I'm a marine biology nerd. I love all things nautical. Blue and white is the color scheme of my life (and most of my closet). Coffee is life. Leather-bound journals are awesome. Pilot gel pens are the only pens. Narwhals are real.
For being a marine biology nerd, it's a bit embarrassing to admit that I didn't discover that last truth until I was in college. Narwhals are the unicorns of the sea, and they totally exist. Mind blown. Much to my dismay, my dear roommate was present during this epiphany and still never tires to remind me (or our friends) of it.
While discovering the existence of these majestic creatures was a crucial revelation in my college career, the most life-changing lesson I learned in college was the practice of being fully present. I had just returned to an empty campus after Christmas break of my senior year, meaning I had one semester left. Just a few more months of the most transformative and exciting times of my life. That reality hit me HARD! I kept picturing my future self saying, "remember the good ol' days?" I found myself sitting alone in my room, crippled by the fact that, very soon, my entire community would just disappear. In a very real sense, I was grieving the loss of something I loved before I had even lost it!
Thankfully, by some divine revelation, I realized that I had become so engrossed in my fears for the future, that I had completely stopped living in the present. A switch flipped. Rather than spending my time imagining what it would be like when all of my friends moved away, I started making the most of my time with them. Every single day I woke up and asked myself, "What are you going to do today that's worth remembering?" As somebody who had always been futuristic and goal-oriented, this new philosophy ROCKED. MY. WORLD.
It's now four years later, and yes, I consider those the good ol' days. But guess what! Today is the good ol' days, too. Practicing presence is something I continue to do every day. Admittedly, I often forget. Sometimes I get caught up in the rush and let the day slip by. Our culture is pretty good at teaching us how to live for tomorrow. But when I remember, I take a few deep breaths and I grab my journal, or I sit at the edge of the ocean, or I grab coffee with a friend. And in those moments, I do my best to slow down. I take in everything around me and I tell myself to remember this. And it works.
As a wedding photographer, I now believe in the power of presence more than ever. I know from first-hand experience that being fully present results in deeper relationships, truer emotions, and clearer memories. That's why I am so committed to practicing presence with my couples on their wedding day. Beautiful photographs are precious. They will tell your story for years and generations to come, but there is no substitute for being fully present the first time around.
"Bye, Buddy! I hope you find your dad."