Personal: Five hopes for my thirties

Today, it's official. I'm no longer a twenty-something.

And if I can be honest with myself and the world, it's something I've been looking forward to for a while now. My twenties were wonderful: so much learning, loving, and growing. I made amazing, lifelong friends from every corner of the country, and got started on a career path that I felt so passionate about.

Image thanks to Andrew Storms. None of my cake photos had candles... or dinosaurs!

Image thanks to Andrew Storms. None of my cake photos had candles... or dinosaurs!

I hoped for, but expected, almost none of those things, and as I get older (hey, it's better than the alternative!) I find myself having even more hopes and fewer expectations.

So happy birthday to me, and here are five hopes for my next decade.

  1. I hope to fill my passport with stamps. In the past two years, I've taken my first international trips -- Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Paris last summer, and India and Nepal this past winter -- and good and bad, I want to keep it going!  Next on my list is Italy, and beyond that, somewhere warm and tropical. From there... who knows?
  2. I hope to love more deeply, and be loved in return. Everyone deserves love. I deserve love. My thirties sound like an awfully good time to make a commitment to love, though.
  3. I hope to have a cat again. I know, this one might seem a little mundane, but now that I've learned to keep houseplants (mostly) alive, I'm ready for a furry, non-judgmental feline friend to come back into my life. The constant lint rolling is totally worth it, trust me.
  4. I hope to strengthen some family ties. In my twenties, I didn't prioritize this. I may not have the easiest family, but who does? But I'm learning there are so many relationships with so much potential. Surely at least a few are worth building up.
  5. I hope to do big things. I started photographing weddings only three years ago, and in 2015, I'll have photographed 16 weddings (and second-shot video on a few more beyond that!) Wedding photography is something that feels so natural to me, and I adore it.  But, I still have a delightful, fulfilling "day" job in nonprofit communications that I love. Before photography, I always assumed I'd rise through the ranks of the nonprofit world and someday be an executive director; yet, this year I turned down an ED job offer because it would've cut time for photography out of my life.  People ask all the time, "when are you going to go full-time in photography?". The short answer is, I don't know, but I hope to make some big waves professionally this decade -- whether in wedding photography, at a non-profit, or both.

A photo my sister, Sara, posted on my wall today in honor of my birthday: "This is one of my favorite pictures of us. It feels like a bunch of our childhood memories in one fantastic picture. There are baby cows and kittens, and we are at the dairy farm next door to my grandparent's place in Millersburg, Ohio. Also, Aimee and I look fabulous. I miss you baby sister! I wish we got together more."

So here's to growing older and wiser... oh, and one expectation for my thirties that I'm pretty confident about: at some point, it'll stop raining, and I'll be able to dance in the sunshine. They say rain is lucky for weddings, though, so I'm going to just go ahead and assume that applies to birthdays, too.

personalAimee Custis