I’m giving you warning now, this has nothing to do with wedding photography. And everything to do with what I view as some of the most important things I’ve learned in the last few years.
As some of you know I just had a birthday. The day was very nice, and I had some time to think about my life up to this point, as one often does on one’s birthday. I don’t know how it is for others, but the year I turned 18-ish my life started flying by at a considerably faster rate. I had always wanted to be older, but at 17/18 I was really wishing life would slow down and that I could just hangout at this age forever. When you hit 20 you think the inevitable thought, you’re half way to 40! And 40 means practically 50 which isn’t far from 60 and then 80 and so you might as well buy that rocking chair from Cracker Barrel now.
With each day that passes now I become more and more aware that life is indeed short. And we don’t actually have any ‘life time frame’ to take for granted. It could all end so fast.
What would I tell my 12 year old self if I could go back? I read my journal and just groan at how much I had to learn. Of course I’m sure I’ll still be saying the same thing when I turn 30.
However, these are some of the top things that come to mind when I think about what I’ve been learning the last few years. I haven’t arrived by any means, so you can all hold me accountable.
1. Don’t Worry
Most women are prone to worrying. And let’s face it, there’s lots we feel we need to worry about! When I was 12 I’d worry if anyone liked me, then if anyone liked me enough to marry me, then if I did get married could we have kids… And that list went on and on and on. My journal is full of little and big things that I was worrying about. Now looking back some of the things were reasonable concerns but most were just plain silly. And I’m convinced worry has a damaging affect on our bodies. Just think of all I could have spared myself, all the days I could have been happier, the better testimony I could have been to others, if I had just not worried as much. I know someone who can take away your worry. And I should have let Him do it more. I still have to preach this at myself, because of course problems are bigger and bolder as you get older, and it’s so justifiable to fall back into a worry trap.
2. Don’t Complain
Kinda self explanatory. Have you noticed the people that always complain about something? Either you don’t like being around them, or you’re the same as them and feel a common bond. Have you seen the girl on facebook who complains about wanting to get married, then complains about her wedding, and husband, then that they can’t have children, then that the kids are driving her crazy! Don’t be that person. There will always be something to complain about, always. Don’t play the ‘if only’ and ‘I wish’ game. Don’t make a habit of always having to ‘vent’ to everyone. If you need to complain do it in your diary or to a close friend that can give you wise counsel. I’m not saying every single thing you say or post to social media has to be all happy and roses, but I hope you know what I mean.
3. Smile More
Someone once told me that I had a rain cloud that stayed right over my head. Of course this person wasn’t on my favorite list so I didn’t feel the need to be cheerful around them, but still. If I’m watching a video of myself for most of my teen years I really do look like I’m sad and gloomy. Sometimes I thought I was smiling but when I saw my reflection I wasn’t at all. So maybe you’re a happy person but need to make sure your face matches that, but likely as not, if people think you’re sad or feel you don’t like them, it’s most likely because you have some internal issues you need to clear up. I have a lot of thoughts on this topic, and it’s pretty deep, but here are the two things I’ll say. One, if you don’t have happiness inside, look in the mirror, smile, and laugh at yourself, more often than not it will make you feel better and maybe you’ll just smile for real. Second, whatever is in your heart shows up on your face, so better get things worked out on a deeper level. I could have given so many people the gift of a smile and didn’t. (This is not to say I’m going to make all my models smile from ear to ear now. I love me some serious and contemplative poses.)
4. Be Grateful
Just do it, practice it, change your attitude, stop comparing, think of others, be honest with yourself. What is the opposite of gratefulness? Pride. Ugly pride. Thinking you deserve something or not valuing someone or their gift. This is the biggest thing that has hit me between the eyes so so hard the last year. I still have a long ways to go, but the first step to becoming a grateful person is realizing you’re not.
5. Jesus is Everything
So here are my birthday thoughts. Hope you can take at least some small thing away. Actually I hope you don’t have to take anything away, I hope you already have all of these things mastered!
But if you don’t, take it from a girl who wishes she could live some of her life over.