Today is my 30th birthday :) and for the very first time I woke up and no longer felt like the young girl trying to figure out her life. Instead, I feel happy, settled and ready for my next adventure. My twenties were filled with all the things. I graduated college, married the love of my life, made lifelong friends, changed careers (a few times) and most importantly, I found my happy.

As the last ten years begin to fade into memories, I wanted to write a letter to my 20-year-old self and share a decade’s worth of experiences. So, here goes nothing.

To My Younger Self,

Full Disclosure: Still no flying cars (I know). Regardless, your 20’s will be a time of change, embrace it. Be open, be strong, be confident, love yourself, accept the things you can’t change, work to improve the things you can, and never end the journey of self-discovery.

Now for the good stuff….

I know you didn’t think you would meet your husband in college and had big plans to move to New York after school, but slow down because the boy that you just met will change all of that. At first, it will all be a wonderful blur. You will date through college, then do the long-distance thing for a few years before finally settling down together. I should probably warn you that he will grow a pony tail, play entirely too much golf, and after the football ends he may choose tacos over ab workouts, but he will never put his needs before yours and will love you deeper than you ever thought possible. You will get married, have two beautiful angel baby puppies together, and enjoy life to the absolute fullest ALWAYS.

I’m sure you are also wondering about your career. Your hard work in college pays off when you land your dream job working for the Kansas City Royals. (As a side note, go bet on the Royals to win the 2015 World Series…seriously) This job will make you laugh and cry, you will get rained on (more than once), and most importantly you will meet amazing people who will become your lifelong friends. While navigating the business world, you find your voice, but also come to the realization that there you have a creative void that needs to be filled. As an escape from the monotony of corporate America, you will start a website called A Dash of Details -long before the likes of Pinterest and Instagram. Created in your cubicle at the Royals, you will continue this little blog through a career change into Oil and Gas, will someday take you to New York for Fashion Week, introduce you to three of your best friends (hi Michelle, Mackenzie and Amy!), and allow you to travel the world. From your experiences with A Dash of Details, you will learn that working hard and being nice to people will take you places you never expected.

Another important thing that you will learn during your twenties is to love yourself because you can’t truly love others until you love yourself. You don’t need to have your life all figured out when you graduate from college, or ever really, just be open to adventure and don’t be afraid of the unknown. It is easy to get stuck in a routine, but it is so important to keep pushing forward because amazing things happen when you step outside of your comfort zone. One day in your late twenties, you will have an A-HA moment where you genuinely find your happy. You will finally feel comfortable in your own skin, no longer focusing on what other people think and realizing that every day is a blessing and you need to make the most of it. Make time for the important people in your life and cherish and nurture those relationships.  Your friends from high school will still be your best gals when you turn 30 and your best friend will still know what you’re thinking without ever saying it out loud. As you grow, you will realize that you could not have better role models than your parents. They will teach you to be confident and responsible, and to love graciously with your whole heart. When things don’t go as planned, they will always be there for you. You will lean on them for guidance in every big decision you make. They may never tell you what to do, but rest assured, Dad will somehow turn every situation into a learning experience––you secretly love him for it.  Your little brother, who is just four years old when you go to college, will grow up to be the best teenager/brother ever. In the blink of an eye his voice will drop an octave and he’ll be taller than you, so travel home often and never say no to a good game of wiffle ball.

Love hard, always choose quality over quantity, slow down, be present, and don’t worry because this story has a happy ending :)

I can’t wait for you to find your happy.



Also, here’s my birthday post from last year..it’s so fun to have these memories saved.

xox- a dash of details

7 replies
  1. Meghan
    Meghan says:

    I love these words so much, Ali! Especially “From your experiences with A Dash of Details, you will learn that working hard and being nice to people will take you places you never expected.” <3 Happy Birthday! Welcome to the 30s club – it just keeps getting better from here ;)

  2. Holly
    Holly says:

    This letter is just beautiful, Ali! I’ve been following you on Instagram for about a year now and it’s evident from your beautiful images and words that you are a beautiful person inside and out. You are easily one of my favorites to follow. (side note: I too, worked for an MLB team, the Seattle Mariners. I worked in Corporate Business – Sponsorships. It was there that I also created my blog, for those same reasons :)

      ALI LEIGH says:

      Holly, Thank you so much! You just made my day :) Such a small world! I worked really closely with Gregg and Camden (I think they are both still there!) and they were such wonderful people! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!


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  1. […] of 90s favorites is filled with favorites to pick through this weekend! 4. Links I loved this week? Ali’s letter to her 20 year old self, Mackenzie’s interview with her Grandy and Kendall’s picks […]

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