365 in 365- Kinda, Sorta, Let Me Explain

il_570xN.483656551_25qxAlmost exactly a year ago, I had decided to embark in an ambitious endeavor of completing 365 things 365 days. At the time, it was a creative way for me to continue to try new things while regaining a new life balance, something that was lacking in 2014. The original list was full of mini road trips, photography projects, wish list items and many, many, many random to-dos

Forgive me if this sounds cliche, but there is no other phrase that can describe why all of the items on the list did not get completed. The unexpected happened in my life early in the year, placing me on a winding path for the rest of the year. Instead of focusing on this list that was sure to bring me enlightenment, circumstances caused me to rise to the occasion at work, where I had barely been for four months. An unintended Master’s class was upon me, expanding my industry knowledge and skills sets in a baptism by fire way. Somehow I blinked, and 2015 is in the final stages. In total, 95 items have been completed on the original 365 list. Yet there is no doubt that over the past year, the amount of new experiences, purchases, projects and skills developed total that target number of 365.

doallthethingsWhile all of the items are not included on here, each one has impacted who I am. From discovering my uncanny ability to multitask high priority tasks, to exploring my strengths as a professional, the direction of my future is clearer now than I had anticipated it would be this time last year. In respects to my writing, in 2015 I have had 33 essays published including 20 syndicated pieces and 13 original. My mind is still reeling about that reality. The gratitude I have in my heart for the opportunity to share my stories to help others feel less alone cannot even begin to be explained. Personally, the items that were completed (both planned and spontaneous) served as additional crumbs of insight leading me the path of learning more about myself. Self acceptance and inner peace is still a daily struggle, but maintaining an undistorted viewpoint has become more manageable.

To check out my favorite moments of 2015, including a photo gallery, click here!

To check out a photo gallery of my favorite photographs that I’ve snapped in 2015, click here! 

To check out all of the 33 articles I’ve had published in 2015, click here! 

Below are the list of the 90 items checked off the list, as well as a few of the additions: Continue reading

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Lose Your Selfie in the Moment

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Why yes, I do own a #selfie sweatshirt.

Originally posted on Huffington Post on 9/29/15.

For anyone who knows me, their first reaction to this article is that it is being penned by a hypocrite. Rightfully so I am a notorious shutterbug and have been since the days of disposable cameras during junior high. At my parent’s house, there are shelves with albums containing photos taken from a mix of disposable cameras and early digital cameras. My photo obsession was escalated when I converted to the iPhone in 2011 and entered the wonderful world of selfies.

The iPhone may have helped me document the moment more efficiently, but not without consequences. Most noticeable, my borderline obsession of capturing the moment has caused me on multiple occasions to be removed from it instead. Perhaps this newfound awareness is divine inspiration because it became clear thanks to Pope Francis.

Watching the media coverage of Pope Francis’s visit to the United States began this reflection of ‘selfie’. Being in the presence of the most revered spiritual leaders in the world is one of those once in a lifetime, indelible moments, so it is understandable that there is a strong desire to capture the moment. While watching the Papal festivities on television, there were parts of the footage where Pope Francis could not be seen by the network camera because of the amount of tablets, phones and cameras being held up by spectators. Even priests that were seated by the alter snapped photos as Pope Francis performed the rites of the Catholic mass.

Keep in mind, these are the people who waited countless hours on their feet to meet Pope Francis, and are most likely devout members of the Catholic church, who believe He is the closest thing humans have to a Earthly connect to Jesus Christ (thank you 16 years of catholic school). After snapping one or two photos, the reverend thing would have been to put down the iWhatever and bask in the moment, especially if the leader of your faith is close enough to touch. All I could hear in my mind was the high pitched shrills from the outraged nuns that oversaw my catholic education, knowing that somewhere they are clicking their tongues in disapproval with their habitats all in a bunch. Continue reading