Looking at pictures of myself now at 30, it’s tempting for me to say that I haven’t aged much (especially since I’ve basically stuck with the same hairstyle(ish) more or less for several years in a row now) and because I’m only *slightly* starting to get little wrinkles around my eyes and forehead and a few gray hairs every now and then.
But I was curious to see how I had changed over the past decade or so, nonetheless.
So what better way to do that than to show pictures of myself side by side (on or near my birthday) for the past 15 years?
(In case you’re curious, I chose to start when I was 15 because that was basically when I stopped growing. Plus it creates a nice solid number like 15 to work with, rather than me saying, “See how I’ve aged over 17 years!” See? Just not as snappy.)
Besides, I’ve been feeling like I’ve had WAAAAAY too many serious posts in a row now, so let’s lighten up a bit and do a little throwback, shall we?
Because making fun of hairstyle choices and overall past stages in life is hilarious (when it’s all in hindsight anyway).
I only had two rules for choosing the pictures for this:
Rule 1 – The picture had to be as close to my birthday as possible. For many years, that was no problem, and I easily found a picture within 24-48 hours of my actual birthday. However, the first six pictures or so are within about a month range of my birthday, due to those being either the closest pictures I had or the ones that were large enough of my face that they wouldn’t be completely blurry. I’m sure my mom has pics of all my birthdays, but I didn’t want her to spend her whole morning digging through photos for my blog post, so you get these ones.
Rule 2 – The picture had to show my face as forward-facing as possible. Admittedly, I photograph a bit better with a 3/4 profile, but I wanted the pictures to be easily comparable, so I got them as full-on front as I could find. (Maybe when I turn 40 I’ll let myself be more vain and just choose the pictures from each year where I look the best rather than do all this try-and-make-it-actually-comparable nonsense.)
Oh, and unofficial rule #3 – I had to at least try and find new pics that I’d never posted before on the blog, so that left even more of the unflattering pics to sift through, ha ha.
Without further rambling, here we go down memory lane…
Something that will become immediately apparent in the first half of these 15 pictures is that I changed my hair A LOT, sometimes with not-so-flattering results.
2001 – Ah, my “blonde” days, courtesy of a bottle of Sun-In that I used liberally when my bleached highlights (courtesy of a local beauty school) started fading and my roots started coming in and clashing terribly. Many of the pics around this time are taken in my pink-carpeted bedroom, a semi-recent acquirement at this point (since I had shared with my sister Hannah for much of my life growing up). One of these days, I’ll share a post just of ridiculous pictures taken in that pink-carpet room. They’re basically awesome.
2002 – One of my favorite hairstyles of all time (and the one that got me the most double takes I’ve ever had in my life when I went over to the dark side and stopped highlighting). This picture was taken in late summer when I caught the bouquet at my friend Mara’s sister’s wedding. My mom chided me for not letting her catch the bouquet, but the lesson must not have sunk in too deeply since I caught the bouquet at multiple of her sisters’ weddings (bwa ha ha).
2003 – Not much to say about this year, other than that it was my junior year of high school, and I basically remember it as the year of no serious crushes or boyfriends and just of having a blast dating around and getting involved with lots of different activities. Sigh. That’s what ALL of high school should have been like. Silly me.
2004 / 2005 / 2006
And the hair transformations continue (one day, I really do plan to do a blog post of all the different hairstyles I’ve had in my lifetime since this post doesn’t even showcase a third of them).
2004 – This pic was taken at my mom and stepdad’s wedding, and I’d finally been patient enough to let myself grow my hair long for the first time in my life. This was taken just before senior year started (so about a month before my birthday), and it was a year for the books, involving me being in a musical, doing an internship at a junior high, and coming home for lunch every day with friends to have Easy Mac and Ramen and occasionally homemade waffles. Good times.
2005 – My first post-high-school pic, this one taken just shortly before moving away to college (so, once again, about a month before my birthday). It’s too bad this picture was taken with an ex-boyfriend because it’s one of my favorite pictures of myself ever, but because of that little teensy fact, it doesn’t get posted anymore. Sad. Oh, and this was also taken before I gained the infamous Freshman 15 during that coming school year thanks to my roomies always making brownies, which I would then have for breakfast regularly. Oh, and DQ shakes. (Although my roommates didn’t make those.)
2006 – *shudder* The year of the hideous hairstyles. After this unfortunate haircut that aged me about 15 years and four kids later for real, I only continued down the black hole of bad hair (since this cut was unfortunately followed by dying my hair a jet blue-black that didn’t come out until I tried to go blonde after that…yeah…I was apparently doing a lot of soul-searching at this period in my life).
2007 / 2008 / 2009
I call these my “early peak” years. I accomplished a heck of a lot during this time AND managed to have about as much fun as I’ve ever had consistently in my lifetime. These were some good years. (What would be really funny is if I showed a picture of me with all the guys I dated during this time period. THAT would just about sum up this point in my life. Minus the time I was on a mission in 2009, anyway. Yeah, definitely minus that, since that obviously involved no dating.)
2007 – From doing country swing dancing on Wednesday nights to swimming a couple mornings in the week with the roomies to taking a modern dance class, 2007 was a good year for being healthy. (If I’m being honest, 2007-2008 is the time in my life when I felt like I looked pretty close to my best almost all the time. Basically, I was smokin’. Or so I can look back and say now, anyway, ha ha.)
2008 – A year of momentous change for me. While on the surface I was doing the same ol’, same ol’ (dating a ton, studying even more), I was ready for a BIG change, so I submitted my mission papers without telling anyone but my parents.
2009 – This was my only birthday spent in El Salvador (since my mission only lasted 18 months, and I left for it in January of this year), and it was one of my favorite birthdays. There are many good things that can be said about people from El Salvador, but one of the many things that I could say is that MAN, they sure do know how to make you feel beyond special on your birthday (or on any special day of yours, really). Man, I loved being a missionary. (As far as aging me goes, though, it sure did a number on me—25 pounds and WAY too many hours in the sun later…)
2010 / 2011 / 2012
I call this the “start of being a legit adult” phase, as I was just about to get married (or was a newlywed), graduating from college, and starting to pay off my debt to society by wrangling a bunch of 7th graders into shape (which should count as paying off my debt for life).
2010 – Newly home from my mission, I had just started dating Matt (again) and things were progressing quick. At this point, we were mere weeks away from me dragging Matt into a ring store so that I could show him what I liked “just in case.” (Ha ha, yeah right. I wouldn’t be caught dead in a ring store with a guy unless I was 100% freaking sure that he was the right one for me. Forever.) Oh, and fun fact—this picture was actually taken for Matt’s birthday instead of mine, which is why he’s wearing a sombrero in it (which you can’t really see because, well, I cropped him out).
2011 – Married life + Student teaching + Long hair together proved too much to handle, so one of them had to go. Thank goodness my hair grows fast. And thank goodness I stopped trying to go super super dark with my hair all the time. This was my last relapse into The Dark(est) Zone, hopefully.
2012 – This is perhaps the only time ever that I went to an entire USU Aggie Football game. I am the worst Aggie of all time (although I did definitely hop on the True Aggie train a fair few times in my career as a student there, so…maybe that should count for something***).
***Becoming a true Aggie involves kissing your chosen victim at midnight atop the famous “A” in front of Old Main, one of the buildings on campus. I know, I know—scandalous, right?
2013 / 2014 / 2015
You will obviously notice from this series that I bought a nicer camera first of all (ha ha).
2013 – One of my favorite birthday “photo shoots” to date, this expressly was taken for my post all about my birthday suit at 27 (no, it’s not as scandalous as it sounds). Even though I was starting the hardest year of teaching in my short career then, I’ve got to say, I liked my look in 2013–I felt like I’d aged enough to definitely be treated like an adult, but not so much that I felt old by any stretch of the imagination.
2014 – I was totally pregnant in this picture but about a week away from announcing it to the world, which would make me about 12 weeks pregnant in this pic. Notice how I’m not so subtly draping my arms over my belly in order to hide the evidence. No doubt that pregnancy was one of the greatest things to age me so far (worth it, of course!).
2015 – By far the hardest (recent) year to find a picture close to my birthday. Not only did we not really do anything for either mine or Matt’s birthday last year, but I was in the throes of battling with my AI disease and on a pretty heavy dose of steroids, which caused my face to puff out and my body to puff out even more. Due to said puffing, there are few pictures of me during about a 3-month span in 2015, including around my birthday. Even the fact that I wasn’t wearing makeup in this pic is telling.
So there you go, folks—
What it looks like to age 15 years in the span of one blog post.
Whew! Time to go get a snack (albeit a reasonably healthy one because while I might not have too many wrinkles yet, I definitely do have a slowing metabolism, lol…)