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  • Don’t underestimate chance

    Don’t underestimate chance

    I have always been an overthinker and an intense planner. There was a point where I would plan everything to the minute. I thought by doing this; I was being productive, proactive, and efficient. 

    One day, I figured out that planning was detrimental to my days, vacations, and ultimately my life. When you over plan, you eliminate the element of chance. I have learned how strong chance can be for your life and how it can blossom into something bigger and even more beautiful.

    I found this to be true when I went on a trip to the United Kingdom. I have always been an intense planner when I have traveled. As a photographer, I would plan when to go out to shoot, the times, the locations, and I would constantly check the weather. I would plan where I would eat, who I would see, and what activities I would do. But, this trip was different, and it turned out to be a crucial life lesson for me as an overthinker. I got my ticket only one week before I was going to leave. This was the first spontaneous trip I had done. I also went alone, which was the first time I traveled alone. This trip was full of firsts for me, which was honestly a little scary at first. 

    Now, I have no idea why I did not plan anything. I am unsure if it was because I had no one with me, and everything I did was entirely up to me? But, I did not plan a single thing besides my hotel in London. But everything else was random. I would wake up in the morning and walk in one direction. I would get breakfast at a new restaurant every day. I have no clue how I even chose the restaurants. I guess I just stopped when I got hungry. When I would feel like I wanted something new, I would hop on a train and get off randomly and explore that area I got off on. Some days, I would want to go further than London, so I would go to the train station and ask the workers where a good day trip is. They told me to go to Brighton Beach and Bath. So I went to Brighton. When I got there, I decided I wanted to stay a little bit longer than a day, so I got a hotel for a night. The sunset was fantastic that night. The next day, I noticed Bath was on the way back, so I stopped there and stayed there overnight. Nothing got in the form of what I wanted to do on that trip.

    I loved not having a plan because nothing dictated what I did. The weather did not stop me. The distance did not stop me, and because of not planning where I went, what the weather was, and where I would take photos and eat, I could discover things I wouldn’t have found if I had a plan. I won’t have had new restaurants if I have done research beforehand. 

    I felt calm on this trip. There was no pressure as if my plan was interrupted by the weather, long wait times, and long rips. Everything that happened on that trip just happened. 

    Without taking risks and breaking your plan, you won’t experience chance. Sometimes the best things happen when they are unplanned or unexpected.

    Enjoy some of the photos from this trip. They are both taken from my film cameras and digital cameras.

  • How do you find your passion

    How do you find your passion

    When people say, “I have always wanted to be a doctor,” did they always know that is what they wanted to do? Is it their passion? Is it convenient? Or did they have some passion surrounding them to push them towards that path?

    For example, I believe deep down, I always knew what I was passionate about, but it needed to be developed and discovered through trial and error.

    I majored in marketing in college and have had three marketing jobs in the last three years. What made me even choose marketing? Part of me thought it was because of the connection to psychology? Ironically, every job I have had made me like marketing less and less. Through all those jobs, I reflected on how I have always been an empathetic person who loves to help others, listen to their struggles and stories and provide a helping hand. Whether this was helping family, friends, or even strangers, I enjoyed the feeling when I was doing this. I would consider this my passion; this is something that fills my mind with happiness and makes me feel whole. I also love learning about the brain, thinking patterns and hearing stories of people who overcame trauma, mental challenges, etc. I hope that my passion for caring for and helping others, learning about the brain, the mind, and mental health techniques will lead me to a career where I can be fulfilled and passionate about.

    With that being said, I am in my Master’s program to become a Mental Health Counselor. I did not know I wanted to do this, but it was established through my career paths, interests, and passions.

    One last thought: throughout school, most people go towards the subjects they are good at and have good grades in. People say that if you are good at math, why don’t you look at accounting majors or schools? If you’re good at science, why don’t you look into engineering or physics programs?

    I wish schools did a better job at looking at more than just grades. You never see teachers say, “You are killing it in Orchestra” Are you interested in doing something in the future with music. You are great at art, why don’t you consider going to art school. It is because these subjects seem unrealistic from a carrier standpoint. They are taken as electives….” Easy A’s” So when you do good in them, people expect that.

    This led me to a couple of questions that I would love to hear from the community.

    Is passion innate, or do you need to develop that passion over time?

    How do we push people to follow their passions more? Does it start with parenting? Teachers?

  • An unexpected journey

    An unexpected journey

    If you do nothing today, tomorrow will be exactly the same.

    I am not sure where I heard this, but I was compelled to write it down. I did a lot of reflecting on this statement and what it means to me. One thing that keeps coming to mind is the perpetual habits that we can easily fall into. Especially in today’s society with the typical 9-5 job, it is very easy to fall into doing the same thing every single day.

    After writing down these words, I want to make it my goal never to do nothing. I know it sounds funny. But when I have a couple of minutes, an hour, or a long period of no plans, I quickly see myself aimlessly scrolling social media. In my opinion, that is the equivalent of me doing nothing.

    Today was good, and I saw a gap in my day. It ended pretty early, and work was prolonged. As a photographer, I always think when I do nothing to go shoot. Yet, I always talk myself out of it. I am not sure if it is because I need to drive somewhere, use effort. Although, after reading this, I don’t want to do nothing. I want to occupy my brain and be productive.

    So from this point on, when I am questioning whether or not to do something, my only rule is to do it.

    And that is what I did today. It was beautiful out. I was tired though, I did not want to drive, but I wanted to take some photos. So instead of doing nothing, I went out and drove east for a little bit.

    I can tell you that if you do something instead of nothing, you will have no regrets and feel fulfilled.

    Here are some photos from today.

    Tattoo shop in Carnation, WA
    Orange car in Carnation, WA.
    Bridge in Carnation, WA
    Local shop in Carnation, WA
    Cascade mountains and bridge from Carnation, WA
    Spring time house in Carnation, WA
  • Spark kindness

    Spark kindness

    We are in the process of moving right now, and we packed up all our coffee supplies. So every morning for the last couple of days, I have been going to Starbucks for coffee and sitting down as I drink it. I rarely sit down and take my time in coffee shops near where I live. Especially since COVID. It is something I want to start doing more and more. 

    Sometimes when you are in public, you can realize how beautiful the world is. When I am in public, I notice friendly conversations, people complimenting each other, holding the door open for one another, and good customer service.

    Story 1: One starbucks employs a kid with special needs and every customer that has walked in has said hello to him by his first name, asked him how its going and everyone is so friendly. I saw customers holding doors in for one another, a new employee charged someone incorrectly, the customer just said “do not worry about it and keep the change”. When I see interactions like these I have hope, it makes me happy and it makes me want to spark kindness.

    One day later, in a Starbucks in the same area I see the complete opposite, I saw bullying, and rude customers.

    Story 2: The other day, I was at Starbucks at 7:00 AM and took a seat to have my coffee. Another customer walked in and ordered a croissant, and the croissant was not done to his desired speed and likeness, so he started cussing out the employee. As the only other customer in the store, something came over me to stick up for the Starbucks employees. Maybe it is because my fiance used to work at Starbucks and other retailers, so I know how they are treated from time to time. I said, “okay, the croissant may take longer, but they have all the ovens full with mobile orders, so you need to wait your turn quietly.” He continued to swear at them. At this point, I became very agitated and said, “I do not care how bad your day is going right now. I promise you that you’re making these baristas’ days much worse. If you are in such a rush, take the croissant cold, go home, and warm it up in a toaster.” In the grand scheme of things, the wait for the croissant should not have impacted how you treat Starbucks’ workers. There are ways to complain nicely and appropriately.

    If you see something like this in public, at a retailer, coffee shop, or restaurant, please stick up for these people. These people deal with actions like these every day, and they are just expected to react calmly and please the customers. I promise you that saying something or simply being kind and friendly to these workers will make you feel better and spark kindness and hope. 

    At the end of the day, when I see pleasant interactions in public, I am very hopeful for humanity, I am in a good mood, but when I see incidents like this, I feel hopeless and defeated. This is a message to all, kindness is contagious, and it spreads. Just be kind.

  • A message to the education system

    A message to the education system

    Since I have been writing out more of my thoughts lately, I have figured out my productivity and ability to think, depending on my location. I love Springtime. When it is cold and sunny simultaneously, I have realized I can think clearly and be productive when I am outside.

    Ever since I graduated college in 2019, I have had these ongoing thoughts about education. I am not here to bash the education system, teachers, or school programs. I genuinely believe in school and education, and it can get you to where you want to go in life. I have had incredible teachers who have motivated me and guided me to success and have bad teachers. There are some things about the system from my experience and learning stories from others that I do not believe in, and I think there need to be more actions to address these issues.

    I went to a four-year college, majored in marketing, and now work full-time in marketing. I do not regret going to school, I think everything happens for a reason, and my journey guided me to where I am now. Although I wish I got some different lessons for how much money I spent on my education. I want schools to do a better job of making it a priority to educate students that there is more to life than just graduating college and getting a good-paying job. I would argue that is just a bonus to your education. Instead, I wish they spent more time explaining what to look for in companies, explained work-life balance, company culture, and that it’s sometimes better for your mental health to do what you want and not chase a paycheck. I took a career locator test at the career counseling center in my third year of school. This is a test where they take your hobbies, skillsets, major, GPA (If that even matters), and interests, and it renders some suitable careers for you. After I took this test, it showed the potential salary ranges.

    After seeing the salaries, I tended to want to shoot for the titles with higher wages as I felt like that was what would matter. That’s what I did. For the first two years, I was out of college, I felt like all that mattered was how much money could potentially be made. I was working full time and trying to do as much freelance photography as possible. But I found out that I could be making so much money but be working 50-60 hour weeks and find myself extremely unhappy. This is what I see most of my peers do, they are so happy that they are making a good living financially, but their mental health and happiness are failing. I wish the concept of mental health and happiness were discussed more in career longevity rather than pay. You hear it, “Amazon is a great company to work for!” Is it great because of the income or the benefits, work-life balance, etc.? Another common one I hear is people working in the creative realm or the mental health world. “Are you sure you want to do that? I hear it does not pay well.” These comments lead people down unhealthy paths in their careers, but the job that may not pay as well would keep you the happiest and the most fulfilled.

    I also think school systems need to treat everyone equally and not determine your worth and work ethic solely based on your grades. Someone very close to me is a talented videographer and filmmaker. He went to a four-year college and got into film school. He has a learning disability that requires more time to take tests, turn in assignments, etc. Due to his learning disability, he did not test well, which hurt his overall grades. Despite this fact, he was able to go on and get internships with an NFL team, Fox News, and other media agencies. Unfortunately, that did not matter because he did not test well. He got kicked out of film school and needed to switch his major to general studies. The good news is he went on to graduate and now has been working full time for an NFL team for five years and has his own Youtube channel on the side. Even though this person has more skills than most people in his primary class and more experience, it all came down to what the final grade was on the paper.

    I hope we get to a point where we will start paying more attention to raw, natural skill set and experience rather than a letter grade because that letter does not matter AT ALL in the real world. I hope we get to the point where we start educating students on the best way to maintain and enhance mental health while choosing a career.

  • Embrace change

    Embrace change

    I have lived in the same place for 25 years. I have been feeling in need of some change for awhile now. I feel as in order to grow and evolve as human beings we need some sort of change. For me that is finally moving to a different city.

    Though I have never done it before, the idea of moving feels right to me. It feels like it will give me a fresh start, a new perspective. It can give me the opportunity to see new places, try new foods, be in a different climate, and adapt to new challenges. This is what I need in my life right now.

    Don’t get me wrong, Washington is amazing, I love the water, the mountains and the fact you get every season. Even though, I love it and this is my home, I still crave change.

    Sunrise at Rattlesnake Lake
    Sunrise at Rattlesnake Lake
    North Bend, Washington
    Alki Beach at Blue Hour
    Blue hour at Alki Beach
    Seattle, Washington

    I am not going to lie, I am pretty scared to move. But my excitement is outweighing my fears.

    My Fiance and I go on a lot of little trips to different cities throughout the year. On these trips we have so much fun, they are usually just a long weekend, but we are always sad when we need to go home.

    Ever since we started doing these trips, it is all we have wanted, to move, to start fresh, to learn new things in a new place, to meet new people and to just grow. I am very thankful I have found a partner who is as interested in growing, trying new things and seeing different perspectives. It gives me a sense of security when going on this journey with her.

    So far the planning proccess has been really fun, but also stressful. We are selling a lot of our stuff, and paln on using the money to send the belongings we want to keep.

    Photo at Calder’s Flamingo
    Calder’s Flamingo
    Photo of Chicago Skyline in Black and White
    North Avenue Beach Pier

    Out of all the places we have been, the one that we love and always bring up and reflect on is Chicago. We love the energy, the people, the architecture and so that is where we are planning on going in just about 5 months. When people find out we are moving there they always ask “Why Chicago?” “Can you handle the cold?” “Why don’t you go somewhere warm?”. To be honest, we are nervous about the winters, and who knows if we can handle the cold? But, who really knows anything like that unless they try. I would be more dissapointed in myself if we turned down change like this because we are nervous about the unknown rather than just going in and trying. It is one of those things that I cannot explain well, besides the fact we just love that city.

    We are not moving because of a job, family, or any other reason, we are moving simply because we want to and we feel like it’s the change we need. I think this is why a lot of people get confused why we are moving, because most people move with a more concrete reason. But us, we just want to, and we are happy and excited about it.

  • What is the rush?

    What is the rush?

    I have been in a learning frenzy lately, and I don’t know how it started. My friend told me to listen to a podcast by Dr. Andrew Huberman, and from there, my mind has just been constantly on the move. To be completely honest, I love it. There is something extraordinary about learning things when you want to know them versus being forced to learn them like in school. 

    That being said, I wanted to start a blog where I share my uncommon perspective on specific topics. My goal is for this blog to be a place where I can align my two passions being, mental health and photography. I feel like photography can help drive a message and add to the narrative I am trying to share. So I thought, why not try and connect the two? 

    Crossing a busy street

    Today, one thing that came up in my thought process was our society and its constant “rush” culture. We rush to work, eat our lunch; we rush conversations, our breaks, sleep, and much more. There seems to be this constant need to overachieve in what we do, weather that be school or work, I feel like all this leads to is burnout and unrealistic expectations. I realized that is never something I have ever done. I used to think it was terrible because I did not always overachieve in my job, did the bare minimum in my day of work, or not pull an all-nighter to finish a paper for my graduate program. After some thinking, I have come to terms with the benefits of not being that person who “overachieves” or makes things more complicated than they need to be. I have started to find the joy in taking my time and doing things at a comfortable pace without the need to have my head down in complex, grueling work for 4 hours. 

    I have always been confused with the people who proudly say they work 60 hours a week like it is some accomplishment. You may have a lot of work to do, but how much are you overachieving, and is it worth it? Do you see the payoff for getting ahead in your job or school? I have always wondered if people genuinely have that much work, or they are mismanaging their time or doing more than they are capable of. We need to start normalizing what an average amount of work looks like in today’s culture. 

    When you get hired for a job, they expect you to constantly work for 8 hours with only two 15 minute breaks and then one 30 minute lunch break. Sometimes taking that break that is longer than the typical 15 or 30-minute break is all we need to excel and produce our best work. Sometimes I have seen that when I give my brain a more extended vacation or even a whole night’s rest, I can be more effective and produce better work a third of the time; it will take me if I was trying to crank it all out in one day. 

    The one good thing that came out of COVID19 was this shift in the work culture. Although mental health issues in the workplace were present long before the pandemic, we finally witnessed employers and employees know the importance of mental health. I believe being transparent with your employees and coworkers is essential. If you are not a person who can work quickly and need a lot of breaks for you to fully comprehend something and do it to the best of your ability, we should have the confidence to express this to your team.

    I urge people when looking for a job or talking to their supervisors to really start putting their mental health first and making it your priority and then you can start to see the changes in productivity and happiness within your professional life. 

    To be my happiest self, I have learned that I engage in my best and most creative work, which comes from not rushing, taking breaks, and not overachieving when I do not need to. 

    So with all that being said, go outside, take a longer break than usual and watch your work and productivity excel!

  • THE LITTLE THINGS WE LOVE

    THE LITTLE THINGS WE LOVE

    Sometimes the best days are the days that end up being nothing like how you expected it to go. Typically on any weekday, I would wake up, have my coffee, take my dog out, start work, and then work out. 

    This time I woke up, noticed the weather was nicer than I thought, so I had my coffee outside, did some work, worked out, and then looked outside, and it was still beautiful. Usually, on a day in the middle of the week, I would go to a local park to walk my dog, but instead, I wanted to go somewhere that I had not been in a while. So I went to walk by the water. It was one of those days where I had an initial plan, but I threw an audible and did whatever felt right. Days like these are incredible. I feel like I am in control. 

    Spring time in the park

    Towards the end of my walk, I saw a bench, tied up my dog and sat there for an hour; in that hour, I was thinking about the little things that go on throughout the day that we love, but dont’t consciously think about—waking up and smelling coffee, going out for a walk in a cold but sunny morning, finishing a hard workout, even having a pleasant conversation with the barista at a local coffee shop. This is what I love about taking my camera out on days like these, I find myself taking photos that I wouldn’t usually take, talking to people I wouldn’t normally talk to and going places I wouldn’t usually go.

    These are all things that are so little in our day that we don’t think about. But, on days like these, I notice them, and I love them. On days like these, I sleep better, am more patient, energetic, creative, and go on. 

    It made me think if we pay attention to these small, usually unnoticeable things and wake up with the assumption that this day could turn into nothing that we imagined, can every day be like this?

    Sometimes we forget the little things that we love, and those things we love are clouded by expectations.

    Boats on the bay

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