In about three weeks I turn 30 years old. Talk about a time to reflect. Some people dread getting older, however I’m looking forward to starting a new decade of my life. I hear that 30’s can be your best years and that the way you start a decade can set the pace for the next 10 years of your life. Hmmm…maybe this explains why I’m living the next 6 months traveling throughout Britain, Europe, Israel, and who knows where else. For more details on that adventure, check out my travel blog www.EthnosTravel.wordpress.com.
What kicked off these reflections was a gift for my upcoming 30th birthday that my loving Aunt Karen from Pennsylvania sent me. In a birthday card she enclosed an entire stack of old photos. They were of my childhood and captured me at all different ages: infant to toddler, kid to teenager…it’s very touching to look at them to say the least. To see the album click here. There was something sentimental about the feel of old photos in my hands. It made me realize how much things have changed, not just with technology, but in me as well.
And so began my reflections back on my life thus far…almost thirty years of life and I was struck with how much the people in my life have molded me and influenced who I am. More than anything though, it made me grateful. I’ve been fortunate to experience a family that is loving and gave me an amazing childhood. Full of love and affirmation, my parents invested all of themselves into me. They spent time with me, reading and playing music, camping and hiking, even climbing trees. My life has been blessed with amazing people through my family and through friends.
Life has also had its surprises and hurts. Not everything is rose-colored glass…there has been heartache and loss, tragedy and grief…however, more than anything, there has been love. There is love. And for that, I am forever thankful…
First I want to thank the friends I have had in my life…I thought about naming them here, but would hate to limit myself that way and to leave anyone out. You each know who you are. From elementary school friends that I shared the same birthday with to high school friends and middle school girls I mentored…some of you are now married and with kids of your own. Some are graduating from college and reminding me of how young I was when I would babysit you…crazy that adults entrusted you to me. And my trusty, fun college girlfriends…people would swear that we were cousins if not sisters, we looked so much alike and were always together so much. It’s neat to see where all of us are now. To more recent and current friends, you’re an amazing part of my Colorado home and life. From skiing to backpacking, roommates and building-mates, downtown nights out to weddings and babies…you’ve been there for me through celebrating joyous events and grieving through tragedies. Thank you does not even begin to describe my appreciation to all of you…but you have my friendship for the rest of our lives to continue to show you my gratefulness.
And I have to thank my first love. You rocked my world and the after-shock still resonates…and in the best of ways. Sure, things did not turn out the way we hoped, but I believe part of turning 30 for me is coming to a new place where I am glad for the past and would not change what we had or want it gone for the life of me. You’re a very special person and got to me like no other, even to this day. God help the person who does one day get to me even more 🙂 But for now, you hold the record. Thank you for you. There’s simply no other words that can express what I feel about you and will always appreciate about having been in love with you. You have taught me the most about myself.
Last, but certainly not least…
I want to thank my mom and dad for all their love that they continue to give – you each loved me so much that I have never doubted that you would always love me through anything and forever. My appreciation and love goes out to my grandparents, those who are still with us and those who have already gone ahead…your adoration of me makes me think of the coziest blanket. To my aunts, uncles, and cousins – the memories I have created with you remain with me still and I look forward to many more memories to come. As our family has grown with the addition of my step-mother and step-siblings, our family love has grown as well…thank you for your openness and growing together. You’re love and faith in me touches me still. And to my brothers: Marky and Brendan…don’t forget that it was me who named you both and you are such close friends and the coolest boys I know…your friendship with me is such a joy! I always laugh so much with both of you and I see each of you as one of the coolest parts of me and my life. My family is so wonderful to me! Each of you have showered so much love on me, instilling in me the strongest sense of making the most of every moment by being kind, affirming, and loving to others. Life is short, so why be mean or unkind…you’re each extraordinary people in how you love and live.
I’ve learned so much from all of you. The most important things I’ve learned have been from my mistakes. Thanks for loving me, mistakes and all.
Where would I be without each of you? Who would I be? I would be a completely different Amalia, that’s for sure. I’m in love with the Amalia that I am…all of me and all of who makes me who I am. With that truth about my past and present known and loved, I’m excited to venture into my 30’s. And guess what…you’re each coming with me.