This weekend marked a very special celebration for me, I turned 25! Some people dread their birthdays, but I look forward to mine all year long. I'd been excited about this day since before Christmas, ask anyone close to me, they'll tell you I reminded them on numerous occasions of my upcoming birthday, they may even say that with a little annoyance (tee-hee). So for this quarter-century celebration I figured I'd write down what I think I've learned so far:
1. You're going to experience a great heart break (or two) before you turn 25, and that's okay.
When I was young (okay, younger), I fell in love really easily. I had it so bad. I was boy crazy for sure. That lead me to getting my heart broken, at least twice, and spending a lot of time sad and lonely, but I learned that I actually have a huge capacity to love others, and that I really do care about people more than I let on, and that I have more patience and compassion than I give myself credit for. I wouldn't have realized how big my heart is if I hadn't got it broken a time or two first. A broken heart needs scars to heal, and that actually makes your heart bigger, and gives you a capacity to love someone even deeper than you thought possible.
2. Nothing will work out how you planned, and that's an incredible thing, so be thankful for it!
If my life had gone the direction I once envisioned it, I would be in a completely different career, in a completely different city, province, or maybe even country. I would not be a photographer, or live the life I do now. But thank God things turned out how they did, because I have the best job in the world, and I love every minute of it! I have learned that sometimes the path were on today is just a connecting path to where we're supposed to be. We might not be there yet, but enjoy every minute you live because you're slowly moving in the direction you're meant to go.
3. You'll find out who your true friends are, and you might be surprised.
The solid, tight knit group of friends I had in high school, well I have barely anything to do with those people today. The group I hung out with in college, who I spent literally almost every waking moment with, I don't see them much either. The people who are closest to me now are ones I never would have guessed would still be there for me, and the friends I've lost, well that was just as much of a surprise. People come and go in our lives for a reason, so appreciate those who are in your life now, because they may not be the same people you share a porch and a rocking chair with later in life.
4. You are not perfect, and you've actually got a lot to work on.
Sometimes being introspective sucks, like really bad. You realize that you've actually got flaws, maybe more than other people, and you've got to work on them and just generally be a better person. Some people go through their entire lives never giving this thought a single moment to flourish, but I've spent a lot of time these last few months really considering the fact that I am not perfect, and that I really do have so much to work on. Even though that's a daunting thought, it's also extremely motivating, and has encouraged me to really consider how I effect other people.
5. You may have made some life choices based solely on fear, figure out what that fear is, and extinguish it.
Yup, we've all heard it before, but as I turn 25 I realize how true it really is. The other day I was thinking about a seemingly insignificant event that occurred literally 10 years ago, and how that one singular event has dramatically shaped my future experiences. I let some insignificant thing that happened 10 years ago effect me today. That's crazy! I have nothing to do with anyone surrounding those events, and yet it still influences me. We need to take time and really consider our actions and emotions and why we have them and what's driving them. If we don't, we will continue to fall victim to our fears and let them run our lives.
6. You don't need to do what everyone else expects you to do, do what makes you happy.
As we get older we feel the pressures from outside sources, whether it be our friends, family, our social media accounts, or the like. We see people in our circle of friends get married, have kids, build cool sounding careers, and whatever else you can think of. What I always thought is that those people did those things because it made them happy, but what I've realized is they did those things sometimes because they felt as though it was the right thing to do, economically speaking, but it didn't necessarily make them happy. Find what actually makes you happy, try new things to see if they make you happy, and don't let anyone stand in the way of your happiness. Pursue the things that make your heart light and your head clear, those will be the most beneficial things you can spend time doing.
7. People will cut you down, expect you to fail, and treat you accordingly. Let the haters hate.
When I first started my photography business 5 years ago, I didn't have a lot of people in my corner cheering me on. Sure people in my social circle thought I was creative and artistic, but they also knew I was scatter brained, had a hard time finishing things I started, and really enjoyed doing things on a whim. So in their defence, okay maybe they were right to be worried, but at the same time there was also not a lot of support from them either. I look back now and laugh because I can't count how many times those same people who didn't believe in me have called me up asking for business advice, what they should do about X problem, and just asking for my general opinion before they make a decision. Let the haters hate, because eventually they'll come around to be your biggest fans, or they'll disappear from your life. Either way, you'll know who your real supporters are.
8. Don't be the next Britney, be the first Katie.
People might expect you to be the next big thing (like Christina Aguilera), similar to the last big thing (like Britney Spears), but it's my aim instead to be the first Katie (like Katy Perry). To be the first person to do what I'm doing, to do things in an innovative way that is meaningful to me, and to not worry about what everyone else is doing. When you stop worrying about everyone else, you free up so much time to focus on awesome things you can do instead! If you want the creative juices to flow, you've got to unblock them! If you consistently check other peoples websites, or Facebook profiles, or social media updates, you're wasting a lot of time worrying about other people, just stop it. You will be a much happier and well-balanced person if you stop comparing your behind the scenes to everyone else's highlight reels!
I think that about sums up the main points I've gleaned in the last 25 years, and I hope in some way what I've learned can help you to grow too! Stay tuned for some sneak peeks from January & February's sessions, and have an amazing week, you deserve it!