The best gift I could think of giving myself this year was living in the present. Okay, cheesy I know! But it’s true. My entire life… well since I was 10 to be exact, I’ve always been in between lives. I was pulled and pushed between my past and my future. I’d be lying if I said I don’t have those thoughts any more, but I’ve been proactively trying to live in the moment.

As a child my thoughts were flooded with the happiest childhood memories, but suffocated with “what if thoughts”. As a teenager my hustle stemmed from wanting to find a career that would allow me to be financially stable on my own – with a schedule that would be best for raising a family. Who thinks of that at 17? I did. As a young adult I luckily found my calling as a photographer and kicked ass every day to make that dream a reality. Every decision about my daily life was influenced by potential opportunities to meet new people, gain business education and take baby steps towards the future wedding venue.

My mind, heart and emotions were always torn between the past and the future. Like an old VCR player constantly on pause reflecting on memories and wanting so badly to fast forward like Adam Sandler in that stupid movie, “Click!”

Well as I’m getting older, gaining confidence, and relentless gray hairs keep popping up I’ve made a conscious decision to give myself grace. My past helped shaped me and my future looks bright, but neither define me.

With this milestone birthday I’m embracing thirty as a thriving, healthy and hopeless romantic. Now, I’m not the kind to jump out of air planes or crazy adrenaline rushes like that, instead I prefer taking risks like stretching one more day out of my creamer before it goes bad or pretending to be Carrie Underwood, singing “Jesus Take The Wheel” when my car is still on empty, 3 miles from a gas station!

So… to kick off the thirty and flirty celebration I treated myself to a boudoir shoot! Ginny of Retrospect Images treated me like a goddess as I stepped out of my shell to capture these images of me. Not the girl I used to be, not the girl I want to be 20 lbs less… but ME! It’s funny because as I was taking these I was so anxious to share them. So excited to share with the world my confidence, my power and self acceptance. But the more I look at them, the more I love them for myself. So for now they’ll be safe on my hard drive and printed in a small album in my top drawer. A gift for me. Yup, this is thirty.

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