Alone in New York

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Okay, the title isn't completely true. I was staying with my friend, Ellise, and she was with me 2 of those 5 days. But the other 3 were totally me, alone, in New York City. And let me tell you: It was more than I ever dreamed it would be.

Being the introvert that I am, I was slightly nervous about traveling alone in the big city.
Would I get lost?
Could I figure out the subway?
Would someone try to steal my money?
All of these questions aside, I knew I had to face my anxiety. I did and it was one of the best choices I have ever made.

The first thing I decided was that I didn't want to be a tourist, well, I didn't want to look like a tourist. Ellise taught me all her tips and tricks. The best place to stand in the subway, to put your headphones in, and no matter what, do NOT stop in the middle of the sidewalk to gawk at the towering skyscrapers that surround you. My first day alone I was hesitant but by my second, I was full on New Yorker. I walked fast and with purpose, headphones in (Welcome to New York by Taylor Swift playing), jaywalking and all. Those people that stand on the streets handing pamphlets to tourist didn't even try to get my attention. I had done it. I was an honorary New Yorker.

Now, don't get me wrong, I still went to all the touristy places and took all the touristy pictures but since I was alone, I was able to spend as much or as little time as I wanted. I quickly found that there was so much more to New York than what you see on your first trip there. That city isn't as big and crazy as you think. For every busy tourist packed area, there are five more calm and beautiful areas to explore. I sought these places out. I walked along the water, I hiked all of Central Park. I found peace and quiet in a city known for its sleepless noisy nights. I was able to recollect myself after a long and strenuous school year.

I suppose my point here is this, if you have the chance to travel solo, DO IT. It allows you the freedom to do what you want to do. You're free to explore and enjoy in a way that is best for you. Solo travel can be anxiety inducing but here's the thing: No one cares that you're eating lunch alone. If you get lost, no one has to know but you. I faced that fear and it was one of my best life experiences yet. Go explore our world, you'll be happy you did.

Coffee With My Ex

Monday, May 22, 2017

(and why I'm okay with it)

Just last week I met up with Mike at Amelie's. 
When I told people I was doing this, I got all kinds of reactions. 
The most common response was - Why?!

To most people, it seemed impossible that we were going to spend time together as friends and nothing more. 
Believe it or not, that's exactly what we did. 

You see, Mike is a man who changed my life. He probably knows me better than I know myself.  God brought us together in his perfect timing. We experienced so much in life together. We were a part of each other's journey and what an honor that is. I have no intention of throwing those memories away.

Now hear me out, I understand not every story has a peaceful ending the way ours did, however, my challenge to you is this: Whatever your situation, try to look at it in a different light. Sometimes a new perspective is all we need to turn to the next page of our journey. 

It has taken time, but I have been able to turn my page. 
I now have a choice - I can burn those old pages or I can embrace them and remember that they made me who I am today. I choose the latter. Talking with Mike, catching up, and embracing our new friendship is what truly set me free. 

I have moved on from my past but that doesn't mean I have to leave it in the dark. It is a part of me. I will always care and love. That doesn't mean I haven't moved forward, it simply means I have embraced my past and and acknowledge my story as a whole, not just a chapter. 

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

Growing from Heartbreak

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2016 brought me a lot of things. One of those things was true heartbreak.
I have chosen to share my journey in dealing with heartbreak in an effort to inspire those who may be dealing with any of the difficulties we face in life.

First off, I want to say 2016 gave me so much good and I am beyond grateful. I will also say that so much of that good came from my relationship, so when it came to an end, you can understand how it felt like my world had come crashing down. I will not focus on the immediate feelings that were felt but I do want to tell you about the good that came from this change I experienced. Yes, there was good that came from my heartbreak.

You see, I believe there is good in every situation, you just have to look hard enough to find it. In slowing down and thinking about what had happened, I remembered that nothing bad had ended it all. The timing wasn't right and that's okay. In accepting that, I was able to see all the incredible ways my life had changed through my relationship in the past year and a half.

Mike empowered me. He taught me how to be myself. Through our relationship I was able to become comfortable in my own skin. We gave each other the encouragement to come out, something I know I will never regret. He gave me the courage to face my anxieties. Our long distance relationship forced me to work hard to overcome the anxiety I have struggled with for so long. While there are so many other wonderful lessons I learned through our relationship, the most important to me is that I learned to genuinely love.

These are the silver linings I have chosen to focus on in recent weeks. I have nothing to be upset about. While dealing with change is difficult, I am so glad I have so many incredible memories and have learned so many important lessons. Always look for the silver linings in life.

One last thing I realized in going through this process is how many incredible friends I have made in Charlotte. The amount of people who were more than willing to go out of their way to comfort me was unbelievable. Thank you to those who were there for me, it did not go unnoticed.

While one chapter of my life has come to an end, a new one has begun. I am thankful I have so much good to remember. I am grateful to have had someone be such an important part of my journey. Thanks for helping me be my best self. As I move on, I move on a stronger, better person than I was a year and a half ago. For that, I'll smile.

The Creative Team

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I recently announced I have been chosen to be a member on the Becky Higgins 2017 Project Life Creative Team. I consider this a huge honor and want to fill you in on what exactly the Project Life Creative Team is.

Becky Higgins is the creator of one of the greatest scrapbooking systems of all time. For people like me, documenting everyday life is a treasure, but it can be hard to find the time to get day to day memories into a scrapbook. Becky created a simplified method to be able to quickly and conveniently document the year in a way that won't take all of your time and won't break the bank. There are physical products, digital products and (my favorite) mobile app products. If you want to learn more about Project Life, click here!

I have been using Project Life since around 2012 when my aunt bought me my first core kit - Thank you!! I love using the physical product but when I moved to North Carolina, I found I no longer had the time or space to keep up with it. Right around the time I moved, Becky released the mobile app. I can now scrapbook right on my iPhone (or android device) and have the pages printed and delivered to my door.

This year I have the privilege of sharing some of the layouts I create on the app with the world. Being on the Creative Team means each month I will submit layouts that may be used to inspire the use of the Project Life products. I still cannot believe that I was chosen. If I can inspire at least one person to document their journey, the hard work will be more than worth it.

I hope you will choose to follow this new adventure with me and I hope I inspire you to cultivate a good life and record it.

Here are a few of my submissions that landed me the incredible honor of being the first man on the Project Life Creative Team.



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