In My Next 30 Years

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Today I turn 30. This is supposed to be a hard birthday, and thanks to my husband’s uncharacteristic teasing for the past few months I started to think maybe it was a big deal. The last week I’ve had a hard time realizing it was actually coming. And then yesterday, I started to ponder on all that this decade has given me. I believe aging is a beautiful thing, and although I’m still really young, I can’t help but be honored and grateful that today I realize 30 wonderful years of a very rich life.

If you would have asked me at age 20 where I’d be at 30 I would have told you a college grad, married with 4 kids, keeping my teaching license current, but happy being a stay-at-home mom. I can’t help but smile at how different this decade has been than I could have ever dreamed.

I’ve learned that God has a plan for us, one much better than the plan we made. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and he loves us enough to give us trials and hard experiences to shape us into what we need to become, not what we planned on becoming when we were barely out of our teens.

I look back at each year of my life and realized what a blessing the experiences and lessons of each one are.

20: Came in with my first kiss, my first love, and my opportunity at an amazing marketing job that would shape my future years later. It also provided acceptance to a very competitive major, and the opportunity to learn what being a poor, but grateful college student really means.

21: Came with lessons learned that even righteous desires like a mission aren’t always what’s best for you. I learned success in one of the most competitive universities in the country earning my first 3.95, and I learned how happy you can be working full time and going to school full time. I also learned heartache. Heartache that shaped me to care about others and taught me compassion. I also learned about friends. My two best friends came into my life this year.

22: Brought an engagement, a wedding, a college diploma, and my first job as a teacher.

23: Brought reconciliation with the small city I grew up in after having to move back, learning to love where you are and what you have. Learning to choose to see good even in the bad. Learning to be happy even when you start to see things crumble.

24: Faith was tested, hard work came in physical, mental, and emotional trials. I learned not to judge others. I learned to be an adult and to do all I could to solve my own problems without whining or complaining. I learned to love teaching and the hope teenagers bring to the world. I learned that happiness is a choice we make, even when life gives you so much sadness. I learned to suffer through abuse and still see the good. I learned how loyal I am. I learned you can be happy even in the face of infertility.

25: I learned that life isn’t always what you think it is. I learned that the people you love the most can hurt you the most. I learned bad things happen to good people. I also learned there is a God who will save us from some of the worst things life has to offer if we live righteously. I learned what faith and hope really mean. I learned that your true friends and family will be there for you when your life unexpectedly falls apart. I learned that you’ll often have to face your biggest fears in life just so you can grow and understand who God really is.

26: Brought freedom from an abusive and cheating husband, a clean slate, and my good name restored. I learned never to judge people, everyone has a story. I learned that The Atonement is a real thing, that hearts can be changed and healed if you turn your life over to God. I learned that it’s never too late to change careers! I saw the President speak in real life the same day I was accepted to my MBA program. I learned how much I love diversity. I learned everyone has a story and something to offer. On July 11th I met Jacob Whiting and learned that there are good, honest, amazing men in this world. I also learned that all those terrible things my ex husband said weren’t true. I learned how to flirt, I learned how to date, I learned that you can fit up to 4 dates with 4 different boys into one day! I got my groove back and learned who I really am this magical year.

27: I ran my first half marathon days before I welcomed this year. I enjoyed every moment of graduate school, soaking up learning and experiencing some of the smartest and most amazing people I’ve ever met. I had the best classes I’ve ever taught this year of my life. One of my best friends asked me to be his girlfriend shortly after my birthday, I had an amazing year dating him, falling in love with him, and having him restore my faith and hope in love and marriage again. On June 15th he told me he loved me, on Oct. 29th he asked me to be his wife. I learned that things happen when we least expect them. I learned that Heavenly Father has blessings and happiness in store for us beyond what we could ever dream or imagine!

28: I learned what happiness and love really mean. One and a half months in I was married and sealed to my Jacob for time and all eternity. I learned how wonderful marriage is! I learned what it means to join the 9% of the U.S. population who have a masters degree, and to work so hard for something that you want so much. I learned to cook better, run farther, and to have patience when jobs and other things don’t work out in the timing you planned. I learned to focus on the good, because it is always there!

29: I learned that dreams come true, and the right jobs and situations come your way. I learned to be grateful for the 4 extra years I spent in teaching that I hadn’t planned- I will forever be grateful for the wonderful kids I was able to teach and the growth I experienced. I learned that trials bring you close together as a couple. I learned to always put your spouse first in every situation in life. I learned that it’s fine to say you don’t know, you don’t have the answers, and you need help. I learned to serve others if it means you can’t make dinner or clean your own home. I also learned that helping others is one of the most important aspects of life. I learned you can set big goals, even marathon training, and you can achieve them, even if it means all your toes blister, bleed, and toenails fall off. Beauty comes from the ugly things of life. Some may say my 20’s consisted of some of the ugliest things life has to offer, but I’ve learned that those were the very things that contributed to the beauty I now know.

I wouldn’t trade all the beauty, peace, joy, and happiness in my life for anything! I owe my perspective, knowledge, and who I am to all I accomplished and experienced in my 20’s!
So I say, welcome 30! I’m humbled to be here. I’m glad that I’m not the 20-year-old Camille that once existed. I look at that girl, and I think of this meme.

So here’s to my next 30 years! I can’t wait to see what each year brings. I can’t wait to look back in 10 years and laugh at where I was at 30 and what I thought I’d do. I can’t wait to say I still feel 30, but then I look at 30-year-olds and think, “yeah, I’m 40!”

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  1. jacie @ says:

    haaaaapppy birthday! 🙂

  2. Happy birthday Camille. well done for coming through the tough times, staying positive + learning what you could from each situation! Very inspiring story. My family has a history of abuse, but we have come out of it and while everything isn't perfect we are so much stronger, it's amazing to see the good things that God has in store that seem to negate all the awful things that have happened. Thanks for sharing and may your 30's be truly wonderful 🙂

  3. Happy birthday!

    I loved reading this and getting to know more about you. I love your optimism and it shines through your blog.

  4. Happy birthday! Your blog is one of my very favorites to read.

  5. Happy Birthday! You are truly inspirational, Camille. Love loved this post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  6. I have been reading your blog for over a year now, and this has been my very favorite blog post. Thank you for sharing the lessons you have learned through the years.

  7. Shannon b says:

    Happy Birthday! I loved reading this post and traveling with you through your 20's. I think this was such a great way to document all the lessons you learned in that decade. A lot certainly changes from 20 to 30. I'm 33 and, oh man, I don't feel 20 at all! Ha! 🙂
    I love your attitude and perspective on life and always looking for the good. Have a most wonderful day!!!

  8. ::MilaMook:: says:

    Love you Camille! Happy birthday! You're marvelous. 🙂

  9. Marianne and Devin Seale says:

    Many loves and hugs to you on this fabulous day. So happy to have you in my life. Just wish our paths were still close together. Miss and love you both.

  10. Here Dwells Happiness says:

    What a wonderful post. You really are an inspiration to me and I'm so thankful for you and all you've taught me. You've encouraged me like nobody else has. Happiest of b-days and I know you have so many more wonderful things coming your way.

  11. Alexis Kaye says:

    I cannot believe all you have been through! You are incredible and such an inspiration!!!!!!!!!

  12. Love this post. I'm so glad to have you as a sister (in law). You been through so much in such a short amount of time and learned more than most do in their lifetime. And yet, you aren't bitter about it. So glad you have a wonderful marriage, job and dreams of your life to come.

  13. Thanks for so many kind words Jennie! I am sure glad I have you too!

  14. Thanks so much Alexis!

  15. Laurie Ann, thanks so much! You really are a sweetheart and I'm so glad I got to have you in my life at one of the hardest times 🙂

  16. I wish so too! Thanks for being my friend through all these times and letting me cry on your shoulder, be the third wheel, double with you, and for cheering me on in the good times and always loving Jacob! We love you guys, seriously, leave that snow and come live by us again!

  17. Thanks Camille, you know you're my younger, hotter half 😉

  18. Thanks so much Shannon! Isn't it great to be in your 30's? I sweat it's got to be the best decade ever 🙂

  19. Thanks so much Devin! Sometimes it's hard to put yourself out there online, I really appreciate your kind words!

  20. Thanks so much Katie! I hope the move, pregnancy, and new life are treating you well 🙂

  21. Riley that means a lot! You were definitely the smartest person I ever taught, so I really value your opinion. Thanks for always cracking me up, your compliments, and constantly reminding there is hope for future generations 🙂

  22. Thanks Autumn! I really am enjoying reading your blog too! Your realism and honest voice are really something special.

  23. Sandra, thanks for sharing, I know that isn't always easy to open up about. It is amazing what God has in store for us and how happy we can be after some serious trials!

    I hope life continues to treat you well!

  24. Hey late looking at your blog posts but I sure enjoyed them…and the party was so fun! Glad you had such a great time for your birthday!

  25. SkinnyPhoenix says:

    Happy birthday and welcome to the 30s club!! I am 34 and like you have been through a lot, school while working a ft job and raising a son, several attempts at trying to leave my abusive marriage with final success 2 years ago. Now I have found love again, like you and am in the planning stages of a wedding. I love your blog and all your date ideas. I've used a lot of your dates in my current amazing relationship and I too realize the absolute importance of putting your spouse and marriage first. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

  26. Thank you! And I'm seriously so happy for you to find love again and to be able to have the chance to be happily married! There is nothing like finding the right person, and it really is all the sweeter when you've seen so much of the bad. Good luck with wedding plans and may you find an abundance of love and happiness!

  27. Tuare Garrido says:

    I was reading a new ish post and this was in the “You might also like…” and decided to read it. I'm so grateful that you were my teacher and mentor. You believed in me and saw potential that I had not seen in myself. You're an amazing and inspirational person and I'm so glad I decided to take the yearbook class junior year! I just started this journey of my 20's and I can't wait to see where I end up by the time I'm 30. Thank you, Camille!

  28. T you are such a kind soul! I'm so glad I was lucky enough to be your teacher and mentor! You're such an amazing girl, and I'm seriously lucky I got to work with in life!

    Thanks for making my day, it's the nice notes from former students that make all the rough days as a teacher worth while!