This past weekend was filled with many exciting, new adventures. Something I have never done in my life is gone strawberry picking- or any kind of fruit, at that. My parents did a little research and were able to find this adorable little strawberry farm (Brown’s Farm; Hawthorne, FL) just a few hours away from where we live! We arrived and my mind was absolutely spinning from all of the beautiful colors and smells.
We were able to bring home several GIANT buckets of strawberries. I think we ended up paying around $20 for it all, which, in my opinion, is completely worth it. Store bought strawberries can cost around $4 and are picked, selected and often times gassed by someone else. These were straight off of the vine and picked with my own two hands! There was something so relieving about picking my own food- this experience has inspired me to hand pick fruits more often. Plus, it was seriously one of the funnest, most unique things I’ve done in a while.
The other adventure that I experienced for the first time, was visiting the fair! I’ve been to a few smaller fairs before, but never the annual Clay County Fair. I’ve lived in Jacksonville, Florida for quite some time now, and everyone is always incredibly surprised when they find out that I’ve never been to the fair. This year I was determined to change that. I went at night with Joshua, Jenaya and Steven and had an absolute blast. We went on every ride until our stomachs were turning. The food was also notably interesting: FRIED BUBBLEGUM. I didn’t try it, but I’m sure it’s… delicious. Anyway, I had an amazing time and 10/10 did not die on the rides.
I’m the type of person that tends to store negative feelings inside of me in order to move on with my life. I don’t really know how to react to bad situations. Instead, I quickly turn on a fake smile and resume living. Sometimes life can become so overwhelming that ‘brushing things off’ is no longer an option. With that being said, last week I decided to take a break from every aspect of my social life and take time to focus on me.
With no phone, no one to talk to and nothing to see, I was able to dig deep inside of my brain and find strength in unfamiliar places. Every morning I struggled to stay away from my phone. Checking social media and talking to people are things that play an important role in my daily routine. Not only did I feel left out, but also forgotten about. For whatever reason, it killed me to know that I wasn’t showing off what I was doing or even where I was eating. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s the truth. As the week went on I had many life realizations. First and foremost: we live in a generation that thrives off of showing off. I feel as though people are slowly forgetting how to live their lives without showing everyone else. While it IS a blessing to share with others and document your experience, I think everyone should have their limits. Sure, take some pictures, but then put the phone away and live in the moment. Even as a photographer I struggle to do this. So often I find myself more focused on capturing the moment rather than experiencing it.
Through living unplugged for a week, I was also able to find a sense of freedom. It was such an odd, yet inspiring feeling to live my life without documenting it. My spring break will forever remain a mystery to the world. This has inspired me to change my habits and how I go about life. While I adore taking pictures and videos and sharing my life with the world, I am definitely going to cut back. I want to take more time for myself and for this beautiful life that we only experience once. Ultimately, I realized how important your own well being is. It’s not selfish to take time for you, because at the end of the day life isn’t going to be wonderful if you don’t feel wonderful; you are your first priority.
Losing a loved one has always taken a unique toll on me. While it does hurt and bring me down, it also gives me a newfound sense of optimism. Loss tends to reveal the bigger picture. It reminds me how special our lives here on Earth are and how minor our problems are. It reminds me to live each day like it’s my last, with no worries. The gift of life on Earth is so precious and I believe that we should value every minute of it. Be thankful to see the sun rise every morning, as it is the start of a new day- a new sense of hope.
Yesterday I held my great grandmothers warm hand for the last time. I talked to her about our memories together and how wonderful her time here on Earth was. While her story is coming to an end, we are all able to look back at the pages that are filled with millions and millions of memories. I could only hope the same for every one else. Live a happy life with many memories, as this story of life isn’t forever- it’s only a mere chapter of what will come next.