A Decade of Change and Growth

Today is my last day of being a young woman in my 20s; in two hours I will be crossing the bridge from 29 to a young woman that will be 30.

It has been one hell of a decade and one I didn’t imagine would happen as a naive teenager on 3 July 2009. I had hopes for a relationship that I’m glad didn’t pan out and when he broke up with me on 27 September 2009, I never looked back. I focused on myself and seized opportunities from learning Arabic to exploring different locations with my Arabic class; working the library and a paid internship to working the library and a full-time job; publishing four books on Amazon; graduating from college; traveling to Canada; going for permanent residency and later being denied because of my silly job; working to try again–it’ll work in my 30s!– traveling in general; meeting new friends; losing Nan; losing Olivia and Mimi; learning how to ice skate; polar plunges; BODY PIERCING; and Wraith as a gift to myself six weeks before my actual birthday. Also, the love of people in my life.


The pool and truck pictures were from my 20th birthday on 4 July 2009. The truck belonged to my ex and I was learning how to drive. I realized after I failed the test for the 9th time that me and driving weren’t an item either. I get too anxious and I rely on public transit. 2009 is when I met Marsha, Elizabeth, Spencer, Mary, TJ, and the Sykes group.


I got my nose pierced, learned Arabic and learned how to belly dance. Reuben and Janna from my Arabic class.


Worked as a Mary Kay consultant for a few weeks before I realized it was a ponzi scheme. Learned more Arabic; participated in my first polar plunge; met Christina; went to Green Bay, WI for the first time; went to NYC for the first time with my Arabic class; Marsha and I participated in a Halloween Fun Run.


I meet Jared and Dave in Wisconsin. Dave and I met up for a few years after that, but lost touch after our last meet in May 2015. Jared and I are still friends. Nan was also diagnosed with cancer and was given six months.

2012 – Piercer calls me a war horse. I have a high tolerance to pain.



Nan passes on 1/25/2013; I graduate from WCU. I joined a flag football team for 2 weeks. Went to my first Ravens and Orioles games.



I tried moving to Detroit, but realized nope. First thought of Canada and working in Canada while living in Detroit. Mom and I went to Memphis. I went to my first Twiztid show and met my idols for the first time.



Worked at the Senior Center, the seniors loved me just as much as I loved them; turned 26, went to NYC; first fulltime job; beginning to skate.


I went to Toronto,met Michelle who became a lifelong friend, met Moe, decided I was going to move to Canada and I started the process. Went to DC where one of the museum’s had a pottery demo. Matin is a potter from Afghanistan and we had fun chatting after. He came to Philadelphia in November, remembered me, called me his friend, and let me try pottery. Also, went to Asbury Park for the first time, caught up with Jared and met his friends. Beginning to skate better, but still afraid. Getting my 13th piercing.



I was invited by the Canadian government to apply for residency, was refused because of my silly job and money, beginning of health issues, Juggalo March, polar plunge, and confident skater.


Diagnosed with early celiac disease, improved health, going to try Canada again in the next few years. Diwali and Shabbot. I met Twiztid again and they remembered me, embraced me in warm hugs.



I look forward to what my 30s have to offer. I know I will be surprised 10 years from now, just like I am surprised about how many adventures I had in my 20s. I can’t wait to meet more people to take selfies with; May be I’ll add 44,000 more photos to my Google collection. That’s how many I have now!

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Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

4 thoughts on “A Decade of Change and Growth”

  1. Happy Early 30! I really enjoyed reading about your adventures in your 20’s it is so cool that you know Arabic and how to belly dance. Congrats on your degree too! It sounds like you have lived more than many have in their entire lives šŸ™‚ I like how you reflected on each year and mentioned the people in your life each year.
    I turned 30 last August and was absolutely terrified for a few years before it actually happened, but by the time my birthday came around; I was ready to embrace my 30’s and it has been a wonderful year.
    I hope this will be a wonderful time in your life!

    ā¤ Alana


    1. Thank you. I’m going to finish this tomorrow at some point- it’s bed time, mom is throwing a party tomorrow and I want to be rested lol.

      I am going to retry moving to Canada. I had a lot of adventure in my 20s and I can’t wait to see what 30 has to offer.

      Have a great evening!


  2. Hi, Jessica Marie!

    Happy I-Day and happy 30th birthday, “born on the 4th of July!” This is an important milestone and I am very proud of you. I love how you showed the highlights of the last ten years of your life as you transitioned from a 20 year old girl to a 30 year old woman. A lot can happen in a person’s life in ten years, and a lot can change. Congratulations on all your hard work and perseverance as you negotiated ten years of achievements, setbacks and tragedies. As you know, I have been been following your life for several years, and it was nice to review the span of years I have known you. I remember you taking those Polar Bear Club plunges in winter, learning how to ice skate, all those fun and educational trips to other cities, visits to museums and the wildlife park to see your owl friends, sports outings, restaurants (including the kitty restaurant) raising butterflies, the people and animals you lost over the years and getting your inspirational Wraith tattoo. I know you will continue to learn and grow over the next decade. I wish you all the best, dear friend JM, starting with a safe and happy 4th and a very happy birthday celebration!


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