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Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy Birthday


I wrote this last Sunday. I arbitrarily looked at the calendar and realized it had been a year since I started this blog. I wasn't having a good day, as you'll see, I'll say that right of the bat. Do I feel this way now? No. Today is a better day. But I wanted to honor what I felt and what I wrote. So here goes....

Chapter 1

Happy Birthday to Austen Hill…..

My little project is officially a year old next Friday. I actually can’t believe it. I can’t believe I stuck with it, I can’t believe how happy it makes me, I can’t believe what it has become and I can’t believe all of the good things that have come from it.  I also can’t believe that I just typed believe wrong four times and auto correct fixed it. I don’t think I’ll ever learn. 

I’m writing this on my back deck. It’s warm out but I’m underneath an umbrella. I’m also a little sad. I find myself in a couple situations where life offers no road maps. I'm trying to navigate them as best I can, but the heart is a funny thing. I hope it knows best. I don’t know what will happen. I guess time will tell.

It’s also Father’s Day and I’m missing my Dad. It’s been a few years, so while I think about him every day, I don’t get as sad as I used to. That’s because of the body and mind’s amazing capacity for healing. But days like today are tough. Everywhere I look there are Fathers with their families and it feels like someone is taking a stick and poking me in the side with it. It hurts. I miss him. I miss saying the word Dad.

So why is any of this relevant to a birthday or a blog? Shouldn’t I be celebrating? I am. Despite what makes me sad today, more than any other time in my 34 years …..this year ……I have LIVED MY LIFE. It hasn’t all been perfect. There have been some amazing moments and some distinctively not so amazing ones. I’ve had major triumphs and firsts……low moments and dark days. But they have been mine. This is my story, no one else’s. It’s not my job to make other people happy and its not my job to make sure other people agree with what makes me happy.

Writing, taking photos, telling my stories - these are the things that in a very real way have finally made me whole. This week I’ve looked back through every post I’ve done and believe me there are some that make me cringe. In the beginning I had no idea what I was doing. I still don’t. If you thought I did forget I said that and keep reading. Post something every day! Not too deep, keep it light! Nobody reads anymore just post your pictures or they’ll get bored and move on! These are the things I told myself.

Then day-by-day I got more confident. I found myself wanting to not just capture moments with my photographs, but use them to tell a story- communicate the essence of something. Then I realized I had words inside of me that wanted to get out. My first post of the year was the catalyst for that.

I’m actually most proud of the posts that came from heavier moments like the Boston marathon bombings, getting a spring back in my step after a trip to New York, or thinking back to my first day of school. When I write about these things it feels like a weight has been lifted and I have room to fill up again.

I said to a friend recently that I’ve been safe all my life and I don’t want to be safe anymore.  This blog has helped me get there. Today, I finally have the courage to not be safe…… to reach for the unknown and hopefully move forward with a wild abandon that will make for even greater stories in the future. For the first time in my life I know that I will not get to the end and say I wasted any of the time given to me.

For this…and the part Austen Hill has played in it…I am grateful. Today I celebrate. 

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