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30 Life Highlights

May 07, 2015 By: Jenna Category: Personal

I like using my birthday as a chance to reflect on my life. My 26th and 27th years must have been particularly good, if the Amazingly Awesome lists I put together are any indication. For my 30th I’m thinking less about how AMAZING everything is and more about the remarkable experiences and states-of-being that pushed me to where I am today.

This post started out as a fun little trip down memory lane, but after I finished the list I noticed some patterns that reveal what’s most important to me, and where I should be focusing the majority of my time and effort. I was surprised to see that work came to my mind. I hold no fondness for the uniforms, or the long days on my feet,  or the hot-hot heat as I drove tractor through the cherries. It’s the relationships formed with my coworkers and the satisfaction found in being assigned tasks and accomplishing them that I enjoyed so much. This is one of the primary reasons why I want to get a job working for someone else within the next year.

Many of the things I wrote down only made the list because of the people I was with. I need to make it more of a priority in my life to put time and effort into those connections. And travel too, travel needs to always be a priority in our budget and lives.

Quite a few of the experiences reveal nostalgia for the way I grew up. We had the opportunity to provide that same life for our children, but we turned it down in favor of a life that will keep us away from my hometown in the thick of the hustle and bustle. There will always be a part of me that romances the pastoral, and I’m glad my parents still live there so the kids can continue to have those experiences in the summer. The suburbs are very bland (San Francisco city proper has my heart though!).

Thinking about my own childhood of course means I’m going to think about the childhood I’m giving to my kids and what I want them to remember. I have zero memories of my mom sitting on the floor playing with me. What I do remember is the stuff that I now realize would have taken hours and days to prep for. Going boating at Mardon, spending a week at the county fair, the trips we took, the pool we had in our backyard which my parents rarely swam in but probably spent a lot of time maintaining. I’m going to be guilt-free about saying “I’m busy right now, go play” in our daily life, but take more time to go to the beach or San Francisco or  Lake Tahoe or a road trip along the coast.

You know I didn’t make the list at all? Stuff. No mention of any of the toys I got as a kid, or the items I saved up for when I was independent, or talk about how well appointed the furnishings are in our home. Less stuff more experiences has been something we’ve been working toward over the last year, but assembling this list has made me want to double down and make it our new religion. We are moving to Redwood City this summer, and I’m going to use it as a test to see how much we can simplify and downgrade. Our home won’t be Pinterest-worthy, but we will get to know our neighbors.

When I’m 40 I’d like to make another list detailing the highlights from now until then. I want it to be filled with experiences over stuff, food, adventures we squeezed into our daily life, trips to places far and near, and stories about the ways I strengthened my connections with the people who matter most to me. I think I have enough information now to see what’s going to bring me the most joy.

30 Things I Loved About the Last 30 Years

(in no particular order)

1. Growing up on a farm

Here I am, somewhere around five years old, sitting on a horse in my front yard. Behind me is a ditch where we would swim. I’m smiling in the direction of the single-wide trailer where we lived until I was eight years old. It was a life full of simple things, and I never knew how poor we were. I’m very lucky to have parents who worked so hard to give me a great childhood. My kids will never know a Christmas where we spend Christmas Eve with dad’s side of the family watching rodeo clips, wake up the next morning and open presents before eating waffles, and then head over to the dairy to spend Christmas with my mom’s side of the family. They’ll have other things, new traditions and experiences but I’ll always miss what we had.

30 of my Life Highlights

2. Pretending to be a model in Rome

I’m far better behind the camera than I am in front of it, but my  mom worked it and we came away with some once-in-a-lifetime shots. Marching in front of the crowd at Trevi Fountain and getting up the courage to act like there weren’t hundreds of eyes on me was exhilarating. Maybe I’ll make my sister do the same thing in Greece this June.

30 of my Life Highlights

 

3. First sunset in Hawaii

The entire trip was extraordinary, but the portion that makes me happiest to look back on is from our first night, right after we got checked into our hotel. My sister and I decided we were going to race the sunset to the beach, and we ran around frantically trying to get everyone into suits before the sun disappeared completely. We speed walked the block to the beach and were treated to the best sunset of the trip. As good as the sunset was, the part that makes my chest feel a bit constricted with happiness was holding T1 in my arms in the ocean as he said over and over “This is the best ever!” and threw his head back in some of the purest joy I’ve ever seen on his face. I want more moments like that with him, 1000x over.

 

30 of my Life Highlights Read more →

A Fortnight from Thirty

April 04, 2015 By: Jenna Category: Personal

I’m on a plane with T1 and T2, flying up to Washington for Spring Break. It’s just me and the kids, but I’m able to write thanks to the power of Peek-A-Boo Barn and whatever app T1 is using on the Kindle Fire. Some woman at the airport told me, in a somewhat haughty tone, that when her kids were young they used to use books to entertain their children. I say good for her, and also thank goodness I had kids after the word app became a household term.

Last time I checked in here it was to touch base on Hackbright. I didn’t get in for Spring 2015, but I’m working my way toward the Fall class. I’m doing Learn Python the Hard Way, and then How to Think Like a Computer Scientist, and a few courses on one of the many self-study coding websites available now. I’m moving slowly, and feeling very anxious that I don’t get in again, but it helps to talk about it publicly because it stokes my drive to learn so I won’t have to endure another round of telling people that I didn’t get in.

We’re spending the next week with my family, and last night we booked our tickets for Poland! I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to get the kids there this year, with TH’s workload the way it is he won’t be able to go, but my sister is able to come along as my travel companion this year and I’m really looking forward to showing her some of my favorite things about Poland. Plus we’ll be working in a kid-free trip to Greece… Read more →

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One Quick Take

March 16, 2015 By: Jenna Category: Personal

The second audiophile in the family.

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One Quick Take

March 09, 2015 By: Jenna Category: Personal

On this beach trip we learned that it’s best to change into swimsuits and do sunscreen at home. The two of them ran straight for the water as soon as we stepped on the sand.

Tri-X 400. Voigtlander Bessamatic.

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One Quick Take

February 23, 2015 By: Jenna Category: Personal

I still haven’t heard back from Hackbright, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to focus on anything other than refreshing my email every few seconds. At this point I’ll be happy to get any news at all because it feels like I’m stuck in a sort of limbo, unable to make any plans for the next few months because I might be commuting up to San Francisco 6+ days/week. I thought the interview went really well, but with an 8% acceptance rate the odds aren’t in my favor. Stay positive! That’s what I’m trying to focus on, even when the feeling looms over me that no news doesn’t seem like good news in this instance.

Opening up my inbox and finding scans from the Vegas trip I had at the beginning of February was a welcome diversion. We managed to coordinate the schedules of seven different people well enough to spend three days in Vegas together. We lost our light to a bank of clouds right as we were leaving the hotel for pictures/dinner, but I adore these underexposed photos just the same. Below are Megan of Muncher Cruncher (if you’re into health/fitness you’ll love her Instagram account!) and our friend B. We shopped, ate, walked, one of us won $100 at the slots, and sat by the pool talking about Serial. Good, in a different sort of way than the good times we had at BYU. Three more years and we do it again? Definitely not seven, that was far too long.

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Yashica Mat 124g. Acros 100.

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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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