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A Look Back: 10 Years Ago

So much can happen in a decade. People grow. Interests fade. And yet, we march on. We connect with communities, nurture relationships and seek inspiration. In the spirit of the upcoming "holiday" associated with love, I'd like to remember a few events from 10 years ago that will forever inspire me to appreciate the people, places and things I love most.


In February of 2003, I went to England.

In fact, 10 years ago today I was waking up in another country for the first time.

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I had decided to take a semester off between junior college and university and, if I'm being honest, the opportunity to visit England with my aunt and nana was a big reason for that break. We were only going to be there 12 days, but I didn't want to lessen the excitement of travel by lugging along giant text books and prepping for make-up exams.

We visited every tourist spot we could find: Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Shakespeare's Globe, Harrod's, you name it. We also had a chance to visit family. My napa, papa, dad, aunt and uncle came to America by ship in the 1950's, but we still have family across the pond. Meeting some of them for the first time was definitely a highlight.

I'm sad to say that I haven't traveled outside of the United States since then -- not even to Canada or Mexico! We've had such a great time visiting places here in the U.S. and haven't really felt the pull from far away places -- yet. That said, we're in the process renewing our passports. We're always watching the travel deals and you never know when an overseas travel opportunity might present itself, right? Right.


I opened my first email from my husband 10 years ago.

This guy. I'm not sure that I've really written about it here, but my husband and I met online 10 years ago. Mmmmhmmm... that's back when we had dial-up, ya'll.

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I specifically remember heading to the lobby of our London hotel to check my email because I only checked it once the entire trip. I paid the nominal fee to use the computer, logged on and there it was: a match.com email from the man I would marry. A few short weeks after my return, we went on our first date and the rest, as they say, is history! We got married in 2008 (photo above) and have been attempting to live life to the fullest ever since. It's hard to believe that we met nearly 10 years ago, but I'm so glad we did.

Can we take a moment and raise a glass to the internet? People thought we were nuts to be searching online for love. Yes, we were young and everyone else was meeting in bars (I'm not even going to begin discussing the success rate of those encounters), but we gave it a shot... and it worked.


10 years ago, I had no clue how studying literary greats would shape my future.

If you told me 10 years ago that I would be reading and understanding Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales in Old English or delving into the authorial intent behind the works in Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem, I would have called you crazy.

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While I was taking a semester off from school 10 years ago, I was also preparing to finish up my English degree at California State University, Sacramento.

You must know this: I have terrible handwriting, I can't speak in public to save my life and I produce fairly crappy first drafts. However, I have read great works.

I learned more about Native American history through literature than I would have ever learned from a textbook. I had time to absorb both the classics and contemporary works. I studied authors who dedicated their lives to the appreciation of nature (they've had a profound influence, if you hadn't noticed).

I was also a writer 10 years ago. I wasn't paid for my work and the results of my efforts were often questionable, but I wrote everyday -- in notebooks, on the old Compaq, in the margins -- and I loved it.


It's amazing how much can change in 10 years, but what really strikes me is just how much remains the same. While there have been bumpy roads and uninspiring moments, I'm still exploring a love of travel, building a true partnership with the man I love and aiming to read and write as much as possible.

Here's to discovering what makes us happy and sticking with it!

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Your turn: How have you all changed in the last 10 years? How have you remained the same? What "loves" have you found that stand the proverbial test of time?


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Yosemite + Muir + Happy Links

Well, hello there! Things have been a bit quiet around here this week thanks to a whole host of offline business, but I wanted to be sure to introduce a new and improved version of the "A Snap + A Quote" series.I'm always stumbling across people, places and things that make me smile, so I'm adding them to the mix! Ready? Here it goes:

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"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir

Happy Links:

  • This great post from the No More Dirty Looks gals soliciting a clean cosmetics resource list from everyone on the internet.
  • C'est Christine's lovely postcard post from the Brooklyn Bridge, which is satisfying my inner bridge nerd.
  • A wonderful collection of bear photos over on My Modern Met (and pretty much every collection of photos on My Modern Met).
  • Bloglovin' as my new blog reader. So much better than what I was using before.
  • This incredible cabin renovation over on Smitten Studio, which is really making me want a fixer cabin. Stat!

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Happy Friday, all. I hope you have a lovely weekend!

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On Embracing our Differences: An Open Letter

Oh, friends…the time has come for me to beg and plead:Can we please stop judging the decisions of others? Please?

Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, we do it every day. It's so damaging and I find those of us with any insecurities can fall victim to the judging trap time and time again. That's where it starts, right? With insecurities? Then the negativity begins, people start lashing out and damn it, someone is going to lose an eye.

Let’s be very clear: you and I are not the same. That’s okay. We’re not supposed to be exact replicas of one another. Life would be so incredibly boring if we were! We are all different and the sooner we figure that out, the better.

I’d like to offer a few examples. You know, just to illustrate my point. These are not all-encompassing by any stretch (read: I could go on…), but they’ll suffice:

Travel

I’m choosing to travel now. Not later. Not when we retire. Not when we win the lottery. N O W.

Guess what? If you want to wait to travel, that’s completely up to you. I will never judge you for that. I’m sure you have your reasons and there is no doubt in my mind that they are solid, legitimate reasons. So, please…and I’m begging here…do not judge me for taking advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.

In the same vein, please don’t judge the way I travel.

We really love experiencing the good ol' US of A. This country has so much to offer in terms of natural beauty, vibrant cities, wildlife, etc. and we enjoy taking it all in. If you want to visit Fiji before you’ve seen the Grand Canyon, be my guest. I’m sure Fiji is beautiful this time of year. The Grand Canyon, however, is much higher on my travel list, so that’s where I’m going to go. Other countries are on my list, don’t get me wrong, they’re just not at the tippy top.

Sometimes when we travel, we rough it. Sometimes we go for the high-end option. Sometimes our plans fall somewhere in between. It depends where we’re going and what our budget will allow. That being said, why on earth would you think it’s okay to negatively comment on how much we spend (or don’t spend) on accommodations or activities? I would never comment on your travel plans in a negative way. Why? Because you’re excited to go and your plans clearly make you happy. If you’re happy, I’m happy for you. It’s really a very simple concept.

Babies

We’re choosing not to have any. Now, control yourselves….it will all BE OKAY. I promise.

This is a choice we have given much thought to and are currently super happy with. My guess is that it's similar to the happiness you feel with your choice to have babies. And good on ya! Children are amazing and I think those who raise children are just as amazing. I am so thrilled to see loving, responsible adults raise children. Many in my circle of friends and family are clearly happier with children than they were without them, which makes me so happy for them.

We have our reasons for not having children, but those reasons not up for negotiation. Just like your reasons for having children are not up for negotiation. Discussion? Sure. Negotiation? No. Judgement? Absolutely not.

It happens, let me tell you. We don’t judge you for having children, so please do not judge us or try to convince us that we're wrong. Who knows, maybe we’ll change our minds (doubtful, but we reserve the right), but isn’t that up to us?

At any rate, I’m fairly certain it’s not up to you.

Sidebar (because it needs to be said):

Please don’t be the gal who jumps in and starts talking about how my lady parts are aging and I should really get on that baby-making train. Never—not ONCE—have I opened the door to discussion regarding my lady parts. Speak to me about my lady parts without my permission again and we won’t be friends anymore. Got it?

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Please know that when I make big decisions in life, I do my best to make them with care and without malice toward others. Ultimately, I’m pretty happy with my choices and if things don’t work out, I’ll simply make a different choice.

I operate under the notion that you, too, are capable of making decisions with care and without malice toward others. I am certain that you are doing your best to make decisions in your life that you can be happy with. If you’re not happy and need make a different decision, you’ll get no judgment from me.

So often, we compare ourselves to one another in such superficial ways. We use yardsticks like travel, children, homes, education and careers to see how we measure up. When placed in the big picture that is life, however, these areas can hold very little value, especially if one is not happy with one’s own decisions. Additionally, there are very few right or wrong choices to be made in these areas (aside from moral/legal issues, of course). In fact, I'd argue that the words "right" and "wrong" are doing us a disservice here. One person’s right decision is another person's wrong decision. It's not about right or wrong, in this case.

It's about embracing our differences rather than judging each other for them. It's about being happy for those around us when they make decisions that enrich their lives. We’re all different and we choose to live life the way we see fit. And that’s okay.

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Disclaimer: The pronouns used in this post are not intended for anyone in particular. All pronouns were simply used as tools to convey a message about the general state of things.

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