Why a "Death to My 20s" Photoshoot Was the Most Extra Decision I'll Never Regret

What better way to commemorate a new decade than with a totally over-the-top celebration of your DAMN SELF?!

Thirty is a big deal. It's the birthday that begins the ten-year-milestone marks...you know, we have 16 (in many cultures, even 13 and 15!), and 18, and 21, and even 25 is pretty cool...and then it's all the even tens.

Growing up, thirty sounded old. In our parents' generation, it kind of "was." Many women had multiple children--already out of diapers--by thirty! However, the older I got, the younger thirty seemed and felt.

And now that I'm here? It's hard to explain. I feel the same as I've felt for years, yet I'm the same age as the characters on Friends--or even older than them, depending on which season. Despite this, they all still seem older than me. (Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels this way.)

Regardless of how it looks or feels, I think it should be celebrated. So many people say that their 30s are the best years of their lives!

I had seen the idea of a "Death to My 20s" party and/or photoshoot on Pinterest a few years ago, and I remember thinking, "I'm totally gonna do that." And then, given that my thirtieth birthday happened during a global pandemic, combined with the fact that I had zero free weekends my entire birthday month, I decided it was definitely happening.

I can be pretty extra, but I can easily say that this was *the most extra* thing I've ever done, and I don't regret it one single bit. I've been made fun of my entire life for being "too ________." Too peppy, too perky, too bubbly, too loud (sorry but, dull and quiet just doesn't do it for me...also: HATERS). This was my chance to be "too everything" all at once!

It was a win for everyone: my visions were brought to life, I have the coolest pictures to always look back on, and the best part: I was able to support and give business to a former student, who is an incredibly talented photographer!

Ironically, despite how "extra" I can be, all-eyes-on-me is the worst. I have no issues standing up in front of a room of judgmental teenagers every day at school, but OMG, direct attention on me otherwise and I'm a hot mess express. My students actually used to applaud me randomly, on purpose, for NO REASON, because I turned beet red, without fail, every single time. SO, I highly suggest a hype man. I brought my friend Denise, who I not only knew would be a great hype (wo)man in general, but also went all out for her 30th (hell yeah 80s party!), AND is into the dark vibe I was going for.

I was very uncomfortable at first. I am not a model; I'd only had engagement and wedding pictures professional shot in the past. I was like "Uuuhh...now what?" and--if you follow me on Instagram--I still have this problem: "What do I do with my hands?!"

Once I loosened up, I had a blasty-f*cking-blast (Dane Cook? Anyone?).

The pictures came out amazing! I remember not feeling great about my body and worrying that I'd hate how they came out, but honestly, I LOVE them, insecurities and all. I love that I'll always have them to look back on, and to show my future children that I was once kind of cool...although, the pictures make me look significantly cooler than I am.

So, if you've got a milestone birthday coming up: DO IT!! Celebrate YOU, in all of your glory! Get yourself all dolled up and find a fun outfit (doesn't have to be a "death" theme, either; I'm just not personally into frilly pink tutus and the like), a cool setting, and obviously some giant balloons, and let the creative juices flow! Celebrate who you are and how far you've come. Embrace it all!

I found some inspo on Pinterest, but if you happen to use an outfit/pose/etc. inspired by my shoot, I'd LOVE if you shared them with me on Instagram!! :)

Also, be sure to check out my former student Jostin's incredible work on Instagram here and here!

Embracing age,

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