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29 Thoughts About Turning 29 – A Guest Post By “Mama Bear” Jessica VanSumeren

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29 Thoughts About Turning 29 – A Guest Post By “Mama Bear” Jessica VanSumeren

You’re going to love this one! I sure do. The wisdom I have acquired in my almost 50 years has nothing on the wisdom my friend, Jessica VanSumeren, has on her 29th. Please help me welcome Jessica to EPFH as our guest poster today. Today is her actual birthday! I’d love nothing more than to see an overflow of love for her on her birthday and gratitude for her sharing the things she learned with us over her 29 years of life. Please share your love and thoughts in the comments. Jessica, aka Mama Bear, writes great stuff over at The Mama Revival Series. Go take a look! After you read this, of course. Happy birthday to you, Jessica!!


29 Thoughts for 29 Years

Another year, another birthday. This hasn’t always been my mentality when it comes to my birthday. I would normally be celebrating the entire month of January, announcing to the world how many days remained until the grand festivities (that I planned for myself). Yet last year I came to terms with the fact that not every year will call for a celebration, that being a mom means planning THEIR birthday parties (not mine), and no one really cares about how old I am now. Unless it’s the cashier, who kindly still asks to see my ID when this mama needs a bottle of wine (or four).

As I turn 29 today, I became aware of  a lot of advice that I wish I could go back and tell my younger self. Things that I wish I would have done differently, people that I should have listened to, things that I should & shouldn’t spend my time or money on.. and I realized that someone could still benefit from my experiences. Maybe I can pass this list on to my man cubs when they’re older (ok, maybe leaving out some details). So here are my 29 thoughts about turning 29.

  1. College Isn’t For Everyone. I enjoy learning & obtained a 4.0 all through college, but never returned after having our first baby. I thought I wanted to be a teacher. When I was finally placed in a classroom halfway through college, I realized it was not my calling in life. Now I still have over $5,000 to pay back in student loans & no degree!

  2. Go To Disney. When I had my mid-college crisis after realizing I didn’t want to teach, I applied for the Disney College Program. Hands down, the best 6 months of my college experience! I moved to Orlando, met great people from all over the world, and gained valuable experience from one of the most successful companies. I left the program a couple weeks early because of a guy I was previously engaged to (see # 3). I regret that decision to this day.

  3. Don’t Say Yes Unless You Mean It. This can apply to anything, but for this list, I’m referring to marriage. I had been dating a guy for about 3 years with a few break-up fights along the way. So, when he proposed the day before I started my Disney internship on the beach, with a ring in hand.. I said yes. I don’t know why, maybe out of guilt? But I shouldn’t have. We stayed engaged for 2 years, until he called off the wedding. It was hard, and the heartbreak could have been less painful for both of us had I just said no back on the beach.

  4. Wait For Marriage. I never stopped to think how my future husband would think of me, or what kind of baggage pre-marital sex would bring into our marriage. We’ve worked through our regret those first few months, but we can’t erase our past.

  5. Call a Friend, a Cab, or Just Stay Home. By the grace of God, I was never caught nor did I cause harm to myself or anyone else, but I’m a former drunk driver. I didn’t stop until one night I blacked out while driving and came to while sitting in the garage still in the driver’s seat. The next night, a friend was hit by a drunk driver, and I realized that could have been me behind the wheel.

  6. Find a Mentor. Seek out someone with some experience. Find a couple who have been married a while, even during your single years. Gain a healthy perspective of what marriage, parenting, retirement looks like before you reach those milestones.

  7. Be Selective About Your Friends. I learned the hard way, and had to cut a TON of people out of my life when I started living for Christ because I was too impressionable.In a day of Facebook and instagram counting how many followers & friends you have, choose quality over quantity.

  8. Learn to Love Cleaning. Your future spouse depends on this! I’m raising my boys to clean & organize because I was never taught how. Cleaning has been a struggle for me, then add on picking up after everyone else, I felt overwhelmed & under appreciated. Now I whistle while I work, and try to enjoy

  9. Join a Church That You Love. My husband grew up in the church we attend. I will never forget the first time I went with him. I knew I was made for that kind of worship. I had never felt connected to a church until then. Keep searching for a church that fills you with the Holy Spirit, offers you support & community, and doesn’t compromise on the Scripture.

  10. Just Elope. I can’t stress this enough. I wish that we would have just taken the cash, flew somewhere warm with close friends & family, and stayed a week after saying “I DO” on a beach. We argued over wedding details, stressed about numbers, flowers & tables, and had a few too many people we barely knew.

  11. Avoid Credit Cards. It took me about 3 years to get out of credit card debt, and my credit score is still suffering from it. Save & pay cash, in fact, invest in Dave Ramsey’s FPU.

  12. Wait To Get Ink. Don’t get me wrong, I love tattoos. They can be expressive and beautifully crafted.. but you’re style will change, what seems important at 18 will pale in comparison by 29.. And then you’ll have to pay again for it to be covered up or removed.

  13. Invest In Your Marriage. Go to marriage counseling, conferences, date nights. Invest before distress occurs.

  14. Get Outside. Unplug from technology, and get some fresh air.. during the day (nightlife doesn’t count). The advantage of up in the 90’s was having a low-tech childhood, I desperately crave that again being submerged in today’s culture.

  15. Make Healthy a Habit. I grew up on a highly processed diet, yet was blessed with an extremely high metabolism (until man cubs #2 & #3) & never had to watch what I ate. I’ve had to make changes, and want to instill a love of real food & exercise for my man cubs.

  16. Stop Holding Grudges. I once heard “forgiveness isn’t for the other person, it’s for you”. When we hold a grudge, we are allowing that person to affect our mood & behavior.

  17. Start Investments Young. We are just starting to start our retirement fund (at 29 & 30), which if we do it correctly can still be quite beneficial. Just wish I would have started putting away $50/mo (or even less) 10 years ago!

  18. Never Stop Learning. In every area of life, there are opportunities to continue learning. When I was a hairstylist, I researched videos, attended classes, and never thought I knew everything. Even as a SAHM, I enjoy reading nonfiction & seeking out free education resources online.

  19. Being A Mom Is Hard. You will question whether you are too harsh, too relaxed, too involved, too distracted. Just know you are doing your best when you feel like you’re not doing enough.

  20. Pray About Everything. I’m getting better at this one. I am a recovering perfectionist & proficient at worrying. But God has broken me of this over the last 6 years, and I wish I didn’t have to learn the hard way to get on my knees and pray.

  21. If You Fail To Plan, You Plan To Fail. A saying that my grandpa use to tell me, and has stuck with me. I’m an expert at planning, and delight in helping others plan too. It got me through high school, college, my salon career, and I’m even applying it to parenting & blogging. Without a plan, worrying creeps in. But, know that God has a plan too, and sometimes our plans don’t always line up with His.

  22. Miscarriages Are Common. That doesn’t make them any less painful of an experience. We had two miscarriages during the 1st trimester when trying for our 2nd man cub. It wasn’t until then that I discovered every 1 in 5 pregnancies results in a miscarriage. You can’t prepare yourself for what you will go through, but know it’s ok to reach out & talk about it.

  23. Emotions Are Indicators, NOT Dictators. Just because you are mad/angry/frustrated, doesn’t mean you have to act that way. Know that you can choose joy, love, happiness, and that you don’t have to be controlled by your emotions.

  24. Memories Are More Valuable Than Material Items. Stop wasting your money on clothes & gadgets. Travel, take vacations, spend time with family and friends, go to concerts, take classes.

  25. Start Each Day In The Word. Find a devotional that fits your needs. Whether it’s a physical book with pages, an ebook, or app – set the tone for the day by focusing on God’s word.

  26. If You’re Not Early, You’re Late. Another saying from my gramps, which may have caused frustration with my laid back hubby from time to time. l guess opposites attracted, he’s usually always late & I am (was) usually early.

  27. Become A Morning Person. This is beneficial in the long run. Set that coffee pot to auto brew at 6am, and get going. Personally, I like to spend the early morning in bed with a bible verse & cup of coffee. It prepares me for the man cubs that come burrowing into our bed shortly after.

  28. Say I’m Sorry. This was a hard one for me to swallow (remember, recovering perfectionist here). Saying sorry means that I was wrong, and no one likes being wrong. But when we humble ourselves enough to say I’m sorry, we can grow stronger relationships.

  29. Dream Big. Don’t be afraid of dreaming big. Your current situation does not dictate your future. Poverty, drugs, alcohol, or depression may seem to trap you, but by the power of God you can escape.. And when you do, where will you go? I never would have imagined where God would have led me so far, and I’m eager to see where he takes me in the next 29 years!

PHEW! We made it through the list. The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. The Funny. I hope that there is something that resonated with you! Some people freak out as 30 approaches, but I have to admit, I’m really excited about my 30’s. We’re finally getting out of debt & growing our savings. Our man cubs will become more & more independent (ok, that makes me sad a little). I am growing in my faith, and eager to know what God has planned for our family. We may even be moving out of state – only God knows!

~Jessica VanSumeren


MamaBear Jessica VanSumeren

About Andrea

I'm a stumbling pilgrim and gatherer of stories. Stories about Jesus and how He gave His life for me, sustains me and redeems me... even though...

6 responses »

  1. Beautiful! Definitely some great wisdom here!!

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  2. My the time I have turned 30, I can say that I just agree on every point you making!

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  3. Thanks again for being a part of my birthday! So glad you enjoyed reading it.

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  4. hope you had a great birthday!! so much wisdom here!! i’m not sure i have this much and i’m a few years older than you.
    also? it gets better. i’m on year 35 and its truly the best time of my life.

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