ETA: I started writing this maybe a month and a half ago but never published it. Oops. I've also added some to it since then.
Today I got stopped by a cop. And I kept on going.
I'm pretty law-abiding, so let me back up and explain.
I'm too poor and broke (and cheap) to pay for parking, so I park by this lagoon near school that has free on-street parking. The only thing is you can't park there between 7:30 and 9:30 am since it's a main road, and it blocks "heavy" traffic at that hour. (Read: This town's got nothing on my hometown's completely packed 6-lane highways.) But if you get there by like 9:40 or 9:45 am, there's no parking left.
So I usually get there around maybe 9:25, and usually I just leave for work anyway. Not today. I stop and park before I realize, OH look. There's a cop staring straight at me, just waiting to give me a ticket. (Read: I'm not the brightest crayon in the box before about noon.)
So I put the car back in drive and kept on going. Only to park like maybe 100 ft further ahead. It turned out to be serendipitous.
On any normal day, I take the sidewalk surrounding the lagoon, making sure to avoid the massive piles of goose crap. Today I decided the shortest way to get to work was to take the path through the lagoon.
Maybe I should stop and pause more often.
I originally started Project365 to not only get myself acquainted with my camera and become a better photographer, but also to slow down and take a look at what's around me, to see things in a new light. To appreciate it. Lately, that hasn't happened, despite carrying a camera everywhere, as I sit here and cram and cram and churn and churn massive amounts of (non-)data for a conference.
Today was a good reminder that I need to stop and, really, just breathe more often. It was a good reminder about why I wanted to do this in the first place.
So I'm putting it down here. You know what they say, anything worthwhile bears repeating. Tell them what you're gonna tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them. Except I guess I'm telling myself again, ha.
Why did I start this project? Last school year, I was completely out of sorts and not myself. I was tired of feeling like that and decided it was time to fill my life with the things I thought I deserved. But for the longest time, I think I had started to take a lot for granted. Things that I just believed would be true the next day, and the next, and the next. I wasn't appreciating now. I wasn't applying any effort to treasure what I already had.
Stopping to appreciate the little things? The things that make everyday go tick? Definitely necessary, but all too easy to forget. And one of the intangible reasons that I couldn't even really define for myself then why I was doing Project365. Things always seem clearer in retrospect, ha.
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes
You just might find
You get what you need
--"You Can't Always Get What You Want," Rolling Stones
If you had asked me a year ago what my plans for the future were, I'd have given a very different answer -- but in some ways, that answer is still the same.
Slowly, my life is becoming so much more enriched and fulfilling than it ever was a year ago, and I am actually happier than I have been in a long time, despite the rough patches and the difficult journey I'm still going through. Before...I had become too content and let too many things slide. Now I'm realizing dreams and building boldnesses I never even had the faintest gossamer web of thought or ambition to do before. I'm beginning to question and challenge a lot more. But not only that, I'm seeking answers and feeling like I'm going somewhere, like I can make a difference. Sometimes it even surprises me, to hear some of the things I'm asking come out of my own mouth. (It amazes me even more when they happen!)
Some days I still feel like I'm trying to find and shape that new, improved version of that person I used to be. It's been a slow, painful year, filled with lots of learning experiences, and sometimes it still hurts. But slowly I'm rediscovering and redefining things about myself I can't ever believe I compromised for someone else -- and am definitely never going to take for granted again.