13 Reflections at 30

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I am Neyssa Lee a Seattle area photographer, mom of 6, planning obsessed, and who help you see the beauty, love and joy, in your own family’s chaos. I also use my super power of time management to help fellow photographers take control of their businesses. Learn more by heading to my ABOUT ME page.

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Hi, I'm Neyssa

For my birthday today I thought I would share 13 reflections at 30. There is nothing here that probably hasn’t been said before, nor that should be taken as a life plan. These aren’t in any order of importance, rather they are listed as things came to me! Instead they a bit of rambling on thoughts and lessons I’ve learned, or am still learning, as I’ve reached the big 3-0! And hey, it’s my birthday and I can ramble if I want to!
1. 30 isn’t old. When you’re a teenager, 30 seems so old. I thought to myself life was practically downhill once you reach 30, that’s so old! Well, I’m not old, and in fact, life just gets better and better with age. Like a good wine. (I honestly know nothing about wine, nor do I drink it, but I’m pretty sure that’s something my parents used to say. See #3 below).

13 reflections at 30

2.  Life is nothing like I had pictured it when I was a kid. It’s even better.  14-year old Neyssa was going to marry Justin Timberlake and have 1 child, a little boy. Well, lucky me, I found an even better man and married him and have TWO beautiful children. I feel so blessed when I look at my family. And even though I’m not sure it is quite complete, I’m thrilled with where life has taken me.

13 reflections at 30

3. No matter how hard you try, phrases your mother said when you were a kid will come out of your mouth.  When I was a kid I used to think, I will never make my kids eat their vegetables or go to bed early. I will be the coolest mom ever. Ha! My kids go to bed earlier than anyone else I know. Because that is time Derek and I get to ourselves. And yes I have said things like “you’re not leaving the table until you eat your dinner.” I’m sure as my kids get older, it will get worse!

4.  It is okay for kids to take over your life. I was afraid that having kids would change who I was, that I would become that person who shares photos of her kids and talks about the cute/funny things they do. Having kids DOES change who you are! Duh.  But you know what, I LOVE my kids and so I’m going to share photos of them and talk about them. I spend my days with them and want to share what the two most precious little humans are up to.


5. It’s important to take time for yourself.  As noted above, I love my kids. But when I finally learned that it was okay, even a necessity, for me to take time away from them, I became a better mom. Raising kids is no joke, and having time (even 20 minutes) without a “mommy, mommy, mommy” in the background helps with sanity. Being invited on the women’s retreat (twice!) this year gave me even more of what I needed, time for me.

13 reflections at 30

6. Trying to control everything gets you nothing. This is something I’m still learning on working on. I’m the type of person who likes everything in it’s place and to have everything planned out a century in advance. This has not only lead me down some stressful paths, but is unrealistic now that I have kids. In the end, plans for my family and my life are all in the Lord’s hands. Trying to take control does me no good!

7. Go for a run to work things out. I’m not saying to avoid things, but sometimes big problems  aren’t as big once you’ve had some time to work them out over  a run. Whenever I feel stressed, tired, overwhelmed, angry – you get the point – going for a run, or doing something active helps me settle down. Plus, I get the added health benefit of getting a workout in!


8. You’re never too old to learn new things. As a kid I figured once you were done with college you suddenly knew all there was to know. (As a teen, I’m sure I thought I knew everything already). But I still love learning new things. I’m always looking for new ideas and techniques and ways to improve my photography. But I also learned how to crochet at the end of last year, and I’m so proud to have this new skill.

Try Something New, Neyssa Lee Photography, Eastside & Snoqualmie Photography Workshops

9. “Progress not perfection is what we should be asking of ourselves” (Quote by Julia Cameron). This quote is something I should have tattooed on the inside of my arm. (Don’t worry mom, I still fear needles and won’t be getting a tattoo anytime soon). In everything we do it is too easy to expect nothing but perfection from ourselves. In the numerous roles I have – wife, mom, photographer, friend, Christian – I need to learn to offer myself grace and

10. It truly does take a village. I am able to reach out to friends and familiy for advice, a hug, or a laugh whenever I need. For that, I am so blessed. I’m a better mom, wife, photographer, friend because of those who surround me and my family.

11. It’s okay to leave a list unfinished. Derek reminds me of this fact daily. Or he tells me that my lists shouldn’t be so monumentally long. It is so easy for those “type A” like myself to feel the stress and need to check everything off a day’s list (it looks so nice all checked off). But things can wait until the next day.  So in keeping with my points, I’m sticking with 11 reflections instead of 13! And hey, it’s my birthday and I can slack if I want to!

What do you think of my reflections? Have you learned similar lessons or feel differently? Are there lessons you’ve learned that aren’t mentioned? I would love to hear lessons for my 30s! Leave me a comment below with your reflections too!