’m on to thirty-one. So much has happened it seems like it has only been two days since I was soaking up the sun in Mancora, Peru and blowing out candles to celebrate a new decade of my life. I’ll be honest, there have been lots of major ups and downs and rather than hide those away, I’d rather tell you that life involves both good and bad. Why? Because no one has an easy or perfect life, it simply doesn’t exist, especially when you’re considering possible life changes. Embarking on and exploring new possible career options, I set goals in “The 30 List,” to help me gain some perspective and have a few things to work towards. Did I accomplish all that I set out to do? What improvements did I make to my life? Let’s take a look:
Turning thirty was exciting, but I can’t lie that the summer I spent in Piura, Peru had major extremes, physically and mentally. Wanting to travel and learn more about fashion companies who assist artisans with bringing their handicrafts to the world marketplace, I was hopeful I would get to know and learn from a company’s artisans. At times I felt overwhelmed and frustrated by my lack of understanding and speaking Spanish. Taking a look at the other interns, I often wondered what I was doing in Piura. I felt my self-doubt build as I realized my colleagues all went to better schools, had a better education, knew computer programs for more complicated tasks, and spoke multiple languages. Although I used my sewing skills to figure out how to construct the company’s products, I couldn’t help but feel as though the local stitchers were more accomplished in construction than I was. Getting heatstroke and throwing up in the street and contracting an intestinal infection later weren’t major steps forward, but what made a significant step was my confidence.
With each mishap I continually strove to move ahead. I eventually found I enjoyed working with the local stitchers by sharing knowledge, even if I only knew a small amount of Spanish. Rather than feel inadequate about my sewing skills, I came to realize that their expertise stemmed from a familiarity with their machines that I was not acquainted with. Exchanging ideas with them made me even more excited about the possibilities, and rather than see my lack of Spanish as a setback, the stitchers told my colleague to teach me some more of the language so I could talk with them. Even though I set out to empower artisans, they empowered me even more than they realized.
Returning back to Denver and my theatre job, I was met with mixed responses. Some shocked since I had left without announcing my whereabouts immediately, others were curious to learn more about my journey, and in some instances I sensed jealousy. Rather than focus on these reactions, I decided to set about my goals and learn Adobe Creative Cloud and graphic design programs. What for? I didn’t know exactly, only that I wanted to see opportunities beyond my sewing desk or what was outside of the backstage world. What about my career in theatre? I wasn’t certain of anything. I continued to work on goals #9 and #10 to finish up projects and books as well as consider travel opportunities in goals #5, #11, and #12 when my theatre contract ended.
When winter came towards the end, I put even more work into my blog and social media, as an effort to work towards goal #8 of getting published. What I discovered along the way of connecting with bloggers in travel and fashion was how much I learned from the online blogging community as I built relationships that were supportive and inspirational. Upon the end of my season in Denver, I returned to my family in Utah to spend the spring and summer and most recently finished a solo trip (goal #7). Having time on my own, I began to find that even if I had doubts of what to do or where to go next, I have skills and insights to offer (goal #27), I don’t have to settle (goal #24), and my opinion about my life is the only one that matters (goal #23). Does this mean I have everything figured out? I’m far from it, but what I’ve come to realize is that no one has everything figured out. Although I’ve come to enjoy focusing on goals, I’m beginning to think that feeling like I should complete a “To Do” List aren’t as important as taking care of myself and making time to enjoy my life.
As you can see, I have plenty of goals left to complete before I hit forty, but I’m beginning to see that looking at what I have accomplished instead of what I should do is just as important. This year I finished my seventh season at the Denver Center Theatre Company, I traveled and interned internationally, I found a passion for sustainable and ethical fashion, I developed my knowledge of Adobe Creative Cloud, and I started becoming a part of the network in the fashion and travel blogging community. To celebrate, I’ll be looking at more than what I have left to accomplish. Instead, I’ll be digging into a bowl of coconut milk ice cream (goal #18) and looking for the best location to bungee jump (Goal #16).