Escaping Time

Sevilla_Couple

Our lives are complex stories that can’t be written and reduced to simplicity. We are all constantly evolving as people, changing, and making decisions that ultimately alter our future. People are the furthest thing from stagnant; we are dynamic beings. As time slips by, we inevitably change, for better or for worse. In just a week’s time, events in your life could impact you enough to completely alter your mindset on life and the direction you are heading. The amount of time doesn’t matter; no matter how long it takes, the force of change in our lives is inevitable.

Thinking about life this way is a bit unnerving. It is difficult to pin down who, where, or what we will want in any amount of time. We are constantly searching for a purpose and subconsciously blindly grasping for happiness. When you can accept the uncertainty of life, you realize that we are all on our own adventure, traveling through life on our own, separate paths. It really is beautiful and exhilarating to approach life when you are able to accept change and treat each step of your life as another stepping stone in your own grand adventure. The uncertainty of the future is a blessing in disguise; it keeps us motivated, chasing our happiness and stumbling through life the best we can, learning valuable lessons along the way due to our missteps. If our future was written there would be no reason to fight for today.

However, the passage of time catches up to all of us. Life is a wonderful adventure but it is by no means an easy path to follow. There are pitfalls at every turn, distractions painted left and right, and sometimes we board trains that we never should have boarded . Time doesn’t wait for anyone; it is neither forgiving nor kind, but it is fluid. It will never stop moving.

We are able to cheat time through moments. Moments are the most powerful tools we have to combat time because we are able to essentially stop time. Time can pass on and on until eternity, but that moment will last forever in our minds and our hearts. These moments occur when we accept the spontaneity of life and embrace the situations available to us. These moments happen when we cease being afraid and just live life the way we want to. These moments only occur if you are willing to live in the moment.

Photographs and words are magnificent because they have the authority to summon memories and place them before us in an organized fashion. They are time capsules that open up the door to the past. However, people often miss the moment nowadays because they are so hell bent on documenting every second of their lives. It is difficult to have an incredibly life changing moment if you are staring at a screen or looking at it through a lens the entire time. Moments are supposed to be organic and unique, not staged and forced.

The picture above is a moment that was shared between a couple in Seville, Spain. We were touring La Catedral de Sevilla and my group happened to be trailing this couple most of the way through the gardens. I had no idea what their situation was; whether they were married, whether they fought all the time, or whether they had much money. None of that mattered because in that moment they were having a delightful stroll through the beautiful gardens, never once unclasping their hands. They were talking quietly with each other while continually smiling and laughing. It was really a beautiful moment to behold and to be able to capture.

Don’t be afraid to love a little more and live life with an open mind. You never know what opportunities will fall in your lap.

Discovering Confidence

Erin_Sunset

Any experience we have, big or small, can be life changing; the significance of an event is determined individually by the person who lived through it. It doesn’t have to fit any sort of mold, and you can’t force a situation that ultimately changes your outlook on life. These experiences happen organically when you least expect them to. They are not a daily occurrence and some of us only have but a few in a lifetime. These events are the type of experiences that you will remember when you are telling your grandchildren stories of the past. These are the moments in our lives that define who we are and where we are heading.

I am in a transition period in my life where change is constantly afoot and I am striving to redefine who I am. It’s not that I want to change who I have been; I just want to improve myself to create a more fulfilling, happier future. When in the midst of all of this change, it is easy to get lost and stray from the goals you set out for yourself. After all, in the process of rediscovery, you don’t have a solid foundation on who you really are or who you exactly want to be. It’s a bit of a roller coaster ride with plenty of ups and downs as you experiment and try new things.

This past week I went on a cruise to the Bahamas with three good friends of mine as an escape from reality. We had planned on just relaxing and having a good time, while also realizing that we would probably damage our livers in the process (Post cruise report – our livers are still intact.). I figured we would probably see some neat places and possibly meet some cool people in the process. Those expectations were met and severely surpassed. We definitely saw some stunning sights but more importantly we met some incredibly extraordinary people along the way.

I met a particularly special person on the cruise who opened my eyes to the possibilities of facing life without fear by handling every situation placed before you with confidence and a positive disposition. It is in our nature to worry about what people will think of us; everyone wants to be liked. However, what clouds our vision is the fact that we are falsifying our personal image if we aren’t acting as ourselves. It takes courage to be yourself. Letting the world know who you really are is frightening. What if they don’t like who you are deep down? What if they don’t think you belong anymore? What if you lose friends because you had the courage to be yourself?  The answer is simple: if they don’t like who you really are, then you shouldn’t be close enough with them to worry about what they may think anyway!

To look at it from a different perspective, being yourself opens up so many opportunities that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to grasp. If I hadn’t made a conscious decision to just be myself (being on a cruise definitely helped me loosen up) I never would have had the wonderful experiences with the people I met on the boat. If I had pretended to be someone else, in fear that they wouldn’t like who I really was deep down, I never would have gotten past hello (They told me, I’m not making this stuff up. A little harsh right? Tough love is the best love, right?). Instead I decided to muster the courage it takes to conquer the fear and had the best week possible. Simply by being yourself, the odds of meeting people with similar interests who love you for who you are skyrockets.

Our adventure in just one short week offered so many amazing experiences, some that I will never, ever forget. I’ll spare you the details (Ain’t nobody got time for that.), but the large take away is that confidence is key. The entire cruise I would dance with our new friends but always timidly; I don’t know how to dance, so instead of going for it I just tried not to look stupid, which in turn just made me look stupid. How stupid is that? Finally, come the last night, I found the courage to just go for it and dance like crazy and I had one of the best nights I’ve ever had. People love to see the genuine side of other people; it is so easy to see through a lie. Just be yourself, as difficult as it is, and things will fall into place. Have confidence in who you are. Because of this, I was able to have the type of experience that was significantly life changing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Freeport_Beach

Photo Credit: Erin Lyons in Freeport, Bahamas

(This one goes out to the cereal killer; the master of grace and taste, the purveyor of confidence, and a delightful source of constant amusement and entertainment.)