Life and Polaroids

Today I celebrate another birthday in my thriving thirties. The exact number doesn’t matter as much as the journey that brought me here.

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The years I discovered who I am and what I need. The years with the most pain. The years that molded my faith. The years I learned to slow down and opened my eyes and heart to the abundance of everyday beauty in my world. The years I started to see the reasons for the way of things. I don’t have all of the answers, no one does, but I’ve learned a few things along the way.

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If you push through it, ignore it or runaway from it – it will find a way to come back tenfold to get your attention. Listen to pain, get the message it’s sending and learn from it.Olbrich_Gardens_Madison_Portrait_Photography_by_Out_Loud_Photography_October_2

The most powerful thing we have is our perspective. We can choose to see a situation or object in one way, we can choose to see it from the opposite way, and we can choose to see it from both ways. The coolest part is that WE get to choose.

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You are the only person who gets to decide what you value in life, what you hold dear and where you want to focus your energy. Do not let others “should” on you with their own values. Do what is best for you.

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Do not under estimate the power and importance of loving where you live. Your environment influences the quality of your life. If you find yourself feeling connected with a certain city or a scenic country side, take the steps necessary to get yourself there. Whether its a mansion on a hill side or a small apartment, whether you’re miles from the nearest human or surrounded by dozens of neighbors, whether its filled with pets or filled with plants… Make your home count and surround yourself with people that only lift you higher.

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Find something to believe in. Whether its the balance of the universe and its energy, a worthy cause, the unconditional love of one God, or trust in the human race… Believe in something and believe in yourself.

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Take lessons from the dog(s) in your life. Have faith in others. Assume that everyone is doing their very best. Try not to pass judgements, things are not always as they seem. Everyone you meet has their own stuff and is finding their way through their own unique struggles. Be kind.

Forgive the past. Forgive others. Forgive yourself. Until they perfect time travel, we cannot change the past. But we can change how we think and ultimately feel about it. LET IT GO so that you don’t rob yourself of the beautiful present and future.

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Do fun things. Its as simple as that. JUST DO THEM. Everyone’s idea of fun is different. Watch a funny video, take photographs, laugh with your best friend, read a good book… Do the things that bring you joy.

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It is not a question of IF you’ll go through a tough time in life, its WHEN. Get through life’s tough moments, try not to make them worse. Take a step back. Take it easy on yourself. Take a deep breathe. This too shall pass. Have faith that there will be better days.

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Happiness isn’t a destination… Happiness is choosing to enjoy the journey, however complicated it may be.

Always,

Erica

Photographs: Polaroid 320 Land Camera, Fuji Film FP-100C