I’ve been waiting to write that title for a while now. Like many, I’m not sad to see this year enter the history books. It’s been a long one from start to finish. I’m not entirely sure what I want to accomplish with this post, but as 2016 comes to a close in a few hours, I’m taking a moment to reflect on this past year (as I binge watch This is Us…I highly recommend this show if you haven’t seen it yet. If I get sappy at any point here, I blame Mandy Moore).
1. Make more adventures. In August, I hit the road with one of my closest college friends, Randi, and one of my best childhood friends, Kiley, for a cross country road trip, and it was one of the most incredible things I did this year (heck, in my life!). We had a rough plan but allowed ourselves the wiggle room to live spontaneously (which included spending an unexpected night in Vegas) while also making sure (for the most part) that we had a roof over our head each night. Our 23 days on the road were the absolute best. We reconnected with friends along the way, we saw parts of our beautiful country that we would have never been able to if we hadn’t hopped in the car for over 8,000 miles, and we made memories that will last a lifetime. If you’ve never taken a road trip, give it a shot. While you don’t have to do the aggressive three weeks of driving like we did, you’ll be surprised by what you can pack into a week.
2. Appreciate the little things. As many of you know, my family had to put down our dog, Tuuka, this past September. It was the worst. Anyone who has lost a family pet knows. But, what gave me comfort in the days and weeks that followed was thinking back to the small, seemingly unimportant moments that remain in my mental images of him. The way he would literally suck down a creemee (that’s soft-serve ice cream in Vermont) in about 30 seconds, which usually resulted in a brutal brain freeze. The way he would cross his legs and sit so proudly in the kitchen watching his family gather. The way he would slowly sneak his head out of the garage door before it was fully open because he was so excited to greet us. Every time I return home, I’m reminded that Tuuka isn’t there to greet me in the driveway. So, I cherish those moments. Those small, significant moments that matter so much to me now.
3. There will be no perfect time. At the beginning of January, my closest friends told me I could this. This = put myself out there and tell people they can hire me to take their picture. Trust me to capture their important moments. Back in June, I had coffee with a photographer friend who I admire greatly. She turned her passion of photographing family and friends into a thriving business. And, her words of “there is no perfect time” stuck with me. I was putting off launching my business until I found the perfect moment. But what is the perfect moment? What even defines perfect?! On a random Thursday night in November, I decided to launch my business (because I told myself I needed to be productive after bailing on an evening SoulCycle class…seriously). I put myself out there. I let people know I created a website that I wanted them to check out. It wasn’t the perfect time, but you know what? It didn’t matter. And two months later, here I am. A girl boss.
I was reminded of a page I earmarked in Alexis Jones’s book, I Am That Girl, which said: “Making excuses instead of putting yourself and your dreams first only leads to a life of mediocrity and regret. And you don’t deserve that, nobody does. But to stop the excuses it’s going to take getting hard-core and figuring out exactly what you want. So push yourself to ignore all those excuses that pop into your head, and accept the truth that you are the master of your ship, the author of your life, and that your adventure is only as awesome as you can imagine it. Once you stop talking yourself out of doing what you really want, you’ll find the shiniest version of you and experience a sense of accomplishment that rivals any accolades.”
So, here’s to 2017. I’m excited and honored to capture the moments that lay ahead.
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