The 30th birthday countdown continues and as this is officially my final day as a twenty-something, it seems only fitting to spend it counting down the top 20 defining moments from my twenties.
I admit when I first came up with this post idea, I was a bit nervous about whether I’d actually be able to think of 20 defining moments. And I’m sure if I were to go back through all my photos, there might be other moments that come up. But these are the ones that stick out in my head the most as the things that have happened in the past decade that have gotten me to where I am today. Since I turned 20 in May 2002, this list covers moments that happened between May 2002 and May 2012. Below is part 1 or as I like to call it “the pre-scrapbooking years.”
1. Transferring to UC Davis
My first two years in college were a bit rough. I was at a university that never felt like the right fit for me and unsure what to do about it. In the spring of 2002, I decided to take a chance and apply as a transfer student to the University of California, Davis, even though it meant I would lose a year of credits. In a way it was a bit of a leap of faith as I actually signed an apartment lease with a friend before I had even received my acceptance letter. But it worked out and ended up being 100% the right decision for me (& not just because it led to #2 on this list.)
2. Meeting Adam
Adam and I met in September 2002 right after I had transferred to UC Davis. In fact, we met the very first week! We both lived in the same apartment complex and we met when my DSL gear from PacBell had somehow gotten delivered to his apartment. I can’t say it was love at first sight exactly (I was pretty sure he hadn’t even noticed me standing there, haha) but things evolved and by November we started dating and well, it’s rather hard to imagine the last ten years without him.
3. Changing majors from Design to Managerial Economics
I’m sure there are people looking at this going, “For the love of god, WHY would you do that?” That was certainly the look on my design advisor’s face when I handed her the paperwork, haha. But the truth is as much as I loved design, there’s something I’ve always found intriguing about the business side of things as well. So while there have been times when I’ve occasionally wondered whether I made the right decision to switch away from design, seeing how it’s all turned out now, with me combining my love of design and business into a small business of my own, it all seems to make sense. Don’t you just love when that happens?
4. Joining Team Layout at The California Aggie
If you’ve ever wondered where my love for grid-based design came from, this would be it. The summer before my junior year, I started looking for a job and I applied for some fun ones including: bus driving, Photoshopping trees for research, copywriting. But the one I ended up getting hired for was as a layout designer for the university paper, The California Aggie and I LOVED it. The people were awesome and it’s safe to say that over the course of the two years I worked there, my love for design grew ten-fold. I don’t think there’s any way I would have ended up where I am today if it weren’t for this little job I applied for on a whim.
5. Spring break road trip with Adam senior year
The summer between our junior and senior years, Adam went off to military boot camp for a month which, as laughable as it is now, at the time seemed like forever. We had been dating two years at that point and while things were going well, I was still very unsure about the whole military thing and whether I was ready to commit to 4-8 years or more of military life. So when he returned from camp, I broke things off.
We spent the majority of that year as friends and roommates (which yes was a bit awkward at times, haha). For spring break our senior year we decided to take a road trip down the California coast together. I couldn’t tell you what exactly, but something on that trip put things into perspective for me. It still took several months before I was willing to admit it, but after that trip, I just knew he was the one and no matter what happened with the military, it was all going to be ok.
6. Graduating from UC Davis
It took five years but the day finally arrived. And I received the most expensive piece of paper I’ve ever owned on that day, complete with an autograph signature from Arnold Schwarzenegger aka the Governator.
7. Getting engaged and married in four months
The summer after graduation, Adam received orders to go to Seoul, South Korea for a year. Shocked would be an understatement. As an officer, he’d been allowed to turn in a list of his top 10 places he’d like to get stationed and Korea was no where to be found on that list. We eventually learned that because he was being stationed within Seoul, as long as we were married and I paid for my own flight, the command would approve my visa to stay.
But that meant we’d have to get married first.
In September 2005, on a trip to Sequoia National Park, Adam proposed. In October we made it official with an engagement ring and while Adam spent 2.5 months in San Antonio, TX at Officer Basic Training, my parents and I planned the wedding. It was a bit of a whirlwind for sure and I can’t say I’d recommend it, haha, but luckily it worked out for us. Adam came home in December, a few days later we got married and a week later we moved to Korea. Crazy.
8. Moving out of California
I LOVE California. After spending the first 23 years of my life as a Californian, moving away from my beloved state was definitely tough. Especially so when it meant leaving all my family behind. But I survived it and almost seven years later, I’m appreciative that moving away has giving me the opportunity to have adventures in new places – places I would likely have never seen and fell in love with otherwise.
9. Spending a year living in Seoul, South Korea
Whenever someone asks me about what it was like to live in Korea, my default answer is “Crazy.” But the reality is our year there was so much more than just crazy. It was an amazing adventure, inspiring, totally outside my comfort zone and yes, crazy at times. That year changed me in ways I never expected and I came back a stronger, more adventurous and easy going person because of it.
10. Adjusting to married life and finding
Adam and I often joke that we’re amazed we survived our first year of marriage. Being isolated in a foreign country far away from family, new to the military, newly married, negotiating finances and all the other typical newlywed stuff and well, it made for a rough year. But we made it out together, as a team and stronger as a couple and more prepared for all the stuff we’d deal with later on (like deployments). More than anything I am grateful for the Financial Peace University class we took in the first few months through the military base. It put us on the same page about finances from the very beginning and the rewards from that are something that still impacts our life very much today.
Stay tuned for Part 2, the scrapbooking years…