18 With 12 Years Experience

Over the past 2 years, The Fig Tree has become a place for me to express myself, be creative and connect with passionate and inspiring people. It has been a place for me to keep track of all of my experiences in the kitchen – all the successes and failures. It has been a journal to record my progress as a photographer and it’s somewhat been a place to keep track of daily ongoings. On average, I have liked to keep the focus of this space on the food. However, today I feel like I would like to talk about something a bit personal and completely unrelated to food.

Today, I turn 30. The big 3-0! Or…”18 with 12 years experience.” It’s hard to believe that I’ve lived 30 years of life! I am leaving one decade behind and am about to enter a new one. It’s exciting, exhilarating and terrifying all at once.
Having a milestone birthday has made me feel very sentimental and nostalgic this week. I think it’s inevitable that I will not only look toward the future and wonder what the next 10 years will bring, but also that I will reflect on the past. The thirty years before me have been wonderful. Not to say there has not been sadness, loss, hurt and frustration. But, I count myself incredibly lucky for all of the wonderful experiences I’ve had and brilliant people that have come + gone (and stayed) in my life. I value all of the lessons I’ve learned over 30 years, no matter how difficult some of the lessons were to learn. I am proud of the wisdom I’ve developed and am excited for all that is to come. As my mom says, your thirties tend to be marked by security. Security in yourself (who you are), your home, your job, you goals, dreams and your friends/family. After a tumultuous 20s, I look forward to some peace + security! 

30 Years

30 years ago today, I was born. It was on Father’s Day. A pretty good present, hey dad? :)

25 years ago today, I was 5 years old. I was a new big sister and I was about to start kindergarden. A lot of responsibility for a 5 year old. I took being a big sister very seriously and was extremely protective of Alyssa. (Sorry, Lyss!) I spent a lot of time out in the garden with grandpa and going on field trips with gramma to the art gallery, museum, shopping downtown and to the pool. I baked many batches of cookies and read many books with mom. I went on lots of picnics and played floor hockey in the basement with dad. I was an avid colouring book artist, loved Michael Jackson, Tina Turner and my Cabbage Patch Kid doll. I was obsessed with The Muppet Babies, Barbies and GI Joes. 
The summer I turned 5, my parents took my sister and me to Regina, Saskatchewan, for a family vacation. My dad took me to my first football game. Dad, I’m sorry you could not convince me to become a Riders fan. At least you convinced me to become an avid football fan :)

20 years ago today, I was 10 years old. I was in grade 4 and I loved The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. I was (and still am) a huge Elvis Presley fan. I spent my time reading Baby Sitter’s Club books, taking clay classes, and doing tap dancing and ballet. My little sister was (and still is) my very best friend. We spent hours upon hours playing outside with the kids in the area. Around the age of ten, I went to Hawaii for the first time with the family. I got to swim with dolphins and I was convinced I would one day become a marine biologist. 20 years ago, I got to see Paul McCartney live in concert. It was epic. 20 years ago, our first family dog passed away and it was a really tough experience for me. 20 years ago, my family bought a summer cottage. So many of my very favourite memories come from times at the cabin. 

15 years ago today, I was 15 years old and I was just about to embark on two adventures: high school and my first trip to Europe. My family and I went to Wales, England and France to visit relatives. I became addicted to reading European history books. *hah* 15 years ago, I became a vegetarian (right around my 15th birthday in fact). I also started piano lessons, singing lessons and guitar lessons approximately 15 years ago. My favourite TV show was Beverly Hills 90201 and I loved Our Lady Peace and Matthew Good Band. Soon after I turned 15, I got my first part-time job – working a music store. Being a huge music fan, it was a dream job for me. Especially once I got a job for my best friend Sheila at the same store. We had a blast. At 15, my goal was to become a architect. I spent a lot of my time practicing drawing and taking drafting courses. Right before my 15th birthday, I watched the Winnipeg Jets play their last game in Winnipeg. Or, so I thought! Last year, the Winnipeg Jets came back to the city and took it over by storm! 15 years ago, our family got our most recent family pet, Mickey.

10 years ago today, I was 20 years old and I was a busy university student studying Commerce and Asian Studies. Soon before I turned 20, I spent 2 months in Switzerland in a Japanese boarding school studying the language and spending time doing outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing and white water rafting. Two months in Switzerland, away from home, really helped me grow into a young adult with many hopes and dreams. My time spent studying Japanese throughout high school and in Switzerland also caused me to change my plans. I no longer desired to go into the field of architecture. I decided to major in Asian Studies at university and loved every minute of it. My other major was Commerce – I did not like that nearly as much. *hah* 10 years ago, my favourite bands were The Clash, Rancid and Queen. They are still my favourite bands. 10 years ago, I discovered a passion for cooking and baking. I became addicted to cookbooks and I started getting creative in the kitchen. 

5 years ago today, I was 25 years old. I was a university graduate and living on my own. Soon after I turned 25, I met my very best friend and the love of my life, Jesse. I quickly knew he was “the one” and we started planning our life together. We went on a road trip together across Canada and attended a fantastic 4-day music festival in Pemberton, British Columbia, with two friends. Jesse and I were lucky enough to also spend three weeks in Europe together a few years back. It was magical to be in London with him. It’s a city we both love. I was also excited to introduce him to my family in Wales, spend time with wonderful friends in Belgium, and see the Eiffel Tower together. Last year, Jesse and I went to Las Vegas with friends and then to New York City for 9 days. I love to explore and experience the world with him. 5 years ago, I discovered my passion for photography, bought an SLR and starting carrying my camera with me almost everywhere. Photography has been a constant, growing passion since.

And today, I am 30 years old. And I am looking forward to the future and what adventures lie ahead. Today, I am closer than ever to my wonderful parents and my sister. Today, I am very much in love with Jesse and cannot wait to spend many years to come with him. Today, I am thankful for all of my wonderful friends – all of their love, support, and kindness. Today, I am thankful for a good job and a beautiful home. Today, I am excited as my little sister prepares to marry the love of her life Jonny. Today, I am thankful for all of the experiences life have given me; all of the lessons learned. Today, I’m excited to turn 30.

Today, I turn 30. Cheers to the next 10 years :)


  1. says

    Happy Birthday Courtney!

    It was wonderful reading this and your experiences-it is very thoughtful and you’ve definitely spent a long time reminiscing. I love the fact that you wanted to be a marine biologist-I did too! And was very adamant about it until I was about 15. Heheheh!

    Hope you are having a wonderful birthday spent with family and friends…thank you for being apart my life!!



    • says

      Awe, did you watch Free Willy over and over and over like I did growing up? I was convinced I’d be a marine biologist! *hah* I collected all sorts of whale and dolphin figurines and everything. LOL

      Thanks for the birthday wishes sweetie! I had a wonderful birthday! :) Actually, it’s been an eventful birthday WEEK! So many festivities. I like this “turning 30” business! *hehe* The party just keeps going! *HAH*


  2. says

    wow, you have had such an amazing life so far! so much traveling, so many experiences, so much love. happy birthday, sweet friend! may the next 30 be even better ;)

  3. Anonymous says

    You’re a lovely young woman, Courtney…so glad to have you in our family (Jesse, you did good!). Love & Hugs, Shelly

  4. says

    Happy birthday, Courtney! Reading your memories was wonderful – what a great way to look back at things. Here’s to many more! *Cheers* :)

    • says

      Thank you so much Willow! xoxo :) I agree, it was such a nice way to look back on things and realize just how far I’ve come. Makes me really appreciate life and all of my blessings. I feel very lucky! :) Especially for lovely friends like you!

  5. says

    What a life you’ve had? I love how thankful you are for it all! Here’s to the next 30! :-)

    P.S.- I was loved the baby-sitters club too!

    • says

      I LOVED the Babysitters Club!!! I read every single book that came out. *hah* I would save my allowance just so I could buy the next book each time one came out.

      Thanks for the lovely birthday wishes. *HUGS*

    • says

      Awe, thank you so much! So glad you liked the post. It was so much fun looking back at the years and remembering the good times. And realizing how goofy I was as a kid. And…how goofy I still am. *hah* It’s neat to see how far you’ve come. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in how far you have to go.

  6. says

    Even though I texted you this morning, I will say it again-HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

    This is a wonderful post! It’s a great way to reflect!

  7. says

    This is such a beautiful post! It’s your turn to cause me to tear up :)

    I hope you had a wonderful day yesterday and I know you have an amazing year ahead!


    • says

      Thanks Allison! :) I had a terrific birthday…..a terrific birthday week actually! :) turning 30 seems to mean the festivities just don’t end! LOve it! :) *hehe*

  8. says

    What a beautiful thoughtful recap of your first 30 years Court – and thank you for sharing little pieces of your history, I truly enjoyed getting to know you a little better through this post.

    So happy you had a fantastic day, you totally deserve it!

    • says

      Thank you so much Heather :) xoxo I am so glad you enjoyed the post. It was a lot of fun to write and I’m so glad everyone appreciated me sharing all about my goofy childhood! *hehe*

  9. says

    Happy birthday! I love the idea of this post. great to know some bits of the 30 years. wishing you a lot more wonderful years ahead.

    • says

      Awe, thank you so very much Natalie :) You are so sweet. *HUGS* Looking back at my 30 years definitely made me feel proud and very nostalgic. Sometimes it;s easy to get caught up in “everything I want to do” that I forget to celebrate everything I’ve already done. Writing this post really helped put things into perspective :) And it was fun to think back to all the good times too!

  10. says

    Happy Birthday! I loved reading this post–it’s always nice to learn a little bit about the people behind the blogs I read. :) I’m a year older than you, so we had a lot of the same interests around the same ages! (And I still love watching 90210 reruns…)

    • says

      Me too! *hah* I still have my journal from when I was about 8 years old and it has Dylan and Brandon on the cover. *hehe* I had a huge crush on them back in the day!

      So glad you enjoyed the post! :) It was a lot of fun to write and reminisce about all of the good times.

  11. says

    What a nice way to honour your birthday! I loved reading through this and learning more about you. I’m surprised at how much travelling you’ve done and how many interesting experiences you’ve had so far! I’m also impressed that you were baking by age 5 and that you’re able to remember so much from age 5! haha

    • says

      *hah* Yeah, mom had me in the kitchen pretty early on. I cannot say I was very helpful though. I had a tendency to eat all of the cookie dough before it hit the pan. *hah*

      Yes! I love travelling! Your recent travels have me itching to see Singapore and Thailand! And I really really want to go to Japan too. Must start saving my pennies :)

  12. says

    What a great birthday post Courtney! It’s amazing how time flies! It seriously feels like yesterday that I was just 10 years old…now we’re all “grown up” married and my little sister is going to have her first baby in a few months. Birthdays definitely make you stop, reflect and remember to take time to enjoy the present in addition to looking forward to the future and years ahead!

    I hope 30 is off to a wonderful start! * HUGS *

  13. says

    happy birthday munchkin :)

    i turned 30 a year and a half ago and it was funny: other than being a little less stupid (read: I know i don’t know everything) and a lot less drunk (read: hangovers last way too long now), i really didn’t feel any different. you’re still you and i’m glad you embrace that. it’s very wise. very “30”, if you will ;)


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