This past year has been a whirlwind.
So many beautiful and challenging changes that I’ve walked through and continued to face – and wholly cow I can’t believe I’m 29! Seriously, I feel like I was just 25 and thinking I was 21, HA! I’ve made it a little tradition on here to every year share some Birthday Advice on lessons learned in the last year as well as thoughts to consider as I move forward.
A year full of love, sacrifice, sorrow, complete joy, pruning, and growth. I’ve learned a lot in the past year, more than I thought was possible and while a lot of it has felt like chaos it’s been really nice to sit back and reflect on all of the events that have unfolded. When I do take a moment to reflect I’m kind of in awe at the amount of change I’ve walked through and how much more is still ahead. It’s terrifying and beautiful; exciting and cautious; I’m learning to live in that in-between place where you just take what life throws and try to respond gracefully and with a smile on your face and joy in your heart. I don’t always succeed, but I am trying.
1 || Make time for what is important.
2 || Bloom where you are planted.
3 || Find balance.
We hear it all the time, you make time for what matters to you. I have learned how absolutely true these words are in the last year. Make time for your relationship with the Lord, your spouse, your friendships / relationships, and yourself. If you don’t make the time for these things they begin to wither up and after a while will fade away.
Spouse: Eddie and I don’t always get a lot of time together so when we do we spend it in whatever ways we need to in order to connect and communicate. If we don’t make time for each other we can start to drift apart.
Jesus: This relationship has taken a beating over the last year. With so much change I’ve felt disconnected, un-tethered, and overwhelmed; I’ve also felt joy, peace, comfort and a closeness I’ve never known. I’m learning a lot about grace, rest, and contentment – three areas I really struggle with.
Friendships: This is a really hard area for me to write on as I’ve felt really frustrated and bitter in the last year. Before I even got married and moved away from my home town I felt so many doors beginning to close and it was a very deep and raw wound. Since moving I’ve seen many of my friendships begin to close the last chapter and kind of slip away without much effort. It’s a very hard pill for me to swallow because I’m the “fight till you can’t fight anymore” type of person in relationships and learning to just let things go and take care of my own emotional well-being has been a struggle.
I think we’ve all heard this saying at one time or another in our lives.
When change happens we often want to curl within and not seek out the new good things that are in front of us. We can get sidetracked by all of the negativity and throw ourselves a pity party or two instead of sucking up some courage and really digging in where we’ve been planted.
This took some getting used to for me; and I’m not going to lie and say its as a cake walk. Moving away from your home-town of 28 years is incredibly hard in itself, then tack on getting married and learning what that’s like, AND THEN tack on being married to a man who is in the military. OOPPHHFF. I wasn’t really prepared for all of the changes that were coming my way, no matter how many times I rolled them around in my head. The first few months being away from Charleston were really hard. It was winter in Maine and a lot of things were closed and people stayed inside so making friends was next to impossible; I was also learning the area and trying to spend time with Eddie while I could. Moving to Connecticut was actually a lot easier than I thought and I forced myself to thrive. I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to a class, joined groups, went to creative meeting where i knew no one and slapped on a smile and took on a huge amount of courage. It wasn’t easy, there are still a lot of days where I feel really alone, but I’m choosing to bloom where I’m planted (even when they are only short roots for a few months) and enjoy each season of life I’m in.
Work + Life + Commitments + Rest + etc…things can get unbalanced quickly. We live in an age of technology where being connected to any and everything is literally at the touch of a fingertip. Our eyes are glued to screens, numbers, readers, columns, blog posts, pinterest, Facebook, images, movies, tv shows, etc way more often than they are glued to another human being. Our lips speak through small little boxes instead of deep conversations, our hearts are guarded and we forget how to be real with one another. There is this underlying feeling that we should be doing more, writing more, seeing more, and being ALWAYS connected. Stop it. Find balance, live life, and soak in the day-to-day moments.
Now that I work from home I have found this to be even more of a struggle for me. My home is my office, and my job is on the internet and out doing photography sessions. I’m creating content for the blog, taking photos for the blog, taking photos of amazing people, and carefully (and sometimes stupidly) watching my numbers grow and dwindle. I am always aware of phone alerts and emails as well as tags and posts…it’s like I feel like I can never really shut off. That is SO DANGEROUS. I’m trying to make “cut off” times and some days I succeed really well and others I just fail. I’m learning more and more about boundaries and making sure I’m actually present when I’m spending time with other people instead of constantly being on my phone/computer. Balance is hard.
// Friendships have seasons and sometimes you just have to let them go.
// That my 30 before 30 list is creeping up on me! I’ve got to start hustling to cross some things off.
// That embracing freedom means so much more than I originally thought.
// I fell deeper in love with this man.
// Then I married him. <3
// I soaked in some blizzard snowfall and started to understand how cold a winter can be!
// I learned how love can look different than we expect, how
// How to embrace change even when it feels like you’re drowning.
// I’ve learned how to get out of my comfort zone and explore new areas, meet new people, and hold a little less tight on superficial things.
// I have learned that I still have a long way to go in practicing being kind to myself. Seriously I’m a HUGE mean girl to myself and it’s no bueno.
Location: Connecticut / Rhode Island Border