30 Things I Accomplished Before I Turned 30

1. Lost 75 lbs. Yep, 75. Basically the weight of both my children combined. I'm still in disbelief this has happened. I can't honestly say it was lost in a healthy way, I struggled with being manic for a long stretch of time and was only eating like 800 calories a day and burning close to 3000. What is important, is that I have managed to not only maintain but lose more in a healthy way. 

2. See my best friend get married. Seriously the highlight of my year last year. I cried so many tears, and her day was seriously amazingly beautiful, just like her. 

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3. Do a boudoir session. Yeah, with the weight loss came a renewed self confidence and I wanted to really take these photos. I masked it as a gift for my hubby, but really I did it for me. I wanted to be able to see the difference in my own body. I was suffering from "fat kid syndrome"- the mentality that once a fat kid always a fat kid, and I struggled to actually see my new body shape when I looked in the mirror. This session, changed that, at least a little bit. 

4. Start a business. I basically started building what I want to be my legacy to my kids. It's been blood sweat and tears poured into this, and I am sitting here now, at 30 years old, watching the benefits roll in. It's been literally insane to watch. 

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5. Have a family. I managed to find my soul mate and get married at a young age. We were able to purchase our home at a young age, and have 2 amazing beautiful boys. They are wild, and untamed, but with kind hearts and even kinder souls. 

6. Find a hobby. (or 2). I took one hobby and turned it into a passion and a business. The other hobby (yoga) somehow I have managed to make public and have brought others into it. It's honestly amazing to see what happens when you try to live your life transparently.

7. Took my mental health seriously. I've always had issues, but this time I finally to my health seriously and took action. I was scared shitless, visiting three different doctors (family dr., psychologist, psychiatrist), trying medication (one that almost killed me) and getting to the right balance. 

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8. Released a very personal mental health project. It was so freeing, throwing my labels out there for everyone to see and read and judge. I felt naked in front of the world. At the same time, it felt amazingly freeing. This was a crucial part of my healing.

9. Start a meaningful project. I have been so lucky to have this project come naturally to me. It will be released in May of 2018, and I really can not wait to share this with the world. 

10. Meet people. I got past my social anxiety and actually met new people. They are some of my closest friends now. 

11. Find a leadership role. I found a photography group and eventually gained the confidence to become an assistant organizer. I love it. I am loving being in a spot where I can help grow this group of photographers, new and advanced into more learning and engagement within the art community. 

12. Gallery shows. Yeah, a fairly good amount of them too. At least more than I ever thought I would get a chance to participate in.

13. Getting published. I was honored to have 3 photographs published in 2 different books in the past 3 years. 

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14. Attend a protest. I am up to 4 now. They are probably one of my favorite things to photograph. Getting involved to make a difference in this world is important. I feel amazing that I was able to make my mark in history.

15. Be transparent. Through my mental health journey I realized a lot of my struggles were from feeling like I had to hide my life from those around me. So I decided, basically, "fuck it." I am who I am, take or leave it. I came out as a bisexual woman in November 2016. I haven't looked back. I will not censor who I am to make those around me happy.

16. Fully booked my wedding schedule for 2018. Actually over booked for what my original goal was. 

17. Got my first tattoo. (Plus 2 more). I am in love with them, and always wanted at least one, and low and behold I am up to 3 with plans for 3 or 4 more. They are not kidding when they say they are addicting. 

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18. Dyed my hair a crazy color. Again, something I always wanted to do. I was dying to try the half blonde half pink, Up until 2016 I worked in a professional environment and was unable to do it. So when I was able to stay home, I am not sure it was even a full week later before I went for it. It evolved into my full on purple and I am not sure I will ever go back to my natural. Maybe one day, but for now, it's fun and it makes me happy.

19. Got my nose pierced. Again, always wanted it but professional workplace kept me from getting it done. I turned it into a weight loss goal. If I met a certain size, it was time. I crushed the goal and I love my new jewelry.

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20. Re cultivated my relationship with my family, especially my mother. I always had a tumultuous relationship with my mother. The past few years we were able to work past a lot of issues and really get to an awesome place. 

21. Learned when to say "No". I have always been a very timid and submissive person. It was my main thing holding me back from starting my business. Until I felt comfortable enough to know my worth and stand by firmly by that, I wasn't going to dive into this. Finally I got to a point where I feel more comfortable saying, "This is what I want. This is what I am worth." and standing by it. 

22. Went on a girls weekend, with three other girls- two of which I didn't know prior to the trip.

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23. I have survived bad neighbors and said goodbye to amazing neighbors. I have embraced the "it takes a village" mentality and really learned to let go and let my kids live a little.

24. I survived puberty. Yeah, that part of life was rough.

25. I purchased a home. Yes, it is so intimidating. So many papers to sign, but I love being able to say I own my home.

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26. I survived the loss of my "soul pet". He was my other part that life just doesn't feel the same without him here. I survived my my heart will forever be missing that piece.

27. I completed a 365 project and got to watch my skill grow leaps in bounds in my photography. I vowed to never ever do it again, but I will never deny how much I learned in that year. 

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28. I traveled across the country. I finally saw the west coast and fell in love with it. I count the moments until I can go back.

29. I've been able to forgive and gracefully say goodbye to those that hurt me and that are not good for me. It wasn't easy since I try my hardest to be the person everyone needs, but I knew it was time to cut the weeds so the flowers could bloom even brighter. 

30. Probably my most important accomplishment in my 30 years here on earth, is finding myself. Finally being able to look in the mirror and know who I am and what I stand for is such an amazing feeling. I know that self discovery is always ongoing and just because today at 30 years old, I know who I am, does not mean that in 3 years I will feel the same way. Regardless of the changes ahead, I know that I am strong, beautiful and sassy as hell. I plan to keep that much the same. 

So here is my cheers to a new decade. One I am really looking forward to. 

Have a glass of wine for me,

Erin Berry, Photographer

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