Last month I turned the big 3-0. Which really probably isn’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but it gave me pause. Turning 30, and contemplating the fact that I have been alive for three whole decades, caused me to want to take a trip down memory lane.
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So I decided, more for myself than anything else, to write about some fun (and maybe not so fun) memories of the last thirty years. Plus, I found some picture GOLD from my teen years.
1. Becoming a Big Sister
I still remember when I became a big sister. Mom told me that Emily brought me a doll with her. I legit thought the doll came out of Mom, too…
2. Memaw and Pawpaw’s
It seemed like every weekend I was at my Memaw and Pawpaw’s house. This meant lots of T.V., tickling Pawpaw’s feet while he snored on his recliner, one (or two) ice cream cones on Friday night and breakfast so big on Saturday morning that I could never finish. Yet, Memaw would pressure me to eat more.
Oh, and usually a po’ boy sandwich for lunch before we left.
3. Weekends at Cycleland
If we weren’t at Memaw’s, then we were in Nacogdoches riding dirtbikes and four-wheelers, roasting marshmallows, and going on Night Rides.
P.S. I thought I was so B.A. when I jumped the “hills” on my dirt bike.
4. Skating Parties
Are you really a child of the ’90s if you didn’t have a skating birthday party? One year I invited my first-grade teacher. She didn’t come. But I remember hoping so badly she would! Also, I still make this face LOL .
5. Playing Teacher
Speaking of teachers…I played one A LOT. And the Chirstmas that Santa brought me an overhead…well…I was legit then
I remember multiple birthday presents coming from the Teacher Supply Store. What a bummer that actually being a teacher is not nearly as fun as playing teacher.
6. Daycare at Mother Goose’s
Glenda always jokes that she wiped the 3 youngest Buchtien gal’s butts. And that’s cause she did. My entire childhood was spent at Glenda’s and I have so many memories of playing in her garage turned daycare center, naps in her formal living room, and of course, field trips to “Camel Take my Bucket.” (What’s the real name? No one knows…because all we knew is that the camels always took your bucket of food.) (That’s not true, I’m sure Glenda knows but to me, it will always be “Camel Take my Bucket.”)
7. The Dance Years
I spent quite a few years (at least that’s what it felt like) in dance classes. I have the pictures, 90’s make-up and all, to prove it.
Finally, I quit dance because I was tired of wearing the pantyhose to every practice. But, as a 30 year old looking back, I can recollect the feelings of shame and embarrassment of not being as good as the others in class. Which leads me to think that my “Enneagram One-ness” was present all those years ago.
8. RV Trips
When I think about my childhood, my family, it’s summer RV trips. Every summer, from 1997 until 2013 or so, we piled in the RV and headed off on a vacation. I usually hated it at the time, but man am I grateful for those memories today.
Standing at 30 looking back at all those miles logged, lunches Mom prepared us while traveling 70 mph on the highway, awful jazz songs we listened to while cruising down the interstate… those are memories I will forever cherish.
9. Turning 10
I still remember the night I turned 10. Of course, it was 4th of July, and we were in the cul-de-sac of my childhood home. I remember walking around showing two hands- so proud that I would officially be two hands old!
10. The Day the World Stopped Turning
Probably one of the deepest memories of my childhood is 9-11. I still remember walking by Mrs. Mann’s classroom and seeing something strange on the T.V. I remember going to my advisory class, randomly in the middle of the day, and my teacher (whom I can’t remember… the teacher in me feels so bad about that!) and her explaining to us what was going on.
I remember coming home and being really unsure of what was happening. Questioning if Mom and Dad were in danger. Wondering what in the world the Twin Towers were (because I didn’t know about them at this point).
This is, like most of my Millennial brothers and sisters, a defining moment in our childhoods. A time when we began to realize the world was much bigger than just our own backyards.
I can’t let the “Young Years” wrap up without mentioning these great memories…
When I see my sisters now, all I see is the women they are. I sometimes forget the hours we spent playing with our dollhouse, school, “house,” and even matchbox cars.
Also, another defining yet terrible moment in my childhood… My grandmother pulling out my two front teeth (that were barely wiggly) and taping them to a piece of paper with a note that she hung on the door for my parents to see when they got home. I’m pretty sure Grandmommy was taking out whatever anger she had at the whole world on my two front, bottom, teeth. I don’t remember there being any pain. That was likely the Lord’s favor on me.
And, lastly, we can’t forget the fact that in 5th-grade kids were talking about sex on the bus and I flat out told them that was not real. A Mom and a Dad just prayed for a baby and God put it in your stomach………
Teen and College Years
1. TSMAC/Youth Group/BFF
When I think about the formative years of teenager-y, I can’t extract these people from a single memory. They were part of pretty much everything I did in my middle and high school years.
By the time I made it to high school, I had pretty much quit all sports- keenly aware of how inept I was and too insecure/afraid/ashamed to keep trying. That meant that Youth Group was my extracurricular.
I met them when I was in 7th grade, so 12 or 13? And we just celebrated my 30th birthday, on a Zoom call, spanning 4 cities, 3 time zones…3 separate continents. God was so gracious to give me them.
2. Youth Group Trips
Another defining memory… all the trips we took- Jamaica, Florida, Schlitterbahn. I’m sure there were more. We became the best at prank calling.
3. Mastering the Art of Selfies and Duck Face
Growing up in the early 2000’s…I’d be remiss to not mention (or share) the plethora of selfie pics I took in these formative years.
4. Disney World
Disney World is easily one of my most favorite places I’ve ever been to. I’ve been a handful of times and each time it gets better and better.
Except for the time I had my very first panic attack on the “Finding Nemo” submarine ride. That’s when I learned what it means to be claustrophobic.
5. Texas State
In 2008, I headed off to San Marcos Texas unaware that the Hill Country would end up being my Forever Home. I also was unaware of how much college would actually teach me about myself instead of being a teacher.
6. Alpha Delta Pi
Just like I can’t separate high school and the besties, I can’t separate college and ADPi.
ADPi taught me to feel more confident in myself, who God created me to be, and the giftings I was given. From the group of girls I became friends with simply because we didn’t like to go to parties (don’t worry…that changed ;)) to the year I spent serving on the Executive Board of the chapter.
7. Garcia’s Night
Sooo…probably about 3 to 4 months into college, and being an ADPi, I found my “group.” And Ashtyn, the actual local to San Marcos, took us to this dingey, hole in the wall restaurant- Garcia’s. I wasn’t sure where she was taking us at the time. But what she did was more than take us to a place with delicious queso and bottomless unsweet tea.
Garcia’s was ‘our’ place. It’s where we went every Tuesday after chapter meetings (literally). It’s where we hashed out the latest boy drama. It’s where we planned our infamous Gulf Shores trip. It’s where life stood still for just a little bit.
Plus, y’all, the waitress knew my order!
8. Making a Summer Bucket List
When I think college, I can’t help but remember making a summer bucket list with these girls. 100 things we wanted to accomplish ranging from attending church to staying sober for two weeks… There was a lot in between, like dress up as Harry Potter characters, walk with the Asian lady on our street who walked at 2:00 AM every morning, kiss a guy from every frat, and a lot more that current-30-year-old-Kelly doesn’t really feel the proudest of.
I’d like to add that I crossed off the “stay sober for 2 weeks” item
Young Adult Years
1. Adopting Milo
The happiest, and most annoying, thing I did as a young adult was adopt my Milo Bear. Looking back at pictures and videos, I forgot how tiny he really was.
2. Becoming a Teacher through Teacher Fellows
In 2012 I was given THE best opportunity any teacher could ask for. I was accepted into the Teacher Fellow’s Program- a Masters program for First Year Teachers.
Not only did I learn how to actually be a teacher (cause they don’t really teach you very much of that in college), I gained friends that I still have to this day.
3. Teacher Friends Becoming Real Life Friends
Plus, then I became a teacher in Kyle and slowly began to get to know the teachers on my campus. Year One was all about surviving, plus I had my TF friends. Year Two was my Year from Hell. But by Year Three…I finally started making some friends.
I wouldn’t be the teacher I am, or even the person I am, without these ladies.
4. Girls Trips
Mid-Twenties means lots of girls trips. I love a good girl trip and my young adult years have had no shortage on those.
Family vacations slowly became fewer and farther between. Our last family vacation was 2016. We went to New Orleans for Spring Break. But even in my young adult years, family vacations were a priority.
Cramming in an RV with grown adults wasn’t the easiest. And there were a whole lot more thoughts and opinions on what was happening at any given time (read: attitude), but I am so grateful for the times I got to spend traveling the U.S. (and even abroad!) with my family!
6. Living in Austin
I can officially say I had a “cool” year in my twenties. It’s when I got a little slice of city life (except not really cause no way this teacher could afford a downtown Austin life on her salary).
7. Buying a House
But after a year, I had had enough of (Austin) city life. And I planted roots down in New Braunfels. Cody and I had broken up at this point. But I distinctly remember feeling so distraught over whether or not he would want to live in this home because deep down in my bones, I knew he would be the man I would marry.
But until then, Milo and I joined a girly house that was all ours.
8. Starting my Own Business
In my mid-twenties I also became more aware of the “entrepreneur” side of me. I first started a furniture painting business and realized real quick that sweating away in a garage listening to podcasts and paintings wasn’t really how I wanted my business to go.
I attended a business conference for women, met some great ladies, and learned how to start a blog, why a podcast would help me grow. And voila, the day after my 30th birthday I had my first “big” sale of something I created.
9. Meeting and Marrying Cody
In 2014 God brought me Cody. We dated for a few years before we tied the knot. Fun years filled with learning how to date as an adult, how to share my feelings, how to trust that not all guys are jerks, and lots of fun travels along the way.
10. Moving Abroad
In college I wanted to study abroad, but never really had the courage to do it. When Cody started talking about the opportunity to move abroad, I began to really think about how cool of a chance this would be for us. We both realized this was something we wanted but neither of us had the courage to do it alone.
Fourteen months into being married, we packed up three suitcases, three plastic tubs, two dogs, and got a one way ticket to Germany.
11. Growing, Changing, and Shifting Thoughts
Which brings me to my final reflection on thirty years of life.
My twenties have been a decade of immense growth. I would say it started at the end of college when I and my college boyfriend broke up. Quickly, I realized how far I was from God and how important he was in my life.
In those first few years, I found my own faith, different from the one given to me by my high school youth group. Then, it transitioned to learning about my health and body- the foods I put in it and the products I put on it. I began to learn about how to grow my own food and create my own skincare products.
I started listening to a lot of podcasts that opened my eyes to things outside of my little bubble.
I read the Bible in its entirety and learned about God’s intention in providing for the poor. I saw Jesus’ love for the marginalized. More recently I have grown in ways that have challenged my thoughts on racism, politics, and what my role is in all of that.
I am grateful for growth. Looking back, even from the young years, I see bits of me that are changing, growing, emerging as time goes on. I am curious to see where this next decade takes me.
Until next time,