Things I've Learned At 29 (Photography and Life Related)

Lorelai turns 5 months old today, and for some reason this has made me both incredibly emotional and at the same time nostalgic. It feels like we just brought her home, and now she's sitting up all by herself, testing out baby foods, reaching for us, and giving kisses. She has changed our lives in a way that I have observed happening to other people, but not until I experienced it for myself did I ever truly understand. My life in general has changed so much in the last year, and as I approach my 30th birthday in January I've found myself reflecting quite a bit on my journey thus far in terms of where I've come from and where I'm going.

I like lists. Like a lot. I probably mention that on my blog more times than necessary but it's worth repeating. In light of my reminiscence and list-lovingness, I've decided to comprise a list of a couple things I've learned at 29, and then share a little bit about what I'm looking forward to at 30. Let's go!

1. Confidence. It didn't occur to me until recently that I have lived so much of my life with low self-esteem. It's crazy because right now, I feel the most confident I've ever felt. I still haven't lost my pregnancy weight, and while I admit I do complain about it, I'm not torn up about it either. I conceived, created, nourished, and delivered a human being. I am breastfeeding her too. My body has/is doing some pretty amazing things. Sorry I'm not sorry right now for being overweight and still confident in myself and proud of all that my body continues to do! I also finally found the confidence to pursue work in Photography and to put myself out there, sink or swim. It was a decision I mulled over for years, and one day decided to jump. My fingers are still crossed :)

She loves the camera I promise.
2. I can do anything I set my mind to. When I got my first DSLR camera four years ago it just felt right in my hands. I was determined to learn everything I could about how to use it, and hoped someday I would get the chance to use it full time. When Lorelai was born, I had the perfect opportunity to do so, and with her as my favorite subject and inspiration, I'm here now booking sessions and working to make this happen! If I really want to do something, the only person holding me back is me. I have to say, it's funny for me to look back at the pictures I used to take in the beginning and how they compare to now because you can see the contrast between my very entry level skills and my present intermediate level skills.. I decided I wanted to take myself to the next level and I worked at it, and will continue to do so as well.

3. I feel more authentic because of the two points above, both in work and at home. When I worked in an office I devoted so much energy and attention to that place, when I came home I had nothing left to give. Now I can honestly say I am happy and at peace with my life. I am confident in my choices and my future, and I can follow my dreams and do amazing shit. Life is so good.

4. My style. In the beginning, I made all the noob mistakes someone could make with their photos. I edited images using selective color, I added way too heavy vignettes, and I used filters that were so unnecessary and distracting. The biggest thing was not always nailing my focus. Thinking "soft" pictures were cute and "dreamy" instead of amateur. Style is such an important factor in Photography, and once I got the basics down, I was able to really give it the attention it deserves to get to the next level. I spend a lot of time looking at other Photographer's work. I feel like I learn so much about how they compose images, the way they use lighting, the focus and presence of their subjects, etc. This in turn helps me look at my images with a new set of eyes to evaluate what I need to work on and how I can continue to nail down the look and feel of my images that is entirely my own. In my actual life, my style has evolved and matured as well. I feel like I've gone from Khloe Kardashian (when she was a thicky-thick girl) to Kris Jenner.

This picture is the first time I wore a bra in approximately 4 months.
5. I am a damn good Mom. I always kind of knew I would be, I have had a lot of experience with children. But the difference between my prior experience and real life is, I don't get to go home at the end of the day. I'm a Mom 24/7 now. I had fears while I was pregnant that I was too selfish to be a "good mom" because I loved laying in bed all day on a Sunday binge watching Netflix and spending $200 a week at Target just for fun. Now that both of those things are not realistic for me, I find that I don't really miss them, and what they've been replaced with is so, so much sweeter. I can still spend $200 at Target though, so don't get it twisted. I am still "me" but just a way better version than I was before I had Lorelai. She brings out the best in me and I truly feel she is what has helped me to come so far in so many ways.

My child is perfect!
Like A Boss
In these last three months of my 20's I'm going to focus on my plans for the coming year:

  • Deciding how I can share the world with my daughter and give her positive learning experiences and more love that her little heart can take
  • Being a better, more patient wife to my husband who works so hard for us
  • Building my business, attracting more clients, continuing to develop my skills and style

But most importantly, I want to continue to focus on the things I discussed above. I want to remain confident, focused, authentic, and at the same time continue to better myself as a wife and mother. I really do believe anything is possible, and it's never too late. My 20's were a time where I learned a lot, both good and bad, and found myself. My 30's are going to be a time where I begin polishing up my positive characteristics, and little by little working to absolve the negative. I'm excited for what life will bring me next, and I'm very grateful for where it's already taken me.

Whew! Sometimes it's so nice to reflect and sort of take inventory of your life. It's therapeutic to give yourself credit every now and then instead of being your own biggest critic. As women, so much is expected of us in so many ways. I've decided not to accept those expectations, and instead to create my own.

I still can't believe my baby is 5 months old today. And as she sits in her Minnie Mouse walker and complains about having pushed all of her toys on the floor for the 20th time since I started writing this post, I love her more than ever before and I thank God and 29 for the gifts I have been given.

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