Vancouver wedding photographer Jelger

Turning 30 in an airplane

Portrait of Jelger Vitt

Today, I’m turning 30. And it makes me think. Not just about my age, but about my life and where I’m at. For some turning 30 is no more than “meh, what else is new”, for others it’s the coming of the rapture. During the last weeks I was going back and forth between the two. On one hand I knew it was just another (birth)day, but then again there was this nagging voice in my head that kept repeating I’m already 30. So I better start taking life more seriously, because that’s what you’re supposed to do at that age. But really, is that true?

When I turned 20, I felt as if I was going to conquer the world. Being 20-something would be a never-ending string of parties, popularity and succes. Wait, no, that was what I wanted it to be. Instead, I was an introverted and shy sophomore in law school, who felt surrounded by nothing but confident, eloquent students. Oh how I longed to be in my thirties, all mature and full of worldly wisdom.

vancouver wedding photographer jelger vitt

The next important event was 3 years later: graduation from law school. This time, although I still wasn’t Mr. Confident, I was ready to take over the world. After all… I was a lawyer! “Heed me, injustice, for here I come!” Little did I know…

It’s a funny thing, how law students, seem to share this picture-perfect image of the attorney-life. Think John Grisham: fancy office, big fat pay check, respectful clients and maybe even a good work-life balance. But then life catches up and all that remains is either the royal wage (for the ‘happy few’ that get to slave away in the Big Firms) or … uhm … nothing. More than once, I wished to be in my thirties; a senior lawyer with at least a taste of the John-Grisham-package. Things turned out differently.

On August 31st, 2011, I closed the door of the law firm behind me. I was 28, completely burned-out, and clinging to the thought that 36 days later, I’d be moving to Vancouver, where I’d start chasing my newfound dream of becoming a wedding photographer. For the first time in my life, I didn’t wish I was in my thirties.

Restarting my life and career in Vancouver has been without a doubt the toughest thing I’ve done, but also the best (well, second best: I married my wife). It forced me to go back to square one and rethink what I want in life. Get ready world, I’m here to conquer you!

jelger vitt wearing glasses

Let me add this: the choice to change lives, is a double-edged sword. There’s the bliss of rebuilding life consciously (experiencing a lot more quality) but at the same time it postpones events such as having a stable income, children or owning a house. Still I wouldn’t want to change a thing. Twenty-something symbolizes my transition from who I was, to who I am today.

  • I am (a lot) healthier and leaner;
  • Life experience has brought me confidence and a more positive self-image, which I’m only starting to discover;
  • The opportunity to move internationally has given me strength and resilience, not to mention: wonderful friends over the whole world;
  • Most important: I found my wonderful wife, Tanja. She is the most amazing, loving and understanding person in my life, and without her, I would be far from where I am today.

So in conclusion: does it matter that I’m turning 30 today? Not in the least! I’m right where I want to be in life, as well as in location: sitting next to Tanja in an airplane that’s taking us to Belgium, where we’ll be visiting our friends and family for three weeks.

On the left photo, I was 21 years old; the right one was taken yesterday.

jelger vitt Before and after