Traveling is freeing. How wonderful it is to experience a new place, see new things and add stories to my life. Some things I took away from my small but big travels this year...
1. Wanderlust. I started 2019 away from home. This may not seem like a big deal to others but after bringing four children into the world, it's a big stinkin' deal. When I left for Click Away in February, it was a big adult step for me. I had a connecting flight to catch. I had to manage my own schedule and needs. The conference I was registered to attend wasn't for someone else's agenda but a step toward the realization of my own dreams. Not just about photography but also about my own personhood; outside the roles I currently and forevermore mind myself in - wife and mother. Traveling by myself opened a door to dreaming bigger for myself, my children and my marriage.
New Goal: Live and experience outside your immediate and automatic existence.
2. Brussell Sprouts. When my husband was in school and we lived in St. Louis with our first child, I quit my salaried position that offered benefits in order to keep Kaiser with me during the day. I nannied for a great family of two kids and my experience there has played a definite role in how I plan and execute family life today. My female employer, the Mom, would regularly ask me to make brussell sprouts for dinner. I had no idea how to do such things, so she taught me and I always despised the smell while they cooked down. While in California this year, I had the opportunity (and friendly peer pressure) to try a bacon adorned brussell sprout side, as well as one flavored with teriyaki. Where has this been all my life?! They. Were. Amazing. I made them "for my children" last week but sadly, they didn't appreciate them. So the head of the house and I hoarded them for ourselves...and I don't feel bad about it.
P.S. I also tried shrimp and scallops...you can't win them all!
New Goal: Try new things.
3. Community. Caffeine, adrenaline, excitement. These things help me look at the world as if it was my own little community of friends. So if that' s not your cup of tea, steer clear of me in public. Because I will be smiling and saying hello. The appropriate response is to smile back and return the greeting in some form that you are comfortable with. Don't worry - I won't bite. I love to experience the world like this - it may be an illusion, it may be fleeting and sometimes it's just plain impossible. But in the past couple of years, I've taken it a step further and have pushed myself to find a small way to encourage or be a bright spot in another's day. If that woman's hair is gorgeous and shiny today, I'm going to let her know I noticed. If I'm blessed with a chai tea latte and it tastes extra delicious, I'm going to compliment the barista who made it. If there's beautiful light on my best friend's face at the zoo, I'm going to make her pause for a photo and tell her she's beautiful. Because she is!
New Goal: Be a positive force in the world.
4. Dream Big. I let my hubby and a close friend in on some of the bigger dreams I have. Those dreams that make you doubt yourself big time. The dreams that make my self-reflection land on not good enough, not smart enough and nobody will show up. But those stories I let myself listen to aren't true or real. Just like anything else in the world, some of the dreams I concoct will be flops. I'm getting better at taking those defeats and learning from them. But the biggest lesson I've learned is that if I don't dream big, I will always have small dreams.
New Goal: Keep dreaming and don't be afraid of the big dreams.
5. Just Do It. Thanks Nike for your phrase. I like to ponder. And reflect. And sit on decisions. It's called procrastinating and when it comes to making decisions, it's simply due to the anxiety of making the wrong decision. But because time keeps marching on, not making a decision is a decision in itself. So instead of letting the fear take over that this shop won't collaborate or that photographer isn't interested in networking, I have pushed myself to reach out anyway. The worst that can happen is I get a 'no.' I have started to 'just do it' with some of my dreaming and I can't wait for you to see it. Some of it will be revealed this year and others will happen somewhere down the line. But I'm so excited to do it all.
New Goal: Just do it.
I hope these goals have helped put some reachable perspective on your dreams and thinking. I love to hear what others are dreaming of, so feel free to comment below. Happy creating!