Today is thirty.

As I take a moment to think about where I am, and what amazing opportunities and experiences I have had thus far, I am humbled and thankful. Eager and excited. So incredibly fortunate to have an amazing partner, a loving pup and to be surrounded by incredibly people both at work and beyond. To have built a community here in Portland. 

I’m often reminded about how much I have grown, and myself changed. When I was eighteen and headed to university, I—like any recent high-school graduate—thought I knew everything: what I wanted to be when I grew up, what I was going to study and who I wanted to be. It only took a few short weeks of my freshman year before I realized how wrong I was; rather, how much I had to learn.

Fast forward to graduating college: I was fortunate to work in a job I loved, splitting time between Colorado and California. At that point, I realized how much I had changed in only a few short years, and began to recognize where I was spending my time and energy. I wasn’t working in politics; in many ways, I wasn’t as involved as I wanted to be. And then I found a great opportunity; being at the right place at the right time gave me a chance to participate, and to build a new set of friendships which I still have today. This was great, for a while, but I soon began to feel restless.

Eventually, I took a leap of faith and invested my time, money and energy in travel, and in myself. It was challenging, amazing, eye-opening. It wasn’t what I expected; then again, what transformative experience actually is? I started to pay attention to my heart.

And now comes my time in Portland. Our time in Portland. Sarah and I been here three-and-a-half years, and I love this place. The people, the coffee, the outdoors. And I begin to realize: I am who I a today, because of everyone, everything around me. And I realize, without a doubt, I am not the same person I was when I first arrived here. I’m learning empathy, and how to slow down. I’m learning the simple joy of coming home, to a pup who is adoring and excited and happy. A kitten who keeps to herself by day, but sneaks up to lie beside (or on top of) me every evening. I have a loving partner, who is incredible and drives me to be my best self.

And I think about who I want to be, should I one day grow up, and I realize: I am exactly where I want to be, and who I want to be.

Thirty on the thirtieth.