Today I'm officially another a year older, and hopefully a little wiser. I'm at that point in my life where birthdays are becoming less about the party, and more about realizing how I have grown as a person over the past year. This year has been amazing, but has also been filled with challenges that tested my character. Here are the top 4 things I've learned from being another year older.
Having Faith That Everything Happens For a Reason - While I firmly believe that we have control of our own destiny I also believe that heavenly Father has a plan for me. During the beginning of the summer I was let go as an instructor, and all hell broke loose shortly after. Once the "ish" hit the fan I felt lost, and went to Utah for some much needed time off from Arizona. I needed to clear my head, and revaluate where to go from there. During my time in Utah I felt this strong need to pursue photography as a career. I've always wanted to try my hand in photography as a creative outlet, and the pressure of finding extra cash pushed me into pursuing it. Fast forward 6 months later I am actively pursuing my career in photography, and couldn't be happier that I finally took that leap. If it wasn't for me being let go I don't know if I would have the time or determination to pursue developing my new talent. Heavenly Father has blessed me in pursuing a new passion, and has recently led me to teaching again at a new studio in Arizona.
Learning to Let Go - This is by far one of the hardest things I've had to deal with this year. I grew up in a broken home, which has made me invest and cherish the relationships of those I love. When I first moved to Arizona I was so excited because my best friend lived here. Beyond excited to have a support system in Arizona I didn't feel afraid to move to a new state. Over the years the relationship went south for reasons I still don't know why to this day. For 3 years straight I would cry constantly for this friendship whenever something horrible or exciting happened that I wanted to tell her about. This year I finally got the text that she wanted me out of her life that absolutely crushed me. I pleaded to speak with her, and tried calling her countless times afterwards. As I am writing this I can't help but to cry remembering how hard and long that night seemed. I've always tried to be that person that people can rely on, and love people with everything I got. That whole week I kept putting the blame on myself, and felt like I was self destructing. Even though my heart still aches for things to go back to being the same I realized that I need to let go. I know that I am a good person with a good heart, and can't keep putting blame on myself. Letting go of the friendship has been so hard, and has made me grateful for her role in my growing up from child to adult.
Service Others - This year I have felt a huge desire to service others in anyway possible. One day I was pulling off the freeway during 110+ degree weather, and I saw a woman stop her car to get into her trunk. Cars were piling up behind her as she was scrummaging through her trunk, and I even felt slightly annoyed to be waiting for her to be done. She pulled out a couple of water bottles, and then gave them to a homeless man on the corner. After seeing this I felt immediate guilt that I felt annoyed that a woman was going out of her way to help someone survive the heat. I admired that woman, and wanted to be like her. The next day I ran to Walmart, and bought a couple packs of water bottles and packaged snacks to always keep in my car trunk to give out to anyone in need. You'll be surprised how much fulfillment you get out of helping others when they least expect it.
One Team One Dream - As a blogger and photographer I have been absolutely astonished at the amount of people that don't support one another. Bloggers not wanting to help one another in fear of the other becoming bigger than them or photographers not taking the time to help others within their photog community. The more and more I've become more involved with both careers the more I have realized I never want to be that person. Community over competition is the only game I play. I love collaborating with other people, and creating projects and friendships that are based upon helping one another.