Out of all the years I've lived (almost a whole 19 now) I've never experienced quite a year like 2016. I was faced with many unexpected challenges, that pushed and pulled me into the person I am today. It was definitely a year of change. It taught me how to go with the flow and embrace the rapid change rather than flee from it and worry about it. Before I get too far into everything that happened, I want to run through a few highlights of 2016. Although there were many times I felt terrified of change, there were also so many points of growth and excitement. Personally, I think it would be so interesting to look back on this when I'm older as well as use it as a way to reflect on the positive. Although this won't be your cool/trendy/aesthetically pleasing post, this is my life, and it was crazy and beautiful and weird. So - HERE WE GO!
2016 has definitely been the year that I found my love for coffee, therefore I consumed WAY too much of it. I'm a caffeine dependent life form as pathetic as that sounds, but - I love it. Plus, the glorious thing about coffee shops it that they simultaniously provide me with great coffee and amazing human beings who are creating, working hard, and collaborating on ideas. SERIOUSLY. I can't comprehend how many people I've met and have been inspired by from just seeing them/talking to them at coffee shops. Sometimes I wonder if I'd still make these friend without coffee shops...(hah very funny, probably not)...but hey...the world may never know.
With all the caffeine in my system I definitely made many plans to go on road trips up to Northern Minnesota (Duluth, Two Harbors, Grand Marais) with some of my close friends. Although the places aren't new to me, they are completely FILLED with wonderful memories and give me an adventurous, go-with-the-flow, and "let's freaking do this!" attitude towards life. These are memories that will always bring buckets and buckets of joy to fill my heart and soul.
In April, I got the opportunity to travel to New York City with my band class (Yup. I'm a dork, I know). But it was the first time I have ever flown on a airplane. I was consumed with anxiety and anticipation of the trip, but once we were up above the clouds, excitement whirled around my head as I imagined all that we would do. Definitely will HAVE going back sometime soon.
One part of my high school career that felt HUGE and has a lasting impact in my memory is my senior year Film Production class. We had all of my creative, hilarious, and weird friends all together to create films about really whatever we wanted. I've got a lot of fond memories from that class. Mostly just because I've got the coolest/weirdest friends. The photo on the right is one I took of all of us the night after our last prom. We stayed up all night playing games and talking and decided to head to the beach and watch the sunset together. That is one of the lovliest little moments I remember from my senior year. Gotta love these people.
Another huge milestone in my life was finally graduating from high school, THANK THE LORD! Looking back on high school now is so weird. I loved meeting new people and I love learning, but the classroom environment and being in there for six hours a day was never my cup of tea. I was definitely the day dreamer, always zoning out in my own world, dreaming about traveling, photography, and new experiences. But I'm so glad I had a wonderful community to grow up in and feel nurtured and supported.
This year, in terms of photography, has been insane. I've learned so much more about it and I've challenged myself with new projects. I've also been incredibly blessed to meet so many amazing photographers and creators this year who've inspired me to keep pushing myself to get better and better everyday. I honestly don't know where I'd be without those people who were so tremendously encouraging and loving towards me. (Above is a photo I took from Sonshine Festival 2016, I got an opportunity to be on the photo team with about a dozen other AMAZING photographers who I got to shoot alongside with. It was such a cool and new learning experience.) I seriously CANNOT WAIT to see where 2017 leads me in my creative world!! WOO!
I also got to meet and reconnect with so many wonderful people, not all are pictured but if I could I TOTALLY would. This year I pushed myself (a lot) to make more connections and love people more genuinely for exactly who they are. I've learned how to not envy others or compare myself to others and instead be joyful and supportive in every situation. Worry and jealousy is such a waste of energy that could be put into actions of love.
Going along with all the changes and new experiences that have come into my life this year, one big one was a new job. I work at a cute little coffee shop near my hometown of White Bear Lake. It's fittingly named - Coffee Cottage. It's in a small house, attracts a lot of locals and regulars, and makes my heart warm. Although it's not some super trendy coffee shop in the city like I'd normally go to, it has a home-y feeling and has wonderful people running it. Working there has opened up my eyes to the simple ways that you can make someones day. It makes me appreciate the little things in life.
Yeah, I know that was a lot, but I seriously am so glad 2016 happened the way it did. Although there was a struggle, it was necessary to become the person I am now. I've become more confident, accepting, independent and hard working. I've learned that it's okay to not be "perfect," whatever that means. I learned to love my imperfections and know that that's what God made me to be, so I should just love it. I've learned to love the person I am and accept that I will always simultaneously be learning and making mistakes and THAT'S OKAY. IT'S LIFE. I am only human, but I will try to always be the best version of me that I can be.
- CHEERS 2016! -