Shortly after I turned 25, I heard the news that an old friend from high school drill team had passed away. That day I posted this statement:
"If there is one thing that Emily taught the people in her life, it's to live life to the fullest no matter what obstacles come your way. Emily, you serve as a true inspiration to all of us to make the most of what we have while we are still here on this earth. Life is too short to not live a life you love. Rest in Peace."
If only she could know how she her inspiration has lived on past her death, how she has changed my life for the better!! Emily, thank you so much. I miss you dearly.
I wasted no time in starting to really live life. I've always been a goal oriented person, but I wanted to make sure I really followed through, I wanted to make sure that my wants and dreams weren't just "some days.." that, I was actively making them become realities. That month I started pursuing my desire for photography.. I consider this such a work in progress. I don't know if there's a photographer out there who isn't constantly learning something to improve their craft, but I'm happy with how far I've come, I'm happy getting to meet the people I wouldn't have otherwise met, and I still LOVE what I'm doing more than ever before.
Late in October I completed my first Triathlon. As a person who had never had formal swimming lessons, and who was a self-proclaimed "non-runner", this was a huge deal for me. The icing on the cake was that I got to accomplish this goal with a friend. It was such an amazing feeling to be standing at the finish line with her, metals draped around our necks, and smiling like crazy because we had trained hard, and finished!!
|Me and My Husband out celebrating|
December rolled around and we got the news. He had been offered a job in San Antonio... the only problem? We had leased our apartment until March, and I had commitments to my employer in Dallas that needed to be met. Yet we knew.. this was our chance at moving forward with our lives. December flew by, and before I knew it my husband was gone, lucky enough to room with some friends in San Antonio, while he started our next chapter.
The next few months were difficult. In the 5 years we had been together, we had never spent more than 2 weeks apart, and now we would be living 300 miles apart for 3 months. I took the time apart to focus a little more on myself. I focused on researching nutrition, eating right, and different exercises to help myself be healthy so that I can live a long life. Adam and I have made to commitment to Eat Clean, and stay active. The benefit? I have been able to not only drop a few pounds, but I'm able to maintain a weight that I previously hadn't been at since 2006. It feels good to know that the food choices I am making a conscious effort to make will help me stay healthy!
In March I turned in my resignation and packed up the final things in our apartment to make the big move. Although I had been looking, I hadn't secured a job in San Antonio yet. Little did I know, that I would go the longest I have ever been without employment in my adult life. Talk about difficult months. Nothing shatters your confidence and self-worth like not being able to find a job, and not knowing when you will get your next paycheck.
Moving away from friends and family taught me me so much about relationships. I was worried that I would be out of sight and out of mind.... and for some people I was. The great thing I learned was that people who care about you make effort. No one in Dallas could easily come over just to hang out, but man, there were texts, and phone calls, and FaceTime, and Skype. People who want you in their life don't forget about you when you move away, they make a choice to try harder to keep you in their life. It might not be easy, but you just make it work. Your family is always your family, and mine was supportive and encouraging during this whole process... and they have been my whole life. I am so thankful for the people that care about me. I love y'all so much.
With all this new free time I had on my hands, I decided to become more financially aware. With only once income again, we had to be on a budget. Sometimes I would spend the whole day reading personal finance blogs! But I am most proud to say that for the first time in my adult life, I have a net worth. Merging our bank accounts, switching to a credit union, applying for no interest credit cards, all took a lot of work. Staying on budget is a constant effort. These are choices we have made. No doubt have there have been sacrifices along the way. It is so exciting that by the end of this year we will have eliminated our remaining consumer debt (excluding my car lease), and moreover, we have a healthy savings in progress to go towards the purchase of our first home. Being financially responsible feels good. It feels so ADULT.
Throughout the summer I had my first REAL interviews, up until then had somehow skated through life without having to undergo a serious one! There were good and bad experiences, but In July I was relieved to find out I secured a position in a small family-owned company in San Antonio.
In August I became apart of the local RAW Artist community, participating in my first Art Show for Photography, and selling my first framed work. Exciting to know that being a photographer was more than just a dream. It was happening. It definitely wasn't just falling in my lap, I had to go out on a limb, take chances, I had to pick up and shoot my camera daily, I had to make effort if I wanted photography to be my reality. This past year I have participated in shooting at 4 weddings, have done multiple portrait sessions, and have taken way too many pictures of my cats. But guaranteed it was an unforgettable year because I have all these memories digitized with photographs.
Back to present day, and I'm still working on self improvement. I am learning that there are things in life outside of my control, and I'm learning to let go of hurtful things and people. I'm trying to focus on being real, on compassion, and if you ask my husband, he'll say I still could use a little work on my patience! ;) It's difficult to break old habits, it's difficult to get out of rut. But it's not impossible. At the end of the day, your choices are just that, YOUR choices. And if there's one thing I know it's that If it's worth it, it's never easy.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the 25th year of my life. You have in some shape or form made me who I am today.
I look forward to next year, when I can write about the fabulous adventures of being 26.. for now, I'm not taking any days for granted, I'm watching every San Antonio sunsets that I can, and mostly I'm living the life I want, I'm being the person I want to be.
If you read all the way to the end, give yourself a high five.. and leave me a comment! Any life advice for my 26th year?