This is 30: Shanetta Chess

Shanetta Chess

To Her 20-Year-Old Self: “…Cherish your friendships…Just overall live your life child!”

Shanetta and I go way back. We were both raised in Barnwell, South Carolina, and graduated from the same high school. She went and became a gator at University of Florida, and I became an Orangemen at Syracuse University. I am happy that we can reconnect again by reflecting on being 30. This is her “30” story.  When is your birthdate?

Shanetta Chess: My birthdate is Dec 9th,1987.

Xo: How did you celebrate your 30th birthday?

SC: I honestly treated it like a regular day. I didn't do anything special.

Xo: What were your hopes for your birthday?

SC:My hopes were to have a party with my cousin who is like my brother. His birthday is the day after mine. It was going to be a grown and sexy type of event. That's how I've always envisioned milestone birthdays.

Xo: So, the plans fell through, what made you decide to eventually treat it like a regular day?

SC: Adulting will do that to you. Sometimes bills and other responsibilities supersede the ability to do what you want to do. I went to work but had a little wine and a good meal that night so I could give myself something. Laughs.

Xo: How was your 20’s? What was the most valuable lessons you’ve learned?

SC: My 20’s was a very fun,  passion-filled, and self indulgent era. I learned that it was an era of vanity and “unoptimized” opportunities.

Xo: Can you give any specific examples that would describe what your 20’s was like? What helped you learn those lessons?

Shanetta and her Mommy.

Shanetta and her Mommy.

SC: I had a blast at University of Florida. I loved higher learning and the opportunities it offered. I could've went for more. I met some amazing people. A few of which are still friends. We loved to party. However, I tried to make every guy a serious relationship. I think I was trying to makeup for what was going on with my own parents at home. I even moved off campus in order to make space for an ex. However,  you can't build a life or home with someone before you know and love yourself enough to be alone. Sometimes people just love you for what you can do for them. I worked a lot in my twenties. 2-3 jobs at a time. Worked so much I missed some family moments. That has shaped my perspective on work life balance. Work used to define me.

Xo: What would you tell your 20 year old self?

SC: I would say "girl, this is the beginning of your life. Romantic love need not be forced. Every guy is not meant to be the one. Cherish your friendships Just overall live your life child! Discover yourself by getting close to God, study abroad, immerse yourself in the culture of the times on campus and of your generation in the world, practice good money habits, and don't be afraid to take a chance.”

Xo: Yes! What are you most proud of since turning 30?

SC: I'm proud that I have gotten married. I'm proud that I have established a career for myself. I'm proud that I have grown from that little girl.

Shanetta found love, and married her best friend this year.

To Her 20-Year-old Self: “Girl, this is the beginning of your life. Romantic love need not be forced."

Xo: What you feel have contributed to your growth and these milestones in your life?

SC: My relationship with God. A desire to constantly learn and elevate. A realization that I am enough.

Shanetta’s Vision board.

Shanetta’s Vision board.

Xo:  Do you feel like there was a “shift”? If so, how would you describe it?  

SC: The shift has been in my perspective on life. It's no longer what has happened to me but what am I doing? How am I managing my assignments in life? What is my purpose?

Xo: Any tips you would give to others who haven't gained your same perspective yet?

SC: I would say to them that every decision good or bad has consequences whether intended or unintended. It's how we respond to the consequences. Will I learn, repeat, or ignore? Life is so short. We must seize every single day and every single opportunity.

Xo:  How was your “30” year? What stands out? What changed you?

SC: 30 has been a year of reflection and reconciliation. My relationship with God has changed me as well as the desire to know and love myself better.

Xo: What would you think your 20 something self for?

SC:  I thank her for deciding to leave the nest to find independence.

Xo:  What do you look forward to for your 30s?

SC: I look forward to my marriage, the power to reinvent myself through new opportunities, travel, parenthood,etc .

Since you mentioned travel I have to ask, where do you want to travel?

Internationally, I want to travel to the countries in the Caribbean, Europe, Africa,South America as well as Italy, Greece, Israel. Domestically,California, NY, Chicago, Puerto Rico, Houston, Seattle, etc.

Thank you for sharing your insights, Shanetta!