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A Shout Out To My 20s


 
Fair warning: I have minimal control over what this post looks like on mobile. It is designed to be read on desktop, so if you are reading this on mobile I apologize if things look a bit off.
 


Apparently entering my 30s means I'm officially in my blogger era, because your girl has never written a blog in her life and I have no idea why I've decided to start now 😂

I guess now that I'm finally thirty, flirty, and thriving (iykyk), it's only natural that I would be venturing into uncharted territory such as the written word - right?


So here goes nothing!


 

Welp. The dreaded 3-0 has finally crept up on me... I suppose this is the part where I'm supposed to start whining and crying because I'm old now? Well if that's what you came here for, I'm sorry to have to disappoint you because I have no intentions of doing that.


Me at 25, working at said salon

It's funny, I can still vividly remember working at a commission salon in my early 20s, watching so many of my coworkers turn 30 and act like their lives were essentially over. Like 30 was the milestone that everyone feared because it meant you're officially old, washed up, too old to party, not hip, or whatever else the youths say these days. I remember wondering if I was also going to have such a negative reaction to turning 30, and what my life would be like when 2023 finally rolled around.


And here I am in this full circle moment, not feeling any different about turning 30 than I did about turning 23 or 25.



In fact, if anything, I'm more excited about turning 30!

And that's because I'm finally out of the "in my 20s" phase, where all the boomers look at me like I'm a child and treat me as such because I lack the maturity and "life experience" that they have. Being in my 30s finally warrants the level of respect that I've been desperately wanting for so long, and I plan to embrace that to the fullest extent!

I mean, just look at that face 👀

Does this face not exude "I'm a mature adult energy?" My point exactly!



But, before I carry on with living my best grown and sophisticated life, I want to take a few minutes to reflect on some of the bigger milestones that I've faced in the last decade that have lead me to where I am today - not just for myself, but also as a way for you to get to know who I am on a deeper level than just watching me make coffee in my Instagram stories every morning.


So if you're up for it, let's dive in.

 

Milestone #1: Uprooting

When I was 22 (queue T Swift song), I quit my job at my dream salon and left my hometown of Bismarck, North Dakota to move an hour+ north to the tiny town of Minot, ND to live with my boyfriend, Taylor, who was stationed at Minot Air Force Base. It was an easy decision to make, but a difficult one to act on. I had only been working behind the chair for 3 years, but I was doing extremely well for myself. I had already built a full clientele, was making really good money, and worked with a team that was second to none.


But I was resilient and in love, so there was no stopping me.


I knew that no matter where I went, I could rebuild. There would be a massive pay cut for a while, but I didn't care - I had to trust my gut. I just kept reminding myself of what my cosmetology school teacher used to tell me:


Hairstylists & Salons are one of the only industries that will always have job security - People will never stop needing to get their hair cut.

So I took the leap. And it's good thing I did, because that leads me to the next milestone of my 20s...


 

Milestone #2: Getting Married

Iceland Ring Road - 2018

25 was a big year for me. It was a year filled with adventure and excitement. We traveled all over the US and even crossed off a bucket list item - road tripping through Iceland! It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I genuinely thought that nothing could top Iceland that year, but that was before I knew that Taylor would also ask me to marry him just a few weeks later.



Now I know I risk sounding like a huge cheeseball using this cliche, but Taylor really is my soulmate. I have never felt so comfortable and at peace with anyone the way that I do with him. He understands me on a level that not even my own parents do. So saying yes to his proposal was something that I didn't even have to think about. To be honest, I knew I wanted to be with him forever before I even moved to Minot.


So at 11am on new year's eve 2018, with a balmy -22F windchill, I married the love of my life at the courthouse in Minot. It was small, nontraditional, and perfect in every way. We wrapped up our exciting morning by having breakfast with our closest friends at a local diner. It was so special that we made visiting that diner on our anniversary a tradition, and it still holds a special place in my heart to this day.



 

Milestone #3: The Pandemic

Well, you and I both know how this one starts...


Honestly, 2020 started out chaotic for us before sh*t even had a chance to hit the fan. The first week of January, Taylor was told that he would be deploying to Guam and he was leaving in 5 days...


Okay... not an ideal way to start out the new year, but we've been through plenty of deployments before so this was no big deal. They told him he should only be gone for a month or so, which was nothing compared to the 6+ month deployments that he has been on before.


So he left for Guam and I settled in to my usual deployment routine of eating ice cream and popcorn for dinner every night and playing Minecraft with my best buds (our cats), Ferdinand and Tobasco.

Then the C word happened... This new scary virus that no one knew anything about was circulating around the world and suddenly Italy was completely shut down. Within a week it had made its way into the US, and there were already people testing positive in North Dakota of all places! Before I knew it, at the end of March, salons were mandated to close and I was filing for unemployment.


All the while, Taylor was still stuck in Guam!



 

Meanwhile, in an attempt to maintain some of my sanity during quarantine, I decided to pour myself into some online education. I enrolled in a program that was going to teach me all about the business side of being a hairstylist. I didn't know it at the time, but that program was going to completely change my career - in fact, I probably wouldn't be writing this blog post today or showing up on social media the way that I do if that program hadn't given me the push to start.

 


At the end of April, everything was still shut down in ND, but Taylor was finally able to come home! It was a very different homecoming than we were used to. Typically all of the spouses were able to gather on the flight line to welcome home their loved ones as they got off the plane, but this time we were told we had to wait in our cars. Masks weren't readily accessible yet, so the airmen had to make their own face coverings to wear on the flight home. The sight of hundreds of people in uniform with ripped up shirts wrapped around their heads and faces as they rushed to hug their loved ones made me feel like I was living in a Mad Max movie. But, apocalyptic vibes aside, I finally had my husband back and a human to talk to in-person, for the first time in weeks.



A couple weeks later, I turned 27. Then, the state opened everything back up at the end of May. My cosmetology teacher's words were yet again ringing in my head as we saw firsthand how desperate people were to get their hair done as things started to open back up. The months that followed were filled with paranoia, tension, politics, and chaos.


During those months I had a lot of realizations...


  • A lot of people that I respected and enjoyed being around before the pandemic were now showing me their true colors - and it wasn't a cute look.

  • I wasn't willing to take clients that didn't align with my personal values anymore

  • "The customer is always right" was no longer a part of my vocabulary

  • I was sick of working at a salon that didn't allow me to niche down and grow as a stylist

  • I was ready to step into my new role


Which leads me to the next milestone...


 

Milestone #4: Strong, Independent Stylist

I was determined to make 2021 my year. I left the commission salon that I had worked at for the last 5 years and opened my own studio on the other side of town. I was terrified, but so damn excited!


I had been dreaming of having my own place since I was in cosmetology school and now I was finally turning it into reality! I have never been so proud of anything in my life. A space that I created all on my own and the ability to create a guest experience for my clients that I had been dreaming up for years.

And it was magical. I was finally able to work a schedule that suited me, I only took clients that were within my target market, and only offered services that I was willing to do - and nobody could tell me otherwise! My marketing efforts also started to gain a lot of traction and before I knew it I had a full schedule filled with target market clients.


Needless to say, 2021 really was my year. It was the first time in my adult life that I had full control of my career, and it gave me an overwhelming sense of fulfillment, pride, and peace. I was so excited to keep the momentum going into 2022 but, in December, Taylor got some news that was going to completely change life as we knew it...


 

Milestone #5: Permanent Change Of Station

About 2 weeks before Christmas 2021, Taylor got a notice that we honestly thought would never come - orders to a new base.



Taylor had been stationed at Minot AFB for 11 years at that point. It was his one and only base to date, so needless to say we both had given up hope that he was ever going to get orders to a new base.


I will never forget that morning. I was just about to walk out the door to head in to the salon when he opened up the email. All I heard from the other room was a frantic "Uhhhh, I just got orders... to ENGLAND!!"



The weeks that followed were absolute chaos...

  • How was I going to tell my clients?

  • I have to close my business...

  • What was I going to do for work in another country?

  • How the hell are we going to fly two cats, that hate traveling, to the UK?

  • How does a move with the military work?

  • Will our electronics work in the UK?

  • What do we do with all of our stuff that we can't take with us?


As I said, chaos.


I can say with complete certainty that I have never been so stressed in my entire life. We found out we were moving in December and by the end of April we were already living in England. There were about five million moving parts, only 3ish months to get everything done, and pretty much nothing went smoothly.



March was definitely the worst of it...

  • March 9 - took my last client

  • March 14 - finished packing up my studio and handed in my keys

  • March 25 - drove a Uhaul to Iowa to store a bunch of stuff at Taylor's mom's house

  • March 31 - Ferdinand and Tobasco unexpectedly passed away due to causes that we still haven't figured out

  • April 6 - the moving company came to pack up and ship all of our stuff to the UK


Taylor's car also broke down and we got about 30 inches of snow during a 3 day blizzard just before we left North Dakota. At the time, it really felt like Minot was trying to take every last jab that it could get at us before we finally left. But we made it!



I turned 29 just a couple weeks after we got to the UK, and it was a rocky year to say the very least. I'll give you the cliff notes version in an attempt to not end this on a complete bummer - I struggled a lot with my mental health this last year. I let grief consume me and it took me most of the year to start learning how to cope with it.


But, there were still a lot of great moments sprinkled in too. I shifted into a new educator role and started working as a marketing coach for hairstylists. I also accepted a position working for one of my mentors as a marketing coordinator. My love for social media marketing continued to expand and evolve and I learned so much about being an educator!



We also moved into our house, I started a massive houseplant collection, and we reawakened our love for travel with trips to Ireland, Germany, and lots of road trips around England. We also made some new friends, started a new Dungeons & Dragons campaign, and started settling in to our new lives in the UK.


Which I guess leads me to present day...


 

Looking back, my 20s taught me a lot of really hard, but necessary lessons. It's crazy to think about how much happens in just 10 years, but I suppose that's just my old age starting to peak through 😉


When I had the idea to write this blog post I really had no idea what it was going to look like or what it might turn in to. It ended up being so much more than I expected - cathartic in every sense of the word. So even if no one ends up reading it in its entirety, I'm still so glad that I took the time to write it.


Like a miniature memoir, if you will.


However, if you did have the patience to make it all the way to this point, I just want to say thank you for being here. I know this was a long one, but I was already lost in the sauce before I knew how lengthy it was going to end up. I guess this means we're best friends now, because you basically know everything about me lol


 

I have no idea how one is supposed to wrap up a blog post, so I guess I'll just do a written form of an Irish goodbye.


Peace ✌️


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