life is for the living and thats okay.

Do you have a faint recollection of World War III rumors taking place at the beginning of January? Or the hornet bees that were set to attack Washington state in early March?

The most often asked question of 2020 would have to be, "What's Next?"

The fact is things just keep getting thrown into the mix that couldn't be more unexpected.

This year has pushed everyone out of normalcy, out of their comfort zones, and has made everyone feel as though they aged 5 years in 12 months. But most of all 2020 has taught everyone to truly contemplate their life, which as you have probably guessed is what I'm going to do here.

if the opportunity presents itself, keep saying yes and pay attention to what you enjoy.

This year showed me more of who I wanted to become then I had ever experienced in my life. I suppose the blessing of 2020 was not being able to see anyone so I was able to refine my passions. I was able to take a large leap into photography and videography. Photography has always held a special place in my heart but 2020 brought more digital shoots and the entrance of film photography into my life.

The other surprise 2020 brought was videography. In March, Bobo (my brother & ocean obsessed human being) and I were tasked with making a promotional video for Olukai as a homeschool project, I had just gotten my camera and videography was something I hadn't done before. Making the Olukai video shed light on how videography might be a career one day. Throughout the year I experimented with all types of videography, but my favorite project in the Fall was making a series of "hype" videos and a full documentary, "A Boy's Journey; Crossing the Alenuihaha Channel".

Passion is real and tangible and if you pay attention to the things you enjoy and say yes along the way, that it is only a matter of time before all the pieces will figure themselves out.

its okay to not be okay

This lesson might be my favorite, 2020 has been hard and growing up is hard and realizing this year that "its okay to not be okay" has helped me a lot.

Instead of denying your feelings and acting okay, you can ask yourself some of the harder questions like, why am I feeling this way? Only then, once asking yourself the hard questions or even just acknowledging your feelings can you begin to move from the hard place. The movement may not happen right away, it could take 20 minutes or 20 years but by not denying how you actually feel you are on the journey of honesty and self exploration.

It can be hard to realize that your not in the best mental state, in the past I've felt guilty, like I should be okay or that I'm faking. But if you truly don't feel okay, that's okay!

you might have to be alone to truly be yourself

This past year I learned its good for me to grow, to be in uncomfortable situations, to let loose more, but its also good for me to step away sometimes and not feel guilty for doing so.

This year I learned that aside from just "liking" being alone, I learned I NEED time alone. In fact if I have alone time when I really need it I'll most likely come back a better person and be more enjoyable for the people around me.

For me, having a private moment throughout the day isn't just a want, its a necessity. And that's okay.

just give the problem space them come back to it and it just might solve itself

Lack of trust is one of the core issues of human nature and everything being tossed up in the air (2020) doesn't hep much. This year my family and I were set to go to Colorado for Christmas, we thought we might have to cancel due to Covid-19.

I tried this technique: "anti-festation" don't bother googling it, it's not real. Similar to manifestation, anti-festation is the opposite. This correlates to my take-away, because when I found out I might be stuck on Maui for Christmas (which you avid blog readers of mine know I don't love islands, particularly the one I happen to live on) I just told myself "I'm not going to Colorado".

The phrase, "I'm not...." turned into my most common (anti-festation) coping technique for potential disappointment. "Anti-festation" allows me to give space to feeling like I need something or I have to do it. It resets my expectations.

The point is that the best thing to do is make plans but hold onto them loosely and give your problem space and it just might solve itself.

& in case you were wondering, we did go to Colorado.

life is only worth the living if you decide to live it how you want to live it

Hasn't the biggest lesson this year been the realization that our lives are unexpected, our lives are messy & confusing, and our lives are upside down one day than right side up the next day.

But coming out of quarantine (stay-at-home-order) with the realization that above all, our lives are OURS, I set out to make my life MINE, something I have never really thought of doing before.

I recall my closing passage from last years end-of-the-year (2019 reflections) blog post:

"... I guess it explains why I've felt so free when I let go of the reins and I became who I wanted to be and allowed myself to grow. I started saying yes. I now know what i like and what i don't, i know my limit for bravery, i know what i believe in, who i love and who gets on my nerves, i know what i look good in and what i don't and more. After I realized I could freely accept myself as I was and quiet the voice of criticism on how I look or act."

Saying yes and getting out of my comfort zone were important for my growth at that point. I was coming into myself more and felt the freedom that I could even change from moment to moment if that is what I needed.The focus was more on how I looked and how I acted in front of people.

But this year I've learned some different but still valuable lessons that have less to do with confidence and more to do with living my life how I want to live. Working on my passions, taking alone time, working on my room because I enjoy the space. It goes even further from external personality and looks and now more to an internal place of thoughts and feelings and doing things for myself and not just for the benefit of what others may or may not think.

You make promises to yourself in a day in a lifetime. When you make a promise to workout or drink more water it can feel like the most important thing and you might even feel like tragedy may strike if you fail. But as you grow, your issues change and what you thought was the most important promise may change. Last year, my promise to say yes felt important for that moment and it was. This past year I do still say yes, sometimes, but there was no way I could have anticipated how anxiety crept up into my life. I guess life asks us to be flexible, and that's okay (things being okay does seem to be the common thing in this writing doesn't it ;)

Life goes fast, nothing is guaranteed and everything is unexpected, promises are made to be kept but are broken, all the perfect outfits, beautiful photos, or stunning scenery doesn't compare to being happy.

I need God to be happy, I need family and friends to be happy, I need passion and a purpose to be happy, I need beauty around me to be happy, I need hard moments to be grateful for the good ones and that helps me be happy, I need space and alone time to be happy, I need to trust to be happy, I need to pay attention to what I enjoy and when the opportunity presents itself I'll say yes, and that makes me happy, and I need to live my life how I want to live it to be happy. I don't have it all figured out, and there's a good chance I'll never have it all figured out but life is for the living and not having it all figured out, well that's okay.

dev (your internet bestie :)