Today, I turn 31. It's hard to believe it's been a decade since I turned 21. I remember that day well. When I arrived at work, my office was decorated with streamers and balloons. We had cake in my honor. That night, Frank gave me a beautiful silver necklace with a heart charm that was filled with an aquamarine stone. Then, we went out to Empress Casino in Joliet, IL. It made me miss Las Vegas terribly. I didn't have a drop of luck. Fortunately, Frank netted a win on Cleopatra nickel slots. My favorite machines were taken. I ordered an Amaretto Stone Sour and smoked to pass time. I waited and waited. "Eh, I'll get my fill in Las Vegas in a few months," I thought. And a few months later, I did just that.
Much has changed since my 21st birthday. I've moved across the country and made Las Vegas home. I no longer drink Amaretto Stone Sours or smoke. I grown quite a bit and learned a lot (and I'm still growing and learning).
Frank asked me a short while ago what would 30 year old Kellee tell her 20 year old self?
Without hesitation "Quit smoking!" was my first reply. After a few seconds of thought I rattled off the following:
"Real estate is not a good, nor safe investment."
"Your parents approval matters none."
"You can only live life for yourself."
"Oh, and I don't cut your hair. It takes too damn long to grow back."
Since then, I'd add, "owning a home isn't all that it's cracked up to be."
As I head deeper into my 30's I'd like to remind myself to never be apologetic for the life I lead. My decisions have led me here. I've learned from the failures and I've celebrated the joys. This is the life I have chosen. I have earned it. I have every right to be proud, and relish every moment.