August 27, 2011
I turned 30 today. I don’t feel any different than I did when I turned 29 last year or 28 the year before. I’m not exactly where I wanted to be at the age of 30, but I’m okay with the progress I’ve made. Besides, I really can’t complain. I’ve lived a pretty good life so far and I’ve accomplished a few things that I’m pretty proud of. For example…
1. I created a family. It’s not nuclear. It’s not conventional. But it’s mine. For nearly six years, Micah and I have been our own little family.
2. I graduated from high school. After four years of typical teenage angst, I crossed the stage with my diploma—and never looked back…until my 10-year class reunion.
3. I graduated from college. It took longer than I had ever planned, but I did it. Despite struggles with College Math, homesickness (during my two-year tenure in Oklahoma), and a little intermission I like to call Micah, I managed to earn a degree to put next to my diploma.
4. I earned a track scholarship. For a very long time, my life revolved around running. I practiced two or three times a day, all four seasons, without fail. And it paid off…by paying for my education.
5. I became a bonafide journalist. I had the academic credentials and after volunteering to author columns for the Dallas Morning News, I had the professional qualifications. I’d penned pieces on single motherhood, pregnancy discrimination, and self-love.
6. Then I got paid to write. I freelanced—which came with bylines…and an actual paycheck.
7. I learned to drive. I guess it’s not much of an accomplishment and I didn’t doubt that it would ever happen, but I passed Driver’s Ed with flying colors.
8. I traveled the country. I’ve been on the East Coast. I’ve been on the West Coast. I’ve been up north. I’ve visited the Midwest. But two places I’d like to cross of my list are Miami and Atlanta.
9. I competed in the Texas Relays and the Penn Relays (all in one year). If you know anything about track, you know this is a BIG deal.
10. I reconnected with my high school sweetheart (also known as The Boyfriend). After years apart, we decided to give it another go.
11. I confessed. Back in March, I let you guys in on a little secret that had been plaguing me for a while. Sometimes, I’m still a bit embarrassed that I disclosed that tidbit of information, but it was actually very therapeutic to put fingers to keyboard and know that I wasn’t alone.
12. I got my heart broken. And survived. You know what I’m talking about. That I’m-never-going-to-make-it-through-this kind of heartbreak that hurt so terribly at the time, but really ended up making you stronger…and wiser.
13. I won an all-expenses paid trip to New York City. In 2004, I was selected to participate in the International Radio and Television Society Minority Career Workshop. I traveled to New York via airplane and stayed in the Marriott Marquis (smack dab in the middle of Times Square)—for free—and met a ton of awesome people that, to this very day, I wish I would have kept in touch with.
14. I auditioned for a commercial. But I didn’t get the part.
15. I became a steady volunteer at an organization that I wholeheartedly believe in. Some people argue that fashion is superficial. Some people say that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, not what’s on the outside. And some people believe that appearances don’t (or shouldn’t) matter. I feel that people are entitled to their opinion, but I’ve been volunteering at Attitudes & Attire long enough to know that the attire on the outside can completely and positively transform a woman’s attitude on the inside.
16. I became a finalist for the Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund. In 2008, I was selected by a celebrity panel of judges (including actress Phylicia Rashad, personal finance expert Suze Orman, professional makeup artist Jillian Dempsey, and Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson) for my proposal to implement a program that would help teenage mothers complete high school and pursue higher education. I wasn’t selected as a winner, but it’s still something that I’m very proud of.
17. I graduated from Dallas Blueprint for Leadership. BPL is a program sponsored by the Center for Nonprofit Management that provides minority community members with high-quality training necessary for nonprofit board leadership. It was a remarkable experience (which was published in The Dallas Morning News) and my class was full of like-minded minorities who were eager to support the nonprofit community.
18. I started a blog. Duh. I can’t stand to admit this, but I haven’t been near as dedicated to words & wardrobes as I know I can (and want to) be. I’m working on it. Really.
19. I’ve raised a son who understands the concept of volunteering and giving back. Well, as much as an almost 6-year-old can understand. If I volunteer, he volunteers.
20. I received an invitation to this year’s Fashion’s Night Out at Galleria Dallas. Um, I have no words. Wait, yes I do. Can you say STOKED?!
21. I’ve inspired. Sometimes I still stare at my Inbox in awe when I see an e-mail from a reader. Even with all the support I receive from my words & wardrobes readers, I can’t believe that I actually impact people. Hm.
22. I stuffed my face with beignets at Café du Monde in New Orleans. Mmmm. I wish I could pack that place up in my purse and bring it home with me. I guess I’ll have to settle for the boxes of beignet mix they sell at the airport—and attempt to make them myself. That ought to be a riot.
23. I’ve been featured on CNN. I think my picture is absolutely hideous and the dress I’m wearing is beyond unflattering, but it’s CNN!
24. I interned twice through the ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program. This program hires college students to intern (with pay) at nonprofits over the summer in order to expose them to the nonprofit industry with the hopes that they’ll choose that career path after graduation. It worked for me—I’ve spent most of my career in the nonprofit sector.
25. I competed in the Texas state track meet. After three years of failing to qualify for the state meet, I finally made it to State my senior year of high school. I ended up being fourth in the state, but it’s still one of my greatest achievements.
26. I graduated from Leadership Garland. LG is a program that provides local citizens with leadership training and the opportunity to contribute to the future growth and development of the community.
27. I got inked. It’s hidden…
28. I kicked on a cruise ship and mingled in Mexico. It was definitely an experience to remember…
29. I witnessed the inauguration of our country’s first Black president. On television, of course.
30. I visited Disney World. Need I say more?
See? Thirty things in 30 years—not bad, huh? But I’m a work in progress, so I’ve made a list of 30 things I want to do while I’m 30. Let the countdown begin…
1. Ride a mechanical bull.
3. Get inked. Again.
4. Reach 500 blog followers.
5. Begin keeping a journal.
6. Learn the virtue of patience.
7. Learn to sew via sewing machine.
8. Take an acting class.
9. Become a NAAWLI Class of 2012 fellow.
10. Take a photography class.
11. Live my dream and monetize words & wardrobes.
12. Take a salsa dancing class.
13. Become a steady volunteer at Dress for Success Dallas.
14. Be featured in Essence Magazine.
15. Take Micah on a special trip.
16. Get an article published in a national magazine.
17. Positively impact the Dallas fashion scene.
18. Write more.
19. Sincerely work on self-improvement.
20. Prepare Micah’s future education.
21. Learn to forgive myself.
22. Enroll Micah in martial arts.
23. Ride the new Texas Giant at Six Flags.
24. Visit the Sea Life Aquarium in Grapevine.
25. Learn to let go and move on.
26. Visit Legoland Discovery Center.
27. Learn to drive a stick shift.
28. Enroll Micah in an art class.
29. Go to a wine-tasting event.
30. Read more.
Here I go...