“You serve the best by doing what you love the most” – Maria Bello.
Let me paint the scene: April of last year, a nervous, sophomore version of myself, and a plastic bag from the Costco photo center resting on both of my palms like a sacrifice to the artistic gods. My eyes glittered not only with excitement to show my peers the finished product of my year-long determination, but also with the hope that my teacher would be proud of my work — of me, more importantly.
My photos were good. I would believe someone if they told me they were great; I would just as easily believe someone if they told me that my work could use major improvement. Looking back now, those photos aren’t my proudest work. Nevertheless, everyone has to start somewhere. I may not ever hang those photos on a gallery wall or submit them as part of my college application portfolio, but they just may be the most important photos I will ever take. They are the 5 photos that made me fall in love with the art of capturing the world’s living beauty.
I don’t think that I do anything exceptionally. I write well and I take a great photo every now and then. I don’t consider myself to be extremely intelligent or anything, either. But I do love what I do with a passion, and in the end, that’s all I really know about life: you have to do what you love and are passionate about.
So when people ask what I want to be when I’m older, I tell them this:
“I love to read and write, and I love to take photos. I love to learn and I love to give back to my community. I want to be happy and I want to end my life knowing that I did everything I ever wanted to do and loved with all of my heart. That’s what I want to be when I’m older.”
Going into the new year of 2018, I want to inspire others to carry that ideal with them. This is a big year for many of the world’s adolescents; anyone born in the year 2000, like myself, will be transitioning into an adult this year. I’m going to be applying for colleges, taking important tests, and finding the place I truly want to spend the next four years of my life in – something that will sprout the entirety of my new adult life. I’m lucky enough to have known what it is I wanted to do since an early age, but if you’re not like me, then it’s perfectly okay. Listen to your heart; The answer really isn’t as far as you might think.
I have a strong feeling this is going to be a year of people telling us, “You can’t.” I get that a lot, as many consider me a dreamer. But if you are loving who you are, what you do, and how you treat others, then someone’s close-minded opinion will not have the power to sway you. It is a year for strength, pursuit, and discovery.
With that in mind, here are the photos that first inspired my discovery. To a new year of beginnings and positive change; let’s take 2018 on together. Santé!