30 by 30
30 by 30
Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness
Dust Jacket Hardcover
Print Type:

While in her twenties, author Jené G. Matzkanin had set out to find meaning in her life, to find her place, make a name, and hopefully, make a difference. Suddenly, she found herself on the verge of turning thirty. She'd thought by the time she reached thirty she would have her life figured out, career started, family established, and be well on her way to wherever it was she was going.

In 30 by 30, Matzkanin shares a collection of heartwarming, giggle-worthy, life lessons that she inadvertently learned the hard way. Some are deep, some are not, but all offer a practical look at the wide variety of decisions and actions that one faces on the voyage throughout young adulthood.

Showing that no one is alone on the sometimes rocky journey to thirty, 30 by 30 provides a look at life from someone who's made it to the other side of her twenties. It admits that the decade between ages twenty and thirty is painfully brutal, yet remains one of the most beautiful times of life.


It is the end of June 2015, and according to some I'm pushing thirty with an "effing" bulldozer. Kind of harsh if you ask me, but I suppose it's true. At this point in my life, I have an 8.5 year old that uses words like aquatic micro vertebrae, and other ones that I can't even remember, a cocker spaniel/springer spaniel that looks like Walter Matthau, two mischievous cats- Beefcake and Zippers, and a slight obsession with Tom Selleck.

I am currently one semester away from two bachelor's degrees in business/marketing, was recently inducted into a not-so secret honor society, and I work in a field dominated by manly men and a few occasional whiners. I often fantasize about quitting my job to work at the local lumberyard and join the PTA. Hasn't happened yet, maybe someday soon. I am a little weird, I laugh when I should cry, base my political votes on whether or not the candidates appreciate tacos, and quite simply refuse to believe that Elvis Presley is dead.

I grew up in sunny Southern California somewhere in between the ocean and the ghetto. I lived near a military base and I have a deep respect for those who serve this country. I also have a deep respect for truck drivers, but that's neither here nor there. I was lucky to have a nice home to live in, and was raised alongside my brother Chippy, who my daughter has renamed "Pippers". He's welcome. He was into dirt bikes and being popular. I was quiet and shy, and had a hard time making friends and being cool. Instead I just made googaly eyes at all of his friends. Weirdo, I know. I was fortunate to have a small handful of GREAT friends, and most of them are still around today with the help of social media.

My parents divorced when I was young, and both have remarried. We are a big mixed-up, happy-most-of-the-time family. At the ripe old age of 18, my parents left California to move to of all places...MONTANA. There was no way in h-e-double-hockey-sticks that I was moving with them. Besides, at that time, I had stuff going for me. I found myself in a successful retail career, and also pregnant and married to an army guy. I did all that fairly young just to get it out of the way. For the record, I have no regrets!

Upon the birth of my little girl, I decided California was no longer for me. I moved to sweet home Alabama. This is where my husband-at-the-time lived, and therefore I moved to be with him. Fortunately, that marriage didn't work out but I did gain a whole new family, his parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and neighbors. In fact, his mom and I had drinks with popsicle stick Bon Jovi and Patrick Swayze just a few weeks ago.

Upon the ending of my marriage, I moved to Montana to be closer to my mom. Yep, there it is. I don't know if you've ever experienced culture shock, but it is so very uncomfortable. I wore Vans sneakers during winter, and I swore on all that was holy I would never own a stupid puffer vest. Eight years later, I wear CUTE winter boots almost all year round, and I am now the proud owner of a puffer vest in every color. I also recently acquired a couple of flannel shirts. I'm not even embarrassed.

Now that I have the proper Montana attire, I am finding the beauty in this state. I have even considered putting some roots down and making this my permanent home. I have yet to commit to that idea, but it is looking a little more appealing each day. However, I still take into consideration that it is summertime and I'm not freezing my frittatas off. It's amazing what a little bit of sunshine can convince you to do.

The pressure is on to make a decision, as I will graduate from college this coming December. Do I stay, or do I go? The Clash has been asking that question for decades. I hope it doesn't take me quite as long to figure it out. I guess when you're a famous 70s band you can do whatever the heck you please. More power to them!

Well, you now know the important things about me, so let's get started on this journey shall we. In the coming pages you will find some of the important lessons I have learned the hard way, as well as some helpful tips and pointers that I wish I would've known well before I reached thirty. Some are deep, some are not, but most are practical. However, none of them are meant to supplement your own life experiences or solve any of your problems. They are simply meant to help make the experiences a bit easier and more enjoyable.

I hope you laugh, I hope you feel inspired, and I hope you embrace your own journey, because it's going to be AMAZING!


Two Dimensions of You'll Never Be Ready for Anything

Juju: The Good and the Bad

Yoga for the Headstrong

Families Are Like Gangs

Know People

Don't Tattoo Your Face

Find a Best Friend, and Call Her Dude

Helmets and Knee Pads

Two Dimensions of You'll Never Be Ready for Anything

One of my most fine-tuned skills is procrastination. I am GOOD at it! I have a ton of great ideas, but I have executed approximately three of them over the past few years. Why? I'm not ready, I have too much going on, I haven't had coffee yet, it's just not the right time, oh look...squuuirrrell. At this very moment in time, I'm not ready to finish this chapter.

In life, your twenties especially, you will likely find that you will never, ever, ever be 100 percent ready to do anything. I truly believe this is a two-dimensional issue. There are things that you have to do but don't want to do, and then there are things you want to do, but are too scared to do. First of all, make sure your priorities are straight.

Jené is a California girl living in a Montana world. She has earned degrees in marketing and business, runs her own consulting firm, and most days...she's pretty okay at being an adult.


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