On yesterday, I celebrated 40 good years on this here beautiful globe. I tend to celebrate the entire month. This time around, it's been different. It was a quiet celebration. Small moments meaning the world. I spent my day taking photos and riding around. I had Chik Fil A for lunch, because really, this is the 35th anniversary of my fifth birthday. The most asked question yesterday and today was "how do you feel?" My answer: amazing! I don't mind getting older. It's the younger years I look back on and am amazed that I made it this far. I'm truly thankful, content and blessed.
I decided yesterday I need to actually appear more on the blog. Photographers have a tendency to not always photograph ourselves. Or I've found I do so less now. But I still need to document myself and my life. So I started yesterday officially. Being in front of the camera teaches me about photographing others as well. Part of the day was spent on my favorite set of railroad tracks with a tripod and my 50mm lens and a remote. It was so funny as cars crossed the tracks and would slow down. I'm pretty sure someone stopped and took a photo of me taking photos of myself. I love this picture because it's blurry (faves) and we can see it as the road that's behind me or any way to look at it. In the coming years the challenge will be to also star more in my own art.
I wanted to do something different this time around. I've talked about lessons in love and life on previous birthdays. I still have the lessons and many of them hold true. It's just there are all these gray areas these days. I don't feel up to listing lessons. It seems the more I learn, the less I know. If you could locate all the fucks I have to give about non-important issues you'd likely be wealthy. Whatever fucks I haven't already wasted or spent have been allocated on myself, the important people in my life and my personal and business endeavors.
I'll venture out to say things get hazy and crystal clear at the same time. The things you most need to see and pay attention to present themselves. It's as if you see them for the first time.
So this year, I'm listing ten (10) of the most important moments in my life and in the next post I'll list 30 moments or things I'm looking forward to in this next decade.
10 Lovliest Memories + Moments
1. My grandparents. Man, I have stories upon stories with these folks. From road trips to Eutaw, Alabama and Atlantic City to driving across country to California. They provided me with the basis for how I see the world. I see the world through their vintage eyes and with their love. It was a blessing I couldn't have ever imagined. God knew. They gave this little girl a foundation to stand on - and now, more than ever I'm thankful for it.
2. Moving from Birmingham to The DMV. Two days before I left I was robbed. Then still gathered the money and pushed forward. My friend at the time bailed. I drove a uhaul with a car hitched behind it and with about $300 in my pocket. The job I wanted - offered me less and I turned it down. I found another one and well, the rest is history. But it was harrowing and I don't advise moving this way. However, I was trying to get to something better. I did. It taught me a lot about myself. I was 25 and crazy. Again, I don't recommend managing things this way. However, surviving it made me tougher, better.
3. Meeting this one man who managed to change my life and then set me on a course to be a better me. I'm thankful for his presence. Sometimes, people are there to help you move to the next phase of your life - whether you like it or not. I can honestly say he's played a key part in that transition. If you're reading this my dear Surly Curmudgeon, I love you and I thank you.
4. Working for the job I just quit. My last day at this job was a couple of days ago. I was able to meet amazing people, learn, become emotionally and spiritually stable, care for an ill parent, find sure footing, met friends who became family, re-ignited my creative side + my interest for photography and this job led me to the man in #3 and then to the new job that begins on Monday.
5. Visiting Nigeria. That was the moment I knew I needed another camera. I cried when I left. I wanted to stay, explore and find out what the land had to tell me. Omowale - the child has come home. Dont ever let anyone tell you that you don't need to visit Subsaharan Africa. You do. As a Black girl, there's something about being able to touch down on the continent and spend time there. You're never the same again.
6. Buying a camera. This goes without saying, but purchasing this little Canon T3 completely changed my life. It gave me something to look forward to doing. It's given me an additional way to showcase the beauty in the world, capture memories and even create them. It makes me want to get to places just to see them and bring them back with me. It's helped my writing and it allows me to show others the world through my eyes without saying a word.
7. Starting a blog and putting my work into the unisphere. About four years ago, I started my first blog that I was actually willing to share. I had started others, but wouldn't dare tell anyone about them. It was time. I was calling myself a writer - I just wasn't writing. Writers write. Part of that may only be for ourselves. I selfishly need to write. It helps me work many things through. I return to something I've written and am amazed at the insight on the page. I've had times I needed a good word to get me through and returned to my own writing and it helped me. Here's the thing - putting it out there and connecting with others helped me make new and amazing friends, connect with other creatives and has encouraged me to greater things.
8. Went to counseling. Without waxing poetic too much, I'm an advocate of fully caring for yourself. Physically and mentally. I knew 40 was coming and I wanted to avoid the "wigging out" that I've seen many go through. So, when life decided to crash around me at 37 I decided it was time. Those few months of heading to counseling made all the difference. It helped me fix parts of my foundation where there were leaks versus thinking I needed to burn the house down.
9. All of those seemingly ordinary moments we tend to take for granted. Sitting with friends and having coffee. Laughing with loved ones who are no longer here. I miss being able to see my grandmother and take her for pizza. Being able to sit in comfortable silence with someone you love. Reaching for my man from across the bed and wrapping myself around him as he sleeps. Clean sheets. Fresh, hot coffee. Ice cold sangria. Perfect lasagna. A good night's sleep. Sunsets. Sunrises. Waterways. Alleys. Vintage things. Babies. Puppies. Kittens. Kisses. Tight hugs. Good Indian food. Sweet potato pies on porches. Long drives with no destination. Ice cream in random places. Incense. Candles. Snow. Ice. Raindrops. Hot showers. Expensive soaps. Station wagons. Road trips. Music. Walks. This list alone could be endless. It's all of the sweet and ordinary moments that create our lives. Those times we tend to ignore but shouldn't. I'm thankful for those.
10. Turning 40. It's been such an amazing ride. Talking with my parents we all marvel at the general atrocities life throws at you and have been amazed at the grace of God. I look back and the only thing that helps me add up how I've managed to survive is God's grace. That's it. I mean sure, I've made a few good choices in my life, but without God I can't say anything would have come of my life. Each of the moments above I attribute to Him (Her if you feel better about it).
Well, here's to more of doing what we love and creating the moments that make our lives a good one. Sending you love!