three decades down…


next sunday is my thirtieth birthday!

i really love birthdays. they are such a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the joys and challenges of a passed year of living triumphantly, and to look forward to another trip around the sun on our beautiful, diverse earth. i always welcome any chance to celebrate, and birthdays are just a great excuse to recognize the beauty of life and revel in it – to connect with loved ones, to participate in favourite activities, and of course to eat cake and ice cream!

however, birthdays do carry with them a bit more heaviness as our years on earth increase in number – because getting older can feel a bit sad and a bit scary! i’d never really felt much angst connected with getting older until last june. i woke up on my twenty-ninth birthday, looked in the mirror, and was thoroughly convinced that my face was ten times wrinklier than the day before – ha! all of a sudden i started worrying about little things that cropped up in my body and life that indicated any tiny indication of loss of youthfulness. i let my irrational panic run its course and snapped out of it before too long … and now as i approach my thirtieth i am focusing on all the good bits about getting older. because surely the best is yet to come!

over the past couple of weeks, as i’ve anticipated my upcoming milestone birthday, i’ve spent some time contemplating on the three decades i’ve been alive. those nearly 11,000 days have been so full in so many different amazing ways, and i’m really grateful.

here’s a quick, little, incomplete list of reflections on my thirty years of mortality (which i might add to gradually!). life sure is beautiful.

some things i’m so glad i did
-was tutored by my sisters and toughened up by my brothers
-learned to really love watching basketball and really appreciate a good sports match
-traveled with my family and began developing awareness for the diversity of the world and my tremendous privilege
-explored my interests and discovered a love for playing the flute, appreciating the fine arts, and being in nature
-moved across the country from utah to virginia for a year
-asked god questions and developed my own testimony of truth; was baptized in the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints
some things i wish i could tell my 0-10 year old self
-don’t quit those piano lessons!
-cherish your parents; honor and respect them to the upmost

some things i’m so glad i did

-worked my butt off to excel as a dancer
-participated in humanitarian projects with my family
-got really involved in high school activities; had a ton of good, clean, teenage fun
-stepped way out of my comfort zone and went across the pond by myself to spend a summer studying in oxford
-worked really hard to get into an excellent university; applied to lots of different schools
-moved far away from home to an entirely new world at wellesley college
-spent a summer studying contemporary art in new york city and living with my childhood best friend; spent a summer interning in the senate in washington, dc
-questioned my religious beliefs and recommitted myself to my religious beliefs
-spent time babysitting and developing relationships with my nieces and nephews
-developed friendships that will last a lifetime
some things i wish i could tell my 10-19 year old self
-chillll out about boys; be more confident!
-eat healthier and exercise more; invest a bit more effort in your appearance
-take more time to discover how your passions can translate into a career path; think more about the future in your studies {this is actually my one legitimate, major life regret that i have – and something i may blog more about in the future}

some things i’m so glad i did

-studied abroad in the holy land
-spent a semester at brigham young university in utah
-served a mission
-made the choice to spend on travel; chose experiences over things
-learned the importance and value of serving others in simple, everyday, close-to-home ways
-had the experience of being in a job that was not the right kind of job for me and was very difficult to enjoy
-endured some pretty intense heartbreak
-re-questioned my religious beliefs and re-recommitted myself to my religious beliefs
-developed a love for healthy eating and fitness
-took on the immense challenge of teaching all core subjects to thrity-eight eighth graders at an urban charter school
-listened to my intuition to be really open to and patient with developing romantic feelings for ian wright :)
-married ian wright (!!!!)
some things i wish i could tell my 20-29 year old self
-save more and spend less money; accumulate less stuff
-more actively hone the ability to use time wisely; ban procrastination
-spend more energy on serving others

the arrival of my first child is well-coordinated with my thirtieth birthday – indeed an entirely new phase of life will begin with this new decade! yes, surely, the best is yet to come.


  1. Happy early birthday!

    I turned 30 last year and similarly took some time to reflect on things I was proud to have accomplished in my time here on earth, and also things I wish I'd done different. I bet it'll be so nice to have this post in the future so you can impart this wisdom on your children.

    Would you ever consider doing a post on how you questioned and recommitted your faith at different periods growing up?

    1. I should add- I realize that's a deeply personal experience so I totally understand if it's something you'd rather not share.

  2. Charity,

    Wishing you a happy 30th birthday.

    I just turned 30 too, this past Sunday on May 29th. Yikes!


  3. I turned 30 a year ago and while I didn't examine things in the way you did, I have found that when I turned 31, I really figured out what I wanted and how to achieve it. I'm probably still a long way from achieving some of my goals, but I like the direction.

    Enjoy your 31st year (30th birthday)!

  4. I stumbled across your blog from your sisters but had no idea you lived/taught here in SJ. As a teacher at another charter school here, just about to release my students to middle school (a few to the school where you taught), I just want to say thank you for the time you put in with your students. Our work here is not easy and I'm sure that was probably one of the most overwhelming periods of your life. But it is SO worth it. I am fortunate to still be in touch with some of the kids I taught years ago, and seeing them be successful in middle school and high school is worth all the frustration, late nights and early mornings.

  5. I love this. Although I've thought a lot about the experiences I've been grateful for as an adult and things I wished I'd done differently in my youth, I've never broken it down like this. Thanks for sharing, Char!


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