Biggest accomplishments of my twenties.
I’m sitting here at 11:52pm the night before my 30th birthday and feel like I need to reflect on the last decade. There’s this nagging, hard-to-articulate thought… “if it doesn’t happen in my twenties then it’ll probably never happen.” As if your twenties are the only time where you will be young and untethered, free to do what you want. There’s such a huge focus and something you tie so many hopes and dreams to. 10 years on the other side of the twenty and I can say that my twenties didn’t unfold like that. For me 20s = growth.
Settling into life as a sophomore at Clemson. New friendships, roommates, and living in Calhoun Courts. Taking road trips for games and camping. On again, off again break-ups with my high school girlfriend. Changing majors. Pre-med and back. Living in London and studying at the LSE. Moved to The Ridge.
Junior Year at Clemson. Lots of growth. Was devastated by a break-up and experienced crippling depression for months. Looking back, these still seem like some of the hardest months of my life. Was held back by a desire to rekindle that old relationship. It was a rollercoaster of emotions… grief turned to optimism but still dotted with moments of sadness. A lot of good came out of that darkness. Found new friends. Rediscovered faith. Fasting. Summer school. Learned to be lead. Worked at Starbucks. Backpacked Europe with friends.
Senior Year at Clemson. Finally ended the on-again-off-again relationship with my high school girlfriend. Graduated early and 2nd in Economics major. Received several job offers. Decided on law school and took the LSAT. Learned the value of hard work in freezer section, unloading trucks at Walmart. Handle logistics and transportation for cross-country spring break trip for 400 students. Went to Kenya with my Dad. Spent the summer before grad school living at home. Moved to Charleston in August to started law school. Struggled with anxiety and panic attacks. Initially lonely and closed off, but met my future wife that fall.
End of 1L and start of 2L years in law school. Lived downtown on Ambrose Alley and subsequently moved to Southampton Point. Continued to suffer from anxiety issues, panic attacks, and mild depression. Not satisfied with career track, but persevered. Took summer classes. Earned a summer internship with large Charleston law firm. Made law journal. Was a moot court semifinalist. Impressed supervising attorney and earned part-time clerkship for the whole year.
Took Brittany to London to get engaged. End of 2L year and the beginning of law school 3L year. Continued working part-time. Advanced to managing editor on law journal. Started seeing a therapist for anxiety issues and quality of life improved dramatically. This year flew by due to hectic routine, work to evening classes, home after 9pm for quick dinner and studying. Wedding planning. Moved into new apartment at Watermark. Got Married. Went on honeymoon to the Caribbean.
The year I grew up. An extremely difficult year, but not without some high points… First year as a married couple, managed to win a national moot court competition and graduated law school. Difficulties arose from Dad’s drug use, parents divorce, constant family drama, dwindling career options, running out of money, and failing the bar exam. Couldn't afford our apartment. Moved to a rural area far out on John’s Island. Swallowed my pride. Drove a shuttle bus on Kiawah to make ends meet. Rediscovered my passions. Taught myself to code. Developed mental toughness. Annual income totaled $20,000.
The year that I turned things around. I started the year on Johns Island as a shuttle bus driver and ended with a salaried job at a publicly traded software company. Spent lots of time in front of a computer learning as much as I could about web development and design. Worked extremely hard and got better at coding. Moved back to Mt. Pleasant. Started freelance business. Began my first full-time salaried job at Blackbaud for $43,000/year in the fall.
First year back in Mt Pleasant. Continued working at Blackbaud. Took a trip to New York with Brittany. Studied for and passed the bar exam while working full time. Promoted from Enterprise Solutions Specialist to Advanced Priority Analyst after GMBU merger. Landed new job as a software developer in the company’s enterprise division. Quickly trusted with top clients and recognized as an expert. Salary raise and freelance gigs brought income to just over $60,000.
Continued developing skills and building rapport at Blackbaud. Sent on international business trips for clients. Given multiple leadership roles within team. Got a salary bump and some quarterly bonuses. My aptitude as a software engineering really blew up this year. Instead of freelance gigs, I used my free time to go all-in on building a startup, uTalk Sports. Built and released first native iOS and Android apps to the app stores. Traveled through Europe with Brittany. Brought home about $70,000 in income.
Big year for career and income growth. Accepted into local Tech Accelerator. Changed company name, re-incorporated as a Delaware C-Corp, and re-released the app as Wavve. Left Blackbaud for to be a partner in local software firm, Fount. Took vacations to Captiva, Florida and Portland, Maine with Brittany. Scrapped our mobile app pivoted to a video tool for podcasters. New iteration of Wavve became cash-flow positive. Personal income smashed through my goal of hitting six-figure by age 30 to nearly $200,000 in income this year.
Can't wait to see the highlights I'll have at the close of my next decade on earth!