I often hear people say that they feel their life is unsatisfying. Whether this discontentment stems from a job, a relationship, financial stress or the yearning to pursue their dreams without knowing where to begin, everyone seems to have something that is holding them back. In truth, I have felt this level of dissatisfaction, a feeling that my situation was not allowing me to live up to my full potential. I would be lying if changing one aspect of my life magically erased these concerns, in fact I'm positive that with most insecurities and worries, these will never completely diminish. Yet, when faced with the idea that I had been complacent for too long with the direction in which life was taking me, I knew I needed a change. I knew that in order to achieve what I defined as happiness, I had to create the life I wanted to live.
For as long as I can remember, writing and photography have been the constants that has allowed me to express myself. As I studied creative writing in college, I realized that this kind of artistic outlet helped me discover my internal thoughts and complexities. I find that with any situation, I can only understand the purpose and lesson it offered once I turn my thoughts into words on the page.
Photography has always been a way for me to hold onto moments. Life is fleeting, time is short and being able to grab an experience through my lens, makes me feel connected to that place, time or individual without limit. I started photographing people as an extension of my love for storytelling and wanted to be able to capture the beautiful, raw emotions of the human experience. In the most subtle way, my work shows the people, places and moments that I have loved, that I have lost, and what I hope to one day find again.
I was walking home tonight, a busy Saturday along the Seine with the Eiffel glistening in the background and thought, "I have to keep doing everything that I want to do." These past two months in this city has inspired me in ways I never thought possible -- it has pushed me to keep pursuing my creativity and has allowed me to realize how much I aim to achieve within these next few years.
If I have any knowledge to impart on those who are looking for change, it's this: you have to curate the life you want to live. Start with small changes to give your happiness a new perspective. Jumpstart your morning with a cup of a new flavor of coffee -- download music that makes you want to do nothing but dance around your room -- take a different way home from work -- buy yourself flowers or food or wine or a new pair of boots and indulge like you never have before. Deviate from the monotony you have become so accustomed to and embrace that there are little adventures in the everyday aspects of your life. Yes, you can pack up your bags and move somewhere new, you can quit your job, or you can sell your worldly possessions and travel the globe. You can do whatever you feel will make you happy. Just remember that contentment comes with knowing what you want, having dreams and pursuing them and making choices that allow you to become the person you want to be.
With small and careful steps, I have found a level of happiness through the art of writing and photography. I have found it through traveling to new places, meeting people of varying cultures and opening myself up to what the world can offer. I have found it through my first and forever love of music. I have found it in my relationships, ones that have ended, ones that have lasted and ones that I work tirelessly to maintain.
The level validity and acceptance you hope to gain will take patience. It will be work, it will be difficult, it will be a rollercoaster of emotions. Yet, in the grand scheme of life and time -- there is none to be wasted. Make the most of what you can achieve, embrace the beauty of the little moments and be conscious of what you want to come next. It may not always seem like it, but I can assure that one day you will wake up and realize that you are exactly where you need to be.