Be Here Now

It's about time I got around to this post. The ironic part is that I've been really busy these last few weeks since my birthday on June 17th, actually out living life. I've often thought about how little I've actually been home. This is ironic because, well, you'll see.

I'm a big fan of setting an intention for the coming year, at each birthday. I often do things like this on new years eve, as well. I have tag lines/mottos that I use for each segment of time. Anyway, I'm sure I am not the only person who does this. This year I've decided that my intention is this: be here now.

I am also not alone in life when I say that I have trouble living in the moment. I'm always thinking ahead, so far ahead into the potential future, that I forget to appreciate the present moment. This also ties into my anxiety -- I get so busy thinking about potential things that could go wrong, that I forget to enjoy the moment, and appreciate what's right in front of me; as a result, I ruin the present moment, and thus future moments, too. It's a vicious cycle.

All this yoga I've been doing lately has reinforced just how important living in the moment is. That and, well, every other thing going on in my life. I'm not getting any younger, and I hate the feeling that my life is passing me by while I worry about things that haven't happened yet. That's why my intention for this year is to live in the present, to be mindful, to be here now.

My birthday this year was really wonderful. Probably the best birthday I've ever had. I started my day at a morning rave called Morning Gloryville, with my best ladyfriend, Meghan. It is the most positive, wonderful environment in which to ring in the day -- on a sober note, unlike, ahem, typical rave type activities. The best part is that it was also Morning Gloryville's birthday, which is incredible timing and really awesome and man, what a way to start a birthday (first two photos by Meghan!):

After this wonderful start to the day, I returned home briefly, then went and got a sandwich down the street, followed by a great birthday haircut with my stylist and friend Jessica at Headlights Hair Studio (go see her!):

Then, I returned home and opened a gift from Meghan, and Claude got involved:

Of course I was still doing the Runner's World Run Streak at the time (it just ended today, in fact), so I went out and ran two miles in the sunshine, up to Alamo Square Park and back:

Then, I went to lunch at my favorite neighborhood Thai place and was able to read a book while I ate. The amount of time I end up making time for to read a book these days is extremely limited, so it was really awesome to feel like I could do this.

Then we get to the really good part. My afternoon was filled with yoga and bike riding -- two classes, at two different studios, pretty much back to back, with bike rides in between:

After two yoga classes, I had plans to go to a film premiere later that night, but I knew I'd only make it to dinner at Don Ramone's (our favorite Mexican place) and that was absolutely fine with me. Every year I seem to make too many plans for my birthday, and the last one of the night always falls by the wayside, but this is the one day a year when I get to do whatever I want, without guilt -- so there's absolutely nothing wrong with this. At all. In this situation, I'd simply run out of time, and I needed to pick between dinner and the film. Duh, food won.

Anyway, I got home after yoga, and G was already there. I thought it was so nice of him to already be at home, in case we needed to leave right away for dinner. It turns out, though, that he had a completely different reason for being home as early as he was, and it had to do with a surprise birthday gift -- a birthday gift that completely shocked me into speechlessness (and everyone who knows me knows that I do not ever get speechless):

I've been working with an old, hand-me-down, half-broken camera for years now. I had the shutter assembly replaced in 2013 but it broke again in 2014, so I'd been shooting with the shutter button on the grip for two years -- with a heavily used, outdated 10-year-old camera body. I've been talking for two years about how 2015 is the year I need to upgrade, that I'm so nervous because I don't have a backup camera body to use at large events I'm shooting (weddings and conferences) and I'm in a lot of financial trouble right now, so I can't afford to upgrade. I haven't booked much in the way of weddings this year, nothing near the amount I'd need to be able to upgrade my camera body. These are things I've been saying for the last two years, but particularly this year. I had no idea he would do something like this, though, and I'm so grateful, I have no idea how to even express it.

I have a new camera body for the first time since 2008 and it has been amazing. I went out and shot flowers last week, and I've been shooting events without a flash that I'd never be able to shoot before. And shooting with the actual shutter button? Wow. It's the most thoughtful gift I've been given in a long time, so generous and I'm so, so thankful I have such a good person in my life right now. I am not someone who usually values material possessions, but since photography is my One Thing in life, the thing that I do, my art -- I get a pass for that. This was something I desperately needed but was unable to provide for myself for the forseeable future. What an incredible gift.

It was the best birthday I think I've ever had. Very different from the way I felt on my 32nd birthday. Last year, although I had a good birthday, I also felt very lost. I was still searching for pieces of myself to put back together. While I would not say that this year I feel perfectly reassembled, I've made great strides in putting my life back together, and I felt a peace and serenity this year that I couldn't really cultivate in 2014. This year, I want to focus more on those feelings of serenity, and peace in terms of my life and my self. The source of most of my emotional and mental struggles and anxiety continues to be dwelling on the future and the past. I don't want to miss the fact that my life is pretty darn good right here, right now -- the only thing that truly matters.

So ... wish me luck?


  1. Happy to be a part of your birthday! Love your outlook for the next year. So proud of you for getting to a really good place, despite all the obstacles the last year sent your way. Xoxoxo!

    1. I just saw this. Thank you so much. I am really trying <3 <3 <3


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