Celebrate! {new year - new me - new dress}

This birthday is special for me because I have finally let go of the things that have been weighing me down. Without of the mental clutter I am open to experiencing all of the wonderful things that are just around the corner.

I faced a lot of personal and professional challenges over the past year. I lost of my grandfather and shortly after lost my job (the second layoff I have experienced since graduating college a few years ago). This time last year I had not yet purchased my camera and Wonderlust wasn’t even in existence. I was desperate and felt like my life was slipping through my hands like quicksand. I had no control. I was lost.

However, looking back I see that so much good has come from all of those trials. Wonderlust found me, my photography has blossomed, and I have been fortunate enough to have met so many new friends. I have traveled the US from North (Minneapolis) to South (Miami). I have learned so much about so many different facets of life. I have been given the opportunity to see and do things I would never have imagined. I have watched my friends and family become blessed with new spouses, babies, and pets. I have so much to be thankful for.

I thought I had to have everything figured out. I had imagined an unrealistic, superficial life for myself. I thought I had to live in a particular part of town with specific material things. Since last year, I have grown so much. I have learned that what I do for work doesn’t make me who I am. It is the person inside. The person that is intelligent, funny, successful, and beautiful. I learned to love myself. In return, I am capable of loving others and being at peace.

Each year, I make a birthday toast to thank those around me that have blessed me with their presence (my brother and sister make fun of me for this every year). My family and friends are the reason I am at this place in life. Each one of my closest friends and family have listened to me (over and over again), pushed me to be better and told me when to stop complaining and whining.

Even though I went through a lot in the past year, I know it was just growing pains. I am so thankful for each and every one of them. My birthday wish this year is for anyone who doesn’t know where they are going to know that they don’t have to. When you love yourself on the inside you will become a magnet for your desires.
I leave you with one of my favorite quotes.
“Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate. Without them, what would shape our lives? Perhaps if we never veered off course, we wouldn’t fall in love, or have babies, or be who we are. After all, season change, so do cities. People come into your life and people go. But it’s comforting to know the ones you love are always in your heart. If you are very lucky, a plane ride a way.” – Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City
So instead of Happy Birthday, Happy Happy Birthday!
Be ignited!

. . . 
Wonderlust Photography by Jona

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