Turning 32.

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Today I turn 32.

It’s been an interesting journey, this aging process. On the one hand, I’m maturing–becoming more ‘adult-like,’ if you will.

Learning how to grow a business, how to properly file my own taxes, how to be an independent woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. Learning how to be a conscious consumer and a compassionate friend and a source of strength for those in need.

And on the other hand…

Through the process of healing old emotional wounds, I’m returning to my inner childlike essence. The place that, if I’m being really honest, feels the most like home. The most like truth.

The person I was when I was young, I believe that’s the real me.

Fun-loving. Insatiably curious. Creative. Willing to try new things without the shackles of fear.

Before the world began to impose itself on her sensitive heart.

She’s been begging to come out and play for a long time now, and through the hours of therapy, stacks of journals used to make sense of this thing called life, and a lot of patience and grace…

I can feel her presence. It grows stronger by the day.

With every deep belly laugh, every night spent gazing at the stars, and every evening at home spent dancing all by myself, the girl I’ve always known I could be is taking up more and more space within me.

Through a process of allowing, we are becoming one in the same.

Powerful woman, loving child. Moving with purpose. Falling into surrender.

The things once loved so dearly by my inner child, they are returning to my life in unexpected ways–ways I don’t immediately recognize until a memory flashes through my mind, a glimpse into the past I’ve worked so hard to forget.

Photography, well that has been one of the more obvious ones. A passion that I brushed aside in favor of things I deemed more important, more practical by the time I reached my teens.

I’m enormously grateful that at the age of 32, I’m finally able to call myself a professional photographer. I’m enormously grateful for the work that has allowed me to return to this place of authentic creation and connection.

It gives me such joy to capture a moment in time. To pack so much beauty and emotion into a rectangular frame.

I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to be doing this all along. I see successful photographers on Instagram who’ve done just that, starting their careers right out of high school.

I feel the pangs of jealousy and regret. They fade fairly quickly. But they’re there.

So then I gently remind myself that the journey, my journey–painful though it was–was necessary for me to bring forth the gifts that only I can share with the world.

This blog, for instance, surely wouldn’t exist if I’d become a photographer at a younger age. I may never have discovered my passion for writing. For travel. For languages. For self-love.

I’m grateful that through this process of healing, I’m learning ways to help others heal. I’m grateful that my experiences can inform and inspire others, that my words can land softly in people’s hearts when they need these messages the most.

To help another see their own beauty and come to their own place of self-acceptance, there’s really no better feeling in the world. This work, together, is how we create change; shift the paradigm; bring forth the gifts with which we’ve been endowed.

The little girl I once was, I can only thank her for enduring what she endured in order for me to become the woman I am becoming. I can only do my best to heal her; to help her transmute those painful memories into something far greater and more powerful.

A healing elixir for all those that she, that I, that we, come into contact with.

It’s the only way to honor the past–by using it as a tool to create a better future for us all.

I turn 32 today.

I don’t believe in regrets, but I do believe in forgiveness. Forgiving myself has become a daily practice, a part of my self-love ritual. It’s the only real way I’ve discovered for moving forward and leaving behind the trappings of the ego.

When we do things that feel regrettable in the moment, they are born from a place of ego. A place of fear.

But knowing that we are not this ego, that we are beings of love and not fear, how could I possibly stay angry?

I’m grateful that I’ve learned when and how to let go. To forgive myself for not knowing what I didn’t know. To allow the journey to be equal parts painful and joyful, because we can’t know one without the other.

We can’t appreciate the highs without first experiencing the lows.

And I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t care for an experience that was only half as rich.

We are here to learn compassion. This is one thing of which I am certain–one thing I know to be true after 32 years of life on Earth.

We can’t well have compassion for others when we are lacking compassion for ourselves. Take forgiveness and compassion together and now we’ve really got something beautiful. Something worth sharing.

As I turn 32 today, I’m still learning to love myself.

I’m learning to take who I am each day, look her right in the eye and say:

“You are enough. Exactly as you are in this moment. I love you.”

Never perfect. Always changing. Always making new mistakes that beg new forgiveness. Always choosing growth.

Choosing love over fear.

I don’t know what the rest of my 30s will hold, but if they’re anything like these first few years, I’m in for one hell of a ride.

I’m beginning to understand just who and what I am, and all that I am truly capable of in this petite little human body. Heart and mind linked to the cosmos. Bare feet planted firmly on Mother Earth. Soul ever expanding.

As I grow older, I’ll continue to mature, all the while continuing to integrate the real me. The child that knows only love and desires only to LIVE in love.

As my business expands, so does my heart, inviting in a sense of lightness and playfulness and ease.

I’m learning that my truth and my story matter and that the world needs people who are open enough to let the light in.

It feels good to turn 32 today.

The journey is an honor and there’s no one else I’d rather be.

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